South Africa is a special and significant place for me. Cape Town and Langebaan were the locations for my first major fieldtrip with Plymouth University when I was studying Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology as an undergraduate and it was incredible!
I am delighted to be collaborating with the White Shark Diving Company Research and Volunteer Institute to offer an experience with one of the few conservation focused shark diving companies in South Africa. The Research and Volunteer Institute are a non-profit organisation that offer an excellent ethical experience:
- Be trained as a marine research assistant, interact with sharks and gain essential research skills for your future career!
- Contribute towards meaningful research projects working towards protecting sharks in South Africa;
- Students, Post-Graduates, Early-Career Scientists, Marine Biologists and Passionate Conservationists are encouraged to apply!
Volunteers with the White Shark Diving Company Research and Volunteer Institute will be involved in the following projects:
- A study to understand more about great white shark behaviour;
- A dorsal fin identification project to monitor the diminishing great white shark population;
- Collection of baseline data on abundance, diversity and habitat use of other shark and ray species.
Volunteers will learn how to:
- Record white shark monitoring data;
- Take dorsal fin identification photos and how to analyse those photos;
- Ethical handling and angling of sharks, including measurement, tagging and taking genetic samples.
Daily activities include trips on the cage diving tourist boat, trips on the research vessel, snorkelling, shore surveys, lectures, data analysis, video editing, photo editing, beach clean ups, lessons with the local school, excursions and more.
Volunteers will gain a considerable amount of sea experience as well as some valuable skills in the field, both on the cage diving boat and the dedicated research vessel.
During the 2016 National Workshop on the Implementation of a Shark Biodiversity Management Plan in South Africa, it was underlined that fundamental baseline data are critically required to develop effective management and conservation initiatives for sharks. The various research projects being undertaken by the Research and Volunteer Institute, aim to close some of these gaps in the data to help with the development of effective management plans.
Check out slides of the experience: