My name is Sjoerd and I am in the last year of my Pre-bachelor’s in environmentalism. During my 3-month internship, I have been allowed to start a project.

This project revolves around creating a rig that can record cetacean behaviour with the use of the Soundtrap ST4300HF and the Insta 360° camera. Something similar does not exist yet to our knowledge. During a sighting (this is the moment we see dolphins or whales during a boat survey), a buoyant rig consisting of the Soundtrap, a 360° camera and a weight can be deployed. The power of this rig unfolds itself in the event of cetaceans showing curious behaviour. When the cetaceans get in proximity, the rig will have the ability to record bioacoustics as well as video footage. Subsequently, the data is combined and can be used to track every individual. In combination with bioacoustic recordings, behaviour types can be linked to a specific acoustic. This data can help us to understand cetaceans more and more.

My other project revolves around the mapping of remote rocky shorelines in Samos. These shorelines can be habitable for the endangered Mediterranean Monk Seal ‘Monachus monachus’. During surveys, these areas are mapped with the use of the DJI mini 3 pro and later combined to create a (3D) map. By doing this, areas of interest can be found and future surveys can be organized to protect a species of which only 700 are in existence till this day.

Apart from working on these projects, I frequently take part in boat-based surveys. The main target of these surveys is locating, observing and collecting data on cetaceans. Cetaceans like the Common Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), Striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) or the Short-beaked Common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) are species we frequently monitor in the Aegean waters. During a survey data like GPS-coördinates, marine traffic, and seabirds are collected. Subsequently, this data is processed and used for multiple (ongoing) projects. Apart from the fact that processing all the data is a lot of work, I do have to say, boat surveys are probably the best part of the internship for me! I was fortunate to be in an extraordinarily long Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) sighting, something I will never forget!

After this internship I will continue studying, and follow my dream of becoming a marine biologist, ocean conservationist and underwater photographer