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Marine Mammal Research & Conservation Internships in Samos

Marine Mammal Research & Conservation Internships in Samos

The Aegean Sea is home to remaining populations of important marine life in the Mediterranean, including diverse dolphin, whale, and turtle species, and the endangered Monk seal. The conservation and protection of these species is of high importance, especially as research is lacking and a range of anthropogenic stressors endanger both resident and migratory populations. Marine Mammal Research & Conservation internships provide hands-on opportunity to support and learn from multifaceted marine conservation efforts.

Internship Highlights:
  • Conduct impactful research on marine mammals in one of the most biodiverse regions in the Mediterranean.
  • Support the efforts aimed at preserving the remaining populations of sea turtles and marine mammals.
  • Assist on boat-based surveys to collect data on cetacean behavior, abundance, and distribution.
Type of host organizations:
  • Marine Institute of Conservation
Fully hosted experience from $3125
Includes accommodation
Start dates every Monday
Minimum duration 8 weeks, up to 24 weeks maximum
Explore beaches and historic sites
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Internships align with UN Sustainable Development Goals
Eligibility requirements and Associated career paths
Eligibility requirement

Marine Mammal Research & Conservation internships in Greece are suitable for students, graduates and researchers of marine, ecological and environmental sciences and/or veterinary medicine. Applicants must be able to contribute both independently and as part of a dynamic, multicultural, multidisciplinary team. Technical skills such as data entry, statistical analysis, knowledge of the marine environment, and experience with scientific surveying are encouraged.

Language requirements

This internship is conducted in English.

Associated career paths

Marine Biologist, Oceanographer, Environmental Management, Fisheries Biologist, Biological Technician, Geographer, Microbiologist, Hydrologist, Biochemist, Environmental Scientist (Policy/Planning/Law), Environmental Impact Assessment Specialist, Ecologist, Education and Outreach Program Coordinator, Climatologist and Media, PR and Communications

Internship details

The Aegean Sea is one of Europe’s most important ecological areas. Marine Mammal Research & Conservation interns collaborate with a local and experienced Marine Conservation NGO, broadly experienced in addressing data gaps to protect this valuable region for future generations. Gain practical experience related to field research, conservation projects, data collection and more.

This is an in-country internship, with accommodation and meals provided. Click here to view the remote version of this internship you can undertake from home.

The Marine Mammal Research & Conservation internship program in Greece is primarily based in the island of Samos, situated in the eastern Aegean Sea. The beautiful location provides excellent opportunities for ongoing conservation activities, including occasional access to other research sites on nearby islands. Samos has a steady tourist industry and, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has interesting historical sites and attractions.

Interns in this field may support the program in either a general role - collaborating on current research topics - or in a more specialized role, where you have time and scope to contribute one pre-defined project. The minimum duration requirement is 8 weeks, so interns who participate for this timeframe, are more inclined to support in a general role. However, interns who stay longer than 8 weeks have an enhanced opportunity to define their own research objectives and take part in autonomous, self-directed study.

Depending on your goals and academic level, proactive participants can collect data for independent research purposes, or simply take the learning opportunity to broadly increase important conservation skill sets. There can be a large intern-to-supervisor ratio on this program, so interns with specific research goals should come prepared with ideas.

The Marine Mammal Research & Conservation internships can involve day-trip or multi-day sea expeditions, since the conservation institute operates dedicated research vessels. Likewise, kayak, and snorkel activities are also conducted to analyze behaviors of species, marine litter, boat traffic, ocean temperature and acidity, seagrass health, and rock sedimentation, and much more.

These trips are supervised by a qualified and experienced team, who additionally assist to analyze and interpret information, used to inform local conservation and environmental management strategies. Importantly, all research is developed in close cooperation with the local communities, authorities, NGOs and national and institutional institutions.

Examples of key projects includes:

  • Temporal and Spatial monitoring of cetaceans, sea turtles, and seals to determine changes in abundance and distribution over time. This is done by conducting boat-based surveys, which collect behavioral, photographic, acoustic, and environmental data. Analysis of cetacean behavior is also conducted to determine seasonal variation in activity, differences in behavior between species, and group composition.
  • Monitoring individual cetaceans through the photo-ID techniques and conducting analysis to track changes in distribution and abundance for resident and migratory populations.
  • Detection of cetacean vocalizations through specialized software. Analysis of recordings to assess the impact of anthropogenic noise on the behavior, communication and habitat selection.
  • Assessing interactions with anthropogenic stressors, such as fisheries (effects caused by overfishing), maritime traffic, and pollution (plastic, chemical and noise).
  • Monitoring environmental parameters at different depths, such as sea temperature, salinity, pH, and concentration of dissolved oxygen.
  • Monitoring remaining Monk Seal populations to develop conservation actions in conjunction with local communities.

If you have multiple interests or projects that span different themes, it is possible to assist other teams with diverse areas of focus. This is something you can discuss directly with your supervisor or in advance, in planning stages for your internship. Preferences are subject to availability, as conservation and research priorities vary throughout the year.

Conservation operations and Marine Mammal Research & Conservation internships run year-round and a flexible mentality is required. Activities can vary as all field work is subject to weather conditions. Over the winter months, interns should expect less boat surveys (and tasks related to marine mammals) and more supporting tasks related to marine ecology, microplastic assessment in the laboratory, and (subject to availability) marine sanctuary project priorities. Interns often enjoy scope to become involved with a range of opportunities, whether related to environmental awareness campaigns, public relations, education initiatives within the community, and more.

Please come prepared to assist with office/admin based activities, in addition to hands-on fieldwork. A really important aspect of this experience is still related to the theoretical learning that’s needed to support fieldwork tasks. All tasks related to data collection and data analysis in the field require follow up work on a computer. Prior to participating on certain surveys, all interns are required to complete theoretical training/preparation tasks related to species identification, data sheets, bioacoustics data etc.

In all cases, interns should expect that the first week of your experience will focus on settling in, building new relationships, gaining introductory and foundational knowledge. Being able to balance the motivation to get stuck in as soon as possible must be balanced with teamwork, patience, the willingness to try new things, achieve learning milestones, and ask questions as you progress.

You might find yourself using equipment to collect and analyze data, using software and other methods, which are all new to you - however, this can greatly benefit your future career, as it adds so much more practical experience to your resume! A commitment to responsible communication and self-management is required. Supervisors will assign tasks and projects but interns are required to organize and put suitable timelines in place for achieving the best outcome.

Typical Schedule

  • Monday to Friday, approximately 9am until 5pm. Activity schedules can vary based on weather conditions and seasonal projects.

Career Benefits

Marine Mammal Research & Conservation interns learn from a qualified and experienced supervisor, and can be involved in:
  • Gather crucial data on species populations and their respective threats (e.g. marine litter, boat traffic, ocean temperature and acidity, seagrass health).

  • Assess marine species, collect and analyze data, review governmental fishing regulations and standards.

  • Identify critical habitats, quantify human and environmental impacts to fill knowledge gaps.

  • Conduct surveys to analyze behaviors of species, monitoring habitat use, distribution and abundance.

  • Collaborate with the local community for environmental awareness campaigns and education initiatives.

Professional development opportunities:
  • Become familiar with diverse scientific research methodologies, techniques, and technologies.

  • Enhance your network of like minded students and professionals with collaborative teamwork.

  • Contribute to ongoing real-world research devoted to the protection of marine life.

  • Enrich your knowledge and improve skills important to the field of marine conservation.

  • Boost your employability and essential soft skills, with guidance from Intern Abroad HQ’s Experiential Learning Curriculum.

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Program fees

It’s free to apply for this internship. Once we have reviewed your suitability and accepted you onto this program, you’ll need to pay a deposit of US$499 to confirm your place. The remaining balance of your Program Fee (less your initial US$499 deposit payment) will be due no less than 60 days before your internship start date.

Duration
Program Fee (USD)
8 weeks $3,125 Equivalent to $55 /day
10 weeks $3,725 Equivalent to $53 /day
12 weeks $4,000 Equivalent to $47 /day
16 weeks $5,030 Equivalent to $44 /day
20 weeks $6,010 Equivalent to $42 /day
24 weeks $6,455 Equivalent to $38 /day
  • Airport pick-up
  • Daily breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Accommodation
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Program orientation
  • Dedicated support before, during, and after your internship
  • In-country guidance for social and tourist activities
  • Sourcing and securing your internship placement
  • Personalization of your internship plan
  • Coaching from your supervisor
  • Documented portfolio of your experiential learnings
  • Academic credit facilitation
  • International reference letter
  • Certificate of Internship Completion
  • In-country transportation
  • Visa (if required), flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check
  • Transfer back to the airport at the end of your internship program
  • Personal spending money for snacks, drinks, public transport, laundry, and leisure activities during your free time.
  • A deposit of $499 (approximately 499) is required to secure your internship
  • Note that internships in Greece are provided through an organization which is accredited to run projects under Erasmus+ Volunteering and the European Solidarity Corps. European students are encouraged to speak with their university Erasmus office regarding funding and grants for this internship.
  • Balance of your Program Fee is due 60 days before your internship start date.
  • All payments attract a 5% transaction fee to cover international banking fees and currency charges.
  • Terms and Conditions apply.

Activities and tourism

Samos has emerged as peaceful destinations for relaxing away from the hustle and bustle. While the island receives tourism, it is not considered to be a destination for the masses. The island is relatively small and rural, with tight-knit communities, where social cohesion is expected. Spare time during the weekends is available to unwind and explore. There is no shortage of things to see and do, as the islands have ample scenery, hikes, beautiful beaches, restaurants, tourism attractions, culture and history. In the major towns of Pythagoreio, Vathi/Samos City, Karlovasi and Marathokampos, there are numerous shops and supermarkets, tavernas, cafés/restaurants, museums, archaeological sites and pharmacies. The Samos Island medical services include a general hospital in Vathi/Samos City, a health clinic in Pythagoreio, as well as pharmacies in most towns. Note that sometimes internship activities can take place over weekends, so a flexible nature is required.

Arrival and Orientation

Aegean Marine Science & Island Conservation internships take place on Samos Island in Greece. Start dates are available on the first and third Monday of each month only. Exceptions may be made to this when start dates are shifted to avoid public holiday disruptions or closed when the program has already reached capacity. Interns may choose to spend a minimum of 8 weeks, up to a maximum of 12 weeks (or 24 weeks, with advance visa arrangements). Airport pick up and accommodation are included in the Program Fee.

  • Interns are asked to arrive on their chosen Monday start date (and no earlier). The accommodation is covered from the first Monday night of the program. If you arrive earlier than your Monday start date, you may be required to arrange your own transportation from the airport and check-in to alternative accommodation (at your own expense) prior to joining the program on the scheduled Monday start date.
  • After having time to settle in, a formal orientation will take place the following day. Orientation covers important details for your internship, including introductions, information about customs, rules, expectations, safety, and more.
  • The typical port of entry into Greece is the Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos (ATH), the largest international airport in the country. From this airport, interns need to connect onto a further domestic flight to Samos Island, via Samos International Airport (SMI). Upon arrival at SMI, interns will be met, greeted, and transferred to the accommodation. No airport meet-and-greets are provided in Athens.
  • The last night of the accommodation is the Friday night of the final week, leaving interns free to depart on Saturday. (Prior to departure, extra nights of accommodation may be arranged in advance, if requested, but are subject to availability.)
  • Return transportation to the airport is not included in the internship program fee.

Please note that all participants are advised not to book flights or confirm any other travel bookings until they have first paid the internship program fee deposit, in order to confirm placement and receive further guidance.

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Accommodation and WiFi

Aegean Marine Science & Island Conservation internships primarily take place on Samos Island, as this is where the main research base is located. The base is located in the village of Agios Konstantinos in the NW of Samos Island. It is a few minutes walk from the seafront where you can find restaurants and cafes, a small shop and a pharmacy. The bus stop is right in front of the base to go to Vathi (also known as Samos Town), Karlovasi or Pythagorio.

Living is comfortable but basic. The shared accommodation offers electricity, running water, shared common dining area, washing machines and a dryer. The guest bedrooms are shared between 3-4 people of the same gender (each room also includes a shared bathroom). Most guest bedrooms also feature access to a balcony. Please note that private rooms are not available.

The whole team helps out in the on-site organic garden, which provides pesticide-free fruits and vegetables in order to become self-sufficient. (Recently, 75 more fruit trees were planted, and we are looking forward to them all producing fruit within the next couple of years!) The base is gradually being equipped with solar panels as a source of green energy, while ongoing efforts are made to minimize the use of single-use plastic.

It’s important to note that there can occasionally be short-term power or water cuts, which cause temporary inconvenience. In such cases, local staff will ensure that proper reports are made to local authorities so that services can be restored as soon as possible. The base has back-up water tanks for such events. Interns are recommended to keep their devices charged, in case of short-term power outages.

Showers are heated partially by solar power, so they are warm but not always piping hot. At times, the showers may be cold or lukewarm. During the colder months of the year, temperatures can be quite low, so it is important to pack accordingly with warm clothing.

Accommodation is not air conditioned. If you are sensitive to hot temperatures, this should be considered when planning a summer internship. (Likewise, if you are very sensitive to cold conditions, then it is better to schedule your internship outside of winter months - but the rooms do have access to heating systems).

Wi-fi is available but the speed can often be slow during busy periods. It should not be used for streaming videos or music during working hours, as this will affect connectivity for people who are working and conducting research. Wi-fi is also very easily accessed in towns, with just about every cafe and restaurant offering connection to customers.

Interns are strongly advised to ensure that their own smart phone has data for personal use, and encouraged to rely on their own mobile plan for personal connection needs, while also being able to hotspot to their laptop, if need be. Sim cards can be purchased locally for this purpose or you may speak with your own provider about an international roaming plan.

Please note that the accommodation pictured in the photo gallery of this webpage represents the main base, described in this section. However, occasionally interns may have the opportunity to spend time at alternative research bases, on Lipsi island for example, where alternative accommodation is utilized.

Meals

Internships in Greece include three meals per day, served at the accommodation/base. Breakfast is available from 8am until 8:45am. Catering is self service.

The style of food is typically Greek and dishes are simple, including dishes such as pastas, salads, legumes, seasonal fruit and vegetables. The meals provided are intended to be hearty and healthy (based on seasonal produce which is locally available), but not indulgent. Please let us know of any specific dietary requirements that you have in advance, so that we may ensure your hosts are aware and make recommendations accordingly.

In all cases, we advise interns to budget independently for their own snacks and treats. You’ll find the meals to be sufficient but likely different from what you’re used to eating at home. If there are special snacks you like to have, please budget for them and take care of your own preferences independently.

Interns usually report that they spend approximately €30-40 per week on extra food supplies and shopping at the supermarket/bakery (including a meal out). There are many tasty eateries around, so you can enjoy supporting local businesses and trying the delicious specialties. Keep in mind that, depending on your own spending habits and lifestyle choices, personal budgets can vary enormously.

Essential country information

Capital Athens
Population 10.75 million
Languages Greek
Currency Euro (€ - EUR)
Time zone UTC+02:00
Weather and climate:

In Samos, the climate follows typical Mediterranean patterns. The summers are hot, arid, and clear; the winters are long, cold, wet, and partly cloudy. It is windy in the Aegean Islands year-round.

The main summer period runs from mid June to mid September, with an average daily high temperature above 84°F / 29°C. The hottest month of the year is July, with an average high of 90°F / 32°C. The summer months are also the driest. The Spring period is moderate and (as it’s not so hot) also a popular season for tourism.

The winter months are from late November through to late March. The coldest month of the year is usually January, with an average low of 43°F / 6°C and high of 54°F / 12°C. Rainfall is more common and the winter months on the Greek islands are fairly slow with tourists.

The nature of activities that interns are involved with varies depending upon seasonality, as all internship activities are subject to weather conditions. Therefore, over the winter months, interns should expect less boat surveys (and tasks related to marine mammals) and more tasks related to marine ecology, microplastic assessment in the laboratory, and (subject to availability) marine sanctuary project priorities.