Opportunity: Research Assistant for Cape Verde Loggerhead Turtle Research.

Our lab has an exciting opportunity to come join us in Cape Verde and assist with our data collection this season.

Background: Conservation of marine organisms is a true challenge as most remains to
be discovered from the oceans which cover about 70% of the world’s surface. Our project aims at using state-of the art molecular Turtle returning to the water with a tag.and telemetry techniques to develop novel conservation programs for the Cape Verde loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta).

Only recently scientists discovered that Cape Verde supports the third largest nesting
population in the world. Like all sea turtles, the loggerhead turtles are highly endangered of extinction and listed on the Red List of the IUCN. Robust scientific monitoring and preservation of genetic diversity of the Loggerhead turtle has therefore become a crucial necessity to identify future directions of conservation efforts.

Researchers from Queen Mary University of London will be working with Project Biodiversity on the island of Sal.


Where: Sal Island, Cape Verde.

When: 1stAugust – end of October.

Fieldwork: The fieldwork will be on 1km of beach on Sal Island. Beach patrols will be undertaken overnight and early morning. The candidate will be trained to run full data collection of individual turtles (including: ID Tagging, measurements, skin and blood sampling). Additionally, the assistant will help with satellite tagging and nest relocation as well as in the hatchery later in the season. The assistant will be expected to ensure that data is collected to the highest standards and will take on considerable levels of responsibility at times. The work will be varied and interesting, but extremely challenging. You can expect to learn and improve your practical field skills and be exposed to laboratory protocols.

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Requirements: All training will be provided. However, the suitable research assistant needs to be dedicated to long hours in the field and capable of working independently. A good candidate will be happy working and making decisions independently, whilst being able to function for long periods within a team composed of a wide variety of volunteers, researchers and local workers. Ideally the successful candidate would either be a student or recent graduate holding a degree in a relevant discipline, wanting to gain more experience before continuing a career in a related field.

  • Minimum age of 18.
  • The candidate needs to be fluent in English and language skills in Portuguese or Creole would be beneficial.
  • Physically fit and able to handle challenging conditions (long walks late nights, hot weather, carrying equipment, insects).

Preferred skills include having worked with turtles before and having a strong desire to work in a related career. Preference will be given to those able to commit to the entire season.

Included: Flights to Cape Verde, accommodation, and contribution to subsistence costs will be provided.

Not Included: Food, mobile phone costs, visa costs, medical and travel insurance.

To apply for this position please send a cover letter specifying why you would like to assist in this project, your CV, and names and contact details of two references to l.fouda@qmul.ac.uk and Chris Eizaguirre c.eizaguirre@qmul.ac.uk.

Deadline: Tuesday 26th June – applications will be considered until July 10th in the case no candidate is found before.




Happy #GivingTuesday!

After the excesses of the long week and weekend of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales comes a day of relief and giving…Giving Tuesday! Today is a day where you can give back a little (or a lot) to a charity of your choice!

I thought I would give some of my favourite options this Giving Tuesday!

  • Oceans Initiative – now you know I love this group having had the opportunity to go out and see what they do and collaborate on my Masters research with them.
  • Jane Goodall Institue – she is an amazing lady and you can donate to help her and her institutes work against the illegal bushmeat trade among other important causes.
  • Channel Islands Cetacean Research Unit (CICRU) – a small but leading esearch group working on cetacean health who believe in “One Ocean, One Health”.
  • Sea Turtle Conservancy – working towards ensuring the survival of sea turtle species throughout the Pacific, Atlantic and Caribbean.
  • WildAid – a charity fighting illegal wildlife trade a cause that is extremely important and needs to be supported. It is close to my heart as I have good friends who work to fight illegal wildlife trade.
  • Ocean Conservancy – a big charity that do a lot of good work that covers vast areas of marine conservation rather than one specific cause.

This list is obviously not exhaustive and I will add to it when I can but, think about giving a little to an environmental charity and cause you believe in this Giving Tuesday!

Ocean Clouds

You can also follow along on the Deep Blue Conversations Facebook Page. I post interesting articles related to marine conservation, share awesome stories as well as photos from the marine conservation and environmental world in general. Come on over and have a look!

Positive News For Antarctic Sea Ice

The AUV SeaBED robot under the Antarctic sea ice (Photo : WHOI).

The AUV SeaBED robot under the Antarctic sea ice (Photo : WHOI).

A new robotic study conducted by a coalition of scientist from the United Kingdom, Australia and United States has shown that the Antarctic sea ice is thicker than previously thought.

The SeaBED autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) has allowed for more in-depth sea ice analysis than scientists have previously been able to garner from drill data measurements, ship visual measurements (that are unable to access thicker areas) and satellite images (snow cover hinders analysis of images) alone. SeaBED is able to access areas that have previously been inaccessible to researchers.

The SeaBED AUV from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is fitted with a camera that enables it to map the underside of the sea ice. Maps were made of three regions of the continent; Weddell, Bellingshausen, and the Wilkes Land. The robot covered an area of 500,000 square metres, the size of 100 football pitches.

Scientist found that the sea ice has an average thickness of between 1.4 meters and 5.5 meters, with some areas having a maximum ice thickness of 17 meters. 76 percent of the ice that was mapped was found to be deformed, this suggests that over the winter period the ice floes repeatedly collided to create a large denser body of ice (“This is in contrast to what scientists previously understood from the Arctic, where larger sections of sea ice, under constant pressure, produce longer linear ‘ridge’ features.“).

Dr. Guy Williams from Institute of Antarctic and Marine Studies adds (co-author on the paper) adds that:


Marine Debris Get Star Coverage At Conservation Of Migratory Species Conference And 31 Species Granted New Protection Status.

I have been following along closely these last few days on Twitter (#CMSCOP11) to the exciting goings on at the UNEP Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS).

Lots of marine related proposals and issues up for discussion including; marine debris, whale and dolphin conservation, and also 21 shark and ray species up for listing on CMS appendices (appendix I listing requires strict protection, while Appendix II requires coordinated management by the countries through which the species migrate).

The outcome of the six days of meeting was very, very positive.

All of the 21 shark and ray species up for adoption on appendices to improve there conservation protection where successfully adopted. This includes the hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna sp.) [Appendix II], manta ray (Manta birostris) [Appendix I and II], thresher sharks (Alopias sp.) [Appendix II], and silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis) [Appendix II], this means they now require much stricter protection and coordinated management. This is brilliant as shark numbers are dwindling worldwide and many are at threat from; illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, overfishing, by catch, shark finning,  and habitat destruction.


Scalloped Hammerhead Shark [Photograph: Brian Skerry, National Geographic via NOAA]