Gain firsthand experience in whale shark research and conservation work!
Work with a divers group of researchers from all over the world!
Live on a beautiful, exotic island in the Philippines!
LAMAVE's whale shark research and conservation projects will allow research interns to study whale sharks in the water through photo identification and other research work, thereby gaining important firsthand experience in their field.
LAMAVE has been studying whale sharks in the Philippines since 2012. We started working with this species to understand the human-shark interactions, and how these can be beneficial to local communities as well as for the species. However, human-shark interactions can have ecosystem-level implications which need addressing in order to ensure their long-term sustainability. We are now working across the different tourism sites in the country, namely Donsol, Oslob, Southern Leyte and Palawan.
As part of our ecological understanding of the species, we also study their movement patterns and distribution, and how these sites link up between them.
Interns will help in gathering data on whale sharks in the water. LAMAVE's main research technique to understand their ecology is photographic identification (photo-ID). This technique harnesses the uniqueness of the whale shark's spot pattern and through the aid of star-mapping software, we can 'match' whale sharks between areas. Interns will get a chance to swim in the water with these animals and observe them. Other methodologies are also used by the organization's researchers, depending on the site.
Interns collect data that contributes to LAMAVE’s research outputs, including scientific publications, policy and education. Interns help not only in gathering data, but also in collating and evaluating some of the information collected. Research interns are also involved in community engagement work that is geared towards imparting conservation knowledge and inspiring conservationist attitudes and behaviors in the local community.
By the end of their time here, interns will be very knowledgeable in photo-identifying different individuals of whale sharks. They will be immersed into a local community and will be living with a group of people from different backgrounds. They will gain social skills through public speaking, community relations and group dynamics. In three months, they will gain new insights on the conservation of whale sharks and more information on their biology and their ecological functions.