The Marine and Coastal Ecology Research Center is inviting interested students to participate in the third season for 7 day field intensive focused on cetacean behavioral ecology in Puerto Rico. No experience is necessary to participate!

Join our research team studying humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) wintering off Puerto Rico. Space is limited to 4 students in each 7 day session for boat and land based research platforms during the field season January 19, 2014- April 19, 2014. We are offering this “shorty” format (by request!) to fill the need for less expensive programs fitting into work and class schedules. Gap year students are welcome to inquire about programs lasting multiple weeks, including in depth analysis of data.

This field intensive training program is well suited for students (undergraduate and graduate) of all skill levels interested in cetacean behavioral ecology, and conservation. The program culminates in a certificate acknowledging training including theodolite tracking of whales and boats from land, boat based behavior and acoustic data collection, analysis of acoustic files and software, and photo identification of flukes and fins for cetaceans.

Participants are directly involved in data collection and analysis for PhD dissertation related research for Seasonal Occurrence Patterns and Social Strategies of Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) Wintering off Puerto Rico, USA as well as an examination of reaction to human activity near shore (including boats, divers, surfers, and aircraft).

Program fees include a week in Puerto Rico, USA: travel between field stations, training program in scientific methods, room and meals at the project field station in San German, reference materials related to the project, field methods for data collection and analysis, and a certificate of completion. Fees do not include travel to and from Ponce, Puerto Rico, USA and compulsory health and travel insurance. Students must bring a working or collar-type PFD during all boat operations. Options for acquiring a pfd for the program session are sent with application packets.

MCERC has provided documentation of study for students working with their advisers at universities resulting in undergraduate and graduate university credit hours. Please meet with your adviser in advance and send us an e-mail with your application if you are considering this option and we will be happy to send you information helpful to your adviser.

To participate, simply download the Simple Application and information packet from the MCERC website under the “Education” tab. Be sure to read all the information related to the project and the filed station! Email your application to (Website:

Thank you for supporting humpback whale research and education!


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2014 Humpback Whale Field Intensive Project Sessions

Session 1: January 19-25 $900.00USD
Session 2: January 26 – February 01 $900.00USD
Session 3: February 02-08 $900.00USD
Session 4: February 09-15 $900.00USD
Session 5: February 16-22 $900.00USD
Session 6: February 23- March 01 $900.00USD

Session 7: March 02-08 HWFI and Advanced Technical Training – Marine Mammal Observer (MMO), Protected Species Observer (PSO), and Mysticetus Tracking software training sessions $1500.00USD

Session 8: March 09-15 HWFI and Advanced Technical Training – Marine Mammal Observer (MMO), Protectrd Species Observer (PSO), and Mysticetus Tracking software training sessions 1500.00USD

Session 9: March 16-22 $900.00USD
Session 10: March 23-29 $900.00USD
Session 11: March 30-April 05 $900.00USD
Session 12: April 06-12 $900.00USD
Session 13: April 13-19 $900.00USD

See you in the tropics!

Mithriel MacKay
Director of Research and Education
Marine and Coastal Ecology Center
Pipe Creek, Texas and San German , Puerto Rico, USA

Lane Gardner
Director of Business Operations
Marine and Coastal Ecology Research Center-TX office
Bandera, Texas USA

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