We invite applications from experienced scuba divers with a science background who wish to gain unpaid work experience as a Research Assistant with Kenna Eco Diving in Spain for three months during June to September 2015.
Our research season is May to October, but June to September tends to be our busiest period. Although we are based in Spain, in L´Escala, on the Costa Brava, we work through the common language of English as our volunteers come from all over the world. Our volunteer divers come from all walks of life, but the greater majority are students studying marine science. However, volunteers can be aged from 18 to 60+ and, occasionally, we have a teenager and diving parent combination. We are seeking a work experience Research Assistant with good social skills and leadership qualities as well as excellent diving skills.
Kenna Eco Diving offers divers the opportunity to participate in Eco Diving as Citizen Scientists. This provides an essential support for the centre, both financially – making it possible for the research to go on – and also in terms of gathering underwater data on coastal biodiversity and impacts, spreading the knowledge and raising public awareness on conservation issues.
Research diving requires excellent buoyancy skills, to be able to hover near the bottom looking for and recording key species without finning and disturbing the substrate. Often volunteers are newly qualified or inexperienced divers and it is necessary to work with them to improve their buoyancy skills before they can begin to collect data. For this reason diving in certain especially delicate environments, like a tunnel full of precious red coral, is reserved for experienced divers. Similarly, involvement in our Seahorse Project is reserved for volunteers coming for sufficient time to perfect their buoyancy skills as the seahorse habitat is very fragile.
The Research Assistant is expected to set a good example and advise volunteers in terms of
- Diving practice and safety
- Care of equipment
- Good buoyancy skills
- Behaviour towards marine life
- Collecting underwater debris
- Collecting reliable data
- Collating data
- Respectful communal living, including tidiness and cleanliness in the shared accommodation and self-catering area
Following induction training the Research Assistant will play a lead role in training new volunteer divers in the research protocol and conducting research dives to gather reliable key species data for the Silmar Project at the two research stations that we coordinate.
We clean up any underwater debris that we see on each dive and once per week we carry out a dedicated Dive Against Debris and collate the debris data for Project AWARE, entering the information into their online database.
We have an ongoing population survey of seahorses in a sheltered bay where the seagrass meadows are being degraded by summer boat anchoring. This research requires excellent buoyancy skills and the assistant will be involved in this with volunteers who come for longer periods.
The Research Assistant will help volunteers in collating the underwater data gathered each day, will enter the data onto excel databases, upload photos and information to the various projects that we assist as required. There will also be involvement in awareness raising activities.
The research is carried out Monday to Friday (weather permitting). Evenings and weekends are free.
The Research Assistant will be provided with
- Training in the Silmar Protocol and species identification
- Training in the Seahorse Survey methodology
- Training in Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris
- Shared bunkroom accommodation near the beach, shops, restaurants, etc
- Self-catering facilities
- Communal sun terrace
- Free WiFi
- Transport from the local airport/railway station and
- Daily transport to the research stations
- A free Medes Islands Marine Reserve dive
Kenna Eco Diving is an independent non-profit, self-funded research centre. Our research is not funded and we do not get paid for the data that we share freely for the benefit of marine conservation. We are all volunteers and there are no paid positions. In order to come and be a part of the project as a Research Assistant you will pay towards the expenses at a special rate of 250.00 pounds sterling per week (much less than regular volunteers´ contribution). This covers your accommodation and a part of other expenses such as fuel for transport to the research sites, tanks and air for diving, the work equipment, maintenance and Spanish taxes.
We only have one Research Assistant position each year. The closing date is 1st March 2015. If you are short-listed, we will arrange an interview via Skype. Please use the contact us form to request an application form.