Research Assistant Program

Research Assistant Program



Want to be part of a pioneer research project to study fin whales’ remarkable presence near Barcelona’s coast?

Interested in joining a scientific campaign while you enjoy seeing many other cetacean species and seabirds in Mediterranean waters?

The research assistant program (RAP) is designed for people wishing to participate in one of our marine research campaigns to study fin whales on their pass along the Catalan coast.

The Fin Whale Project has as its main objectives: to improve general and scientific knowledge on fin whales (and other species of cetaceans), to raise awareness on the importance of conservation of the marine environment, and to contribute to the improvement of the protocols that regulate scientific activity in this field.

Dates: In the 2016 season, marine research campaigns will take place from Saturday 5th March until Friday 3th June, both inclusive.

It is important to highlight that February and June are the months of lower fin whale presence, whilst March, April and May are the months of higher fin whale presence (being April the peak high season month).

Duration: Each campaign lasts 7 days, beginning on a Saturday and ending on a Friday.

What does the program consist of?

It is composed of a whole week in which participants will be able to learn about cetaceans, as well as to acquire practical skills by carrying out field surveys and analysing data obtained. Thus, to name a few, participants will learn and practice different research techniques including: visual surveys (equivalent to MMO practices), species photo-identification, use of research equipment, environmental and behavioural data collection, use of a hydrophone to listen to vocalizations (passive acoustic, equivalent to PAM practices) and basic navigation techniques.

In addition, assistants will have the opportunity to learn about the use of an innovative non-invasive research technique based on the use of a remote-controlled aircraft, or drone (multicopter), which Edmaktub employs in order to obtain blow samples for genetic studies and that, in turn, allows the film images from the individual being sampled and see especial behaviours and animal characteristics.

Research campaigns will be carried out on board of our research vessel “Maktub”: a 47ft/14,30m catamaran that can accommodate up to 12 crew members.

Want more information on the program and how to apply?

If you are interested in participating in our Fin Whale Project and would like more information about our Research Assistant Program (RAP), please send us your contact details using the form below. You will then have immediate access to the RAP program’s detailed information.


Thank you for your interest!




BCNCET Summer Campaigns


The campaigns consist of a whole week on board our catamaran during which we conduct daily random-transects surveys to study the presence of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) near the coast, and striped (Stenella coeruleoalba), Risso’s dolphins (Grampus griseus), fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) and sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in deeper waters.

Between July and September 2015, we will develop 2 maritime research surveys included in the BCNCET Project, along the Balearic Sea (between Catalonia and the Balearic Islands). The finality is to study all cetaceans that inhabit these waters, specially Sperm whales.

We’ll start with presentations about what Edmaktub does, cetacean identification, cetacean investigation and living in the catamaran and investigation protocol. During next days we’ll make more talks/lectures about MMO, PAM and more. Once we’re at a distance from the coast we’ll start visual and acoustical shifts. Visual and acoustical surveys will be conducted from early morning to evening during the 7 days in the boat, studying the distribution, behaviour, and sound production of the sighted species. We only stop these shifts when the weather gets bad or the sea conditions are not adequate for the visual surveys, and during night. Acoustic surveys will be conducted continually.

When we arrive to the Balearic Islands we’ll overnight anchored near coast and next day we will leave again to the sea. You may not go down to land in all survey. We cannot say in which Island we’ll stop because it depends on the weather and sea conditions. We’ll be in Vilanova on sunday morning.

We will sleep on board, there are mattresses and pillows, but you should bring a sleeping bag. Some days we will sleep at the sea and some others anchored near the coast. The nights at the see will have to do watches shifts.

Food will be provided by the association, and organized. Do you have any food special need, or allergy? Are you vegetarian?

If you are interested in participating in our BCNCET Project or you would like more information about our Research Assistant Program (RAP), please send us an email to