ShoreFin Volunteer (Dolphin Photo-ID) (103 views)

New Quay, West Wales
November 27, 2017

The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales is recruiting two ShoreFin volunteers to join the volunteer team at Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre. The volunteers will continue our ShoreFin project throughout the 2018 field season (12th March-5th November 2018).

Initiated in 2014, ShoreFin is our dedicated land-based bottlenose dolphin photo-identification project which aims to build up an understanding of bottlenose dolphin site usage within the New Quay bay area, to find out which individuals visit New Quay bay and to find out more about the ecology and life history of these animals.

Our ShoreFin Project reports are available to download from our website.


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 surveys 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 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 learn about the species and habitats in Cardigan Bay, gain experience in field work, wildlife photography, photo ID, data entry, report writing 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 bottlenose dolphins in Cardigan Bay and the Irish Sea.

Volunteer responsibilities include (but are not limited to):

  • Photographing the bottlenose dolphins and other marine mammals in New Quay bay
  • Sorting, matching and cataloguing bottlenose dolphin photographs taken from land and boat surveys
  • Analysing data and writing the ShoreFin end of season project report
  • Maintaining up to date procedures for all aspects of CBMWC photo-ID work
  • Assisting with compiling the CBMWC bottlenose dolphin photo-ID catalogue
  • Providing regular updates and images for our Facebook and Twitter feeds
  • Providing information for our dolphin adoption scheme
  • Provide regular project updates to the CBMWC Science Officer
  • You may also be asked to assist with other aspects of our work, such as field surveys, data entry, manning our visitor centre and community engagement activities.

Important: The previous project volunteers have worked up to 6-8 hours a day 6 days a week, to ensure photographs can be taken during periods of good weather and volunteers gain the most out of the experience. Some training and activities may take place outside of normal office hours.

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

  • Experience with digital SLR cameras and wildlife photography
  • Previous experience of photo-identification (not necessarily with dolphins)
  • Mature and responsible attitude as you will be using expensive camera and computer equipment
  • Proactive with the ability to work independently and unsupervised
  • 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
  • IT skills, including Microsoft Office and GIS
  • Experience of statistical analysis
  • Report writing skills

Desirable skills

  • An interest and knowledge of British cetaceans
  • 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.