Field Experience Opportunity: Manatees in Puerto Rico

The Marine and Coastal Ecology Research Center (MCERC) is offering a 12 day field intensive program; Experimental Design in Feeding Ecology of Marine Mammals. No experience necessary. Undergrads, newly graduated, grad students, and anybody seeking field experience are welcome to participate.

Manatee are an endangered marine species endemic to coastal areas, including Puerto Rico, in the Caribbean Sea. Participants will design and test a field experiment aimed at understanding the challenges of studying marine mammals, while taking advantage of the close proximity of West Indian Manatee for observations from land as a starting point.

Participants will work as a team to formulate hypotheses based on a literature review, construct methods designed to predict where manatee can be observed around the island, learn to use equipment aimed at measuring environmental data, and methods of measuring and recording observations of manatee foraging behaviors, identify and quantify resources associated with manatee habitats, construct tools for the field as needed, and test their hypotheses by traveling to sites around the island setting up observation platforms where manatee are predicted to be foraging.

This 12 day field intensive program includes round table, instructor-led discussions each evening with a review of relevant publications. We will also discuss and compare the challenges of designing experiments to answer questions about the feeding ecology of several marine mammal species. Applications of passive acoustic monitoring, and the use of drones in the study of feeding ecology will also be included in round table discussions.

Cost of each session is $1600USD. The program fee includes a bunk, meals, and snacks at the field house in San German, PR., program curriculum, travel to and from all field sites, and equipment or supplies needed for observations. We will be sure to make time for snorkeling in some of the most beautiful beaches in Puerto Rico (snorkel gear provided, if needed). Travel to and from Puerto Rico is not included in the program fee.

MCERC will even pick you up if you arrive at the airport in Ponce.

To register for this program go to MCERC’s Education Hub at www.Marine-Eco.org/mcerc-moodle and fill out the Simple Application Form. Follow the detailed instructions and e-mail the form for access to enrollment on a first come, first served basis. Registration is easy and quick!

MCERC’s Photo Gallery will give you a preview of what you can do too!

For more information, click here.

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