SeaSeal Volunteer (96 views)

New Quay, West Wales
November 27, 2017

The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales is recruiting a SeaSeal volunteer to join our volunteer team at Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre. The volunteer will continue our Atlantic grey seal photo-ID project throughout the 2018 field season (12th March to 5th November 2018). Initiated in 2014, the project aims to create a catalogue of individual grey seals photographed in Cardigan Bay area to learn more about their travelling habits and areas that are important to them.


The Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre is based in New Quay, west Wales, UK. Since 1996 we have been dedicated to raising awareness of the local marine environment through research and education. Using boat-based and land-based survey techniques, photo-identification and acoustic studies we collect data on marine megafauna, with a focus on bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoises and Atlantic grey seals in the Cardigan Bay Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and the wider Irish Sea. We operate a busy visitor centre and also run an education and activity room which offers marine educational activities for families, school and groups. In April 2015 we became part of the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales (WTSWW) and we deliver the Trusts Living Seas programme.

What You Will Gain

Volunteering for the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales at CBMWC is a fantastic opportunity for you to make a positive contribution to marine wildlife conservation and meet new people who share your interests. You will be involved in all aspects of a new CBMWC research project and will learn about the species and habitats in Cardigan Bay, gain experience in field work, wildlife photography, photo ID, data entry and much more. Past volunteers have gone on to further education, work as Marine Mammal Observers and to work for other conservation or Government organisations.

The volunteer programme at CBMWC has received national recognition after achieving the Investing in Volunteers Award (IiV), the UK’s quality standard for volunteer management, in January 2017. We provide a fantastic volunteer experience!

Overall purpose of the role:

Assist with the delivery of our Living Seas research objectives focused on Atlantic grey seals in Cardigan Bay and the Irish Sea.

Volunteer responsibilities include (but are not limited to):

  • Conducting land based seal surveys (weather dependant sometimes daily during the summer)
  • Photographing Atlantic grey seals and other marine megafauna
  • Assisting with the annual seal pup survey (October)
  • Analysing photographs of seals taken a long the Cardigan Bay Coast
  • Sorting and matching images using ExtractCompare
  • Providing regular updates and images for our Facebook and Twitter feeds
  • Liaising with outside organisations
  • Writing a project report to be submitted at the end of their volunteering period
  • Provide regular project updates to the CBMWC Science Officer
  • There may also be an opportunity to assist with the further development of the project
  • Assisting with other aspects of our work, such as field surveys, data entry, manning our visitor centre and community engagement.

Important: The previous project volunteers have worked up to 6-8 hours a day 6 days a week, to ensure surveys can be conducted during periods of good weather and volunteers gain the most out of the experience. Field work can involve long periods outdoors and in inclement weather, wet weather gear is provided.

The SeaSeal volunteer will receive training in marine species identification, survey techniques, data entry, running a visitor centre and community engagement.

We are looking for volunteers with the following skills/qualities:

  • Experience using digital SLR cameras
  • Previous experience of photo-identification (not necessarily with seals)
  • IT skills, including Microsoft Office
  • Self-motivated with the ability to work independently and unsupervised
  • Mature and responsible attitude as you will be using expensive camera and computer equipment
  • Flexible approach to work as you will be required to work outside of normal office hours
  • Ability to work and live closely with others as part of a small team
  • Experience of report writing

Desirable skills

  • Experience using GIS programs
  • Experience of statistical analysis
  • A background in biology/marine biology/environmental science

Volunteering Dates:

The successful applicants must be available to start on 12th March and volunteer for the entire field season until 5th November 2018.