Tom, a wildlife conservation student at the University of Salford, came to Archipelagos in the winter of 2018 as part of his placement year. As part of the Marine Mammal team, Tom actively contributed to research and surveys as well as participating in terrestrial monitoring surveys, giving him a rounded and varied experience of Samos’ biodiversity.

When Tom joined our team at Archipelagos, having previously volunteered with a Primate Rehabilitation program in Spain, he was keen to keep deepening his understanding of conservation as a whole and gain a holistic view of conservation in the Mediterranean. Throughout his internship he participated in monitoring surveys for the Mediterranean Monk Seal and participated in boat surveys, recording cetaceans via photo identification. Simultaneously, he worked with the terrestrial conservation team, helping with their study on the Golden jackals and migratory and resident birds.

Tom’s typical day at work would include a wide range of tasks. When working with the terrestrial team, he would assist veterinarians during necropsies, collect data from camera traps used to monitor the jackals’ presence at Samos airport, and participated in the Flamingo survey at the Aliki salt marsh in Psili Ammos. 

Tom’s main focus was on the occurrence of strandings around Samos Island, data for which he helped collect when on daily Monk seal presence monitoring survey with other Archipelagos interns. This paper aims to understand and analyse all the strandings that have occurred since 2015 in order to understand causes, frequencies and seasonal differences in these events.

When asked about the skills he has gained whilst at Archipelagos, Tom states that he now knows how to collect and analyse different type of environmental data, knows how to assist during necropsies and has learned to use Raven, a software used to analyse and recognise bioacoustics sounds made by cetaceans. Tom admitted that working with terrestrial team members encouraged him to develop a strong attachment towards the Golden jackal, despite not planning to study them when he arrived at Archipelagos. He also acknowledged that meeting such a diverse group of interns has been his favourite part of his time here.

In the three months he spent at Archipelagos, he has met and worked with students and staff from 32 countries and six continents, learning a lot from the cultural differences between one another.


We wish Tom the best in his next internship in Canada, where he will be working with raccoons, squirrels and other terrestrial mammals, and thank him for the enthusiasm he has put in his work with us!