The Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies (PCCS) and the Dolphin Fleet (DF) offer training and collaborative research opportunities to students and professionals from the Dominican Republic and Wider Caribbean Region (WCR). Training is provided on large whale research techniques, as well as data collection and education from whale watching platforms. The program also provides cross-training for scientists and managers and encourages research collaborations. The program focuses on the Gulf of Maine humpback whale population, which summers off New England and winters in the Caribbean. It provides particular support for the Sister Sanctuary relationship between the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (SBNMS) off Massachusetts, and the Santuario de Mamíferos Marinos de la República Dominicana (SMMRD) off the Dominican Republic.
Each year, one or two positions will be available to qualified applicants from the Dominican Republic and the WCR. They will focus on some or all of the following, depending on the interests and background of the applicant.
Scientific research (Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, Dr. Jooke Robbins)
- Humpback whale photo-identification and cataloguing
- Scientific data collection in the SBNMS and greater Gulf of Maine
- Data processing, data management skills and analytical techniques
- Research projects based on data from the SBNMS/GOM and/or the SMMRD/WCR
- Exposure to human impact studies, response and mitigation
Education and Outreach (Dolphin Fleet, Dr. Carole Carlson)
- Whale watch naturalist training
- Development of whale watch educational materials
- Outreach to local schools and the general public
- Experience collecting data from platforms of opportunity
Primary program partners include the Fundación Dominicana de Estudios Marinos, Inc. (FUNDEMAR), the Hawaiian Islands National Marine Sanctuary (HIHWNMS/NOAA), the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (SBNMS/NOAA) and the Universidad Instituto Technológico de Santo Domingo (INTEC). Support for this program is generously provided by the Cetacean Society International and the Wendy Joan Shadwell Fund for Whale Watch Naturalist Training and Education.