Volunteer opportunity: Research team Member at Mingan Island Cetacean Study

  • Des rorquals à bosse s'alimentent de capelans au large de l'ile d'Anticosti. © MICS
    04 / 04 / 2019 Par Marie-Ève Muller

    Mingan Island Cetacean Study (MICS) is a non-profit, charitable research organization based in both Canada and the United States, dedicated to ecological studies of marine mammals and marine ecosystems. Founded in 1979 by Richard Sears, MICS was the first organization to carry out long-term research of cetaceans in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and first to carry out long-term studies of the endangered blue whale. The principal study areas include the Quebec North Shore in the Mingan Island/Anticosti region, the Gaspe Peninsula and St. Lawrence Estuary.

    MICS focuses on photo-identification for the following species: blue whale, fin whale, humpback whale and minke whale.

    Our station also runs 2 outreach programs:

    – Week-long ecotourism trips where the public joins us in the field as we carry out our research activities and educate them about cetaceans research and conservation; this helps us fund the research

    – Museum visitors who come to learn about cetacean biology and ecology, as well as the research work being done at the station

    All team members actively participate in these 2 important programs. 

    We are looking for one person to become part of our team at MICS for the 2019 field research season, based in Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan (Quebec, Canada)


    From July 1st to end of August/Beginning September, Full-time.

    Job description 

    Team members participate in all tasks required to conduct research in the field and to help in any operational aspects. Days are spent at sea and on land, based on weather and a rotating schedule.

    – On land, at the station (70% of the time) :

    o Data management after a day at sea : logbook writing, database entries.

    o Matching (photo-identification using our dedicated software).

    o Maintenance of the research equipment

    o Education/outreach: guided museum visits

    – At sea (30% of the time) :

    o Visual monitoring of the research area

    o Introduction to navigation at sea

    o Data collection (Photo-Id, data recording, field notes)

    o Maintenance and preparation of the navigation and research equipment at the start and end of the day

    o Education and outreach for ecotourists on board


    – Be 18 years old or more

    – Education : Relevant university or college degree in progress (Biology, ecology, environmental sciences, etc…) or recently graduated.

    – Applicants should have the desire to start their career in this domain or a closely-related one.

    – English speaker, French would be a bonus.

    – Similar experience not essential, but would be a bonus.

    – MICS is a non-profit organisation, this is an unpaid position. New team members have to cover their own transportation costs.

    – Accommodation and food are provided by MICS.

    – New team members have to be flexible and able to work in team in sometimes difficult conditions (7 days/week, long hours at sea, cold weather).

    Learning outcomes 

    New team members will gain experience and knowledge on the focus study species, day-to-day fieldwork, basic navigation at sea, operational aspects of a research station at sea and on land. They will also gain confidence when interacting with tourists and visitors, and live a rich experience within a diverse and international team.

    How to apply : 

    Please send a CV and cover letter to mics@rorqual.com, before APRIL 22nd, 2019. Feel free to contact the MICS team via this email for any further questions.