ShoreFin Volunteer (Dolphin Research) (75 views)

New Quay, West Wales
November 14, 2018

The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales is looking for dedicated and enthusiastic individuals to join our ShoreFin volunteer team based at the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre (CBMWC). 

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


The Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre is the Living Seas wing of the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales. Since 1996 we have been dedicated to raising awareness of the local marine environment through research and education. Using land and boat based surveys, photo-identification and acoustic studies we collect data on marine megafauna, focusing 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 provide marine educational activities for families, school and groups.

What You Will Gain

Joining the ShoreFin team is a unique opportunity for you to carry out marine mammal research and contribute towards conservation. You’ll learn about the bottlenose dolphins of Cardigan Bay and gain experience in field work, wildlife photography, photo ID, data entry, report writing and much more! This role can be a stepping stone to a career in marine research or conservation.

Past volunteers have gone on to further education, work as Marine Mammal Observers and work for other conservation or governmental organisations.

The Volunteering Role

The ShoreFin volunteers will assist with the delivery of our Living Seas research focused on the bottlenose dolphins of Cardigan Bay. Volunteer responsibilities include (but not limited too) –

  • Photographing dolphins and other marine mammals in New Quay Bay
  • Conducting photo ID – sorting/matching images
  • Analysing data and writing the ShoreFin report
  • Compiling the CBMWC bottlenose dolphin photo-ID catalogue
  • Providing updates for our social media and dolphin adoption scheme
  • Reporting back to the Living Seas Staff
  • You may also assist with other areas of our work including field surveys, manning our visitor centre and community engagement activities

Volunteer Skills/Qualities

  • Experience with DSLR cameras and wildlife photography
  • Previous experience of photo-ID
  • ICT skills, including MS Office and GIS
  • Experience of data analysis and report writing
  • A mature and responsible attitude
  • Proactive with the ability to work independently and unsupervised
  • Flexible approach to work as you will volunteer outside of normal office hours
  • An interest and knowledge of British cetaceans (desirable)
  • A background in biology/marine biology (desirable)

ShoreFin volunteers will receive training in marine species identification and observation, survey techniques, camera use, photo-identification and data processing.

Volunteer Dates 2019

We are looking for two ShoreFin volunteers for the period of 25th March – 5th July 2019 and another two volunteers for the period 1st July – 4th November 2019. Priority will be given to those that can volunteer for the full research season from 25th March – 4th November 2019.