Allied Whale (AW), the marine mammal research lab of College of the Atlantic 
and Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. (BHWW) seek 5 interns/research assistants for 
the 2019 field season. These are entry-level research positions designed to 
offer experience for individuals seeking to develop their professional careers 
in marine mammal research. Two summer positions (mid-May through August 31st) 
and three full season positions (mid-May through October 31st) are available. 
*College of the Atlantic students can receive flexibility in start and end 

Overview of position: This is a unique internship program in that the selected 
individuals will have the opportunity to participate and receive training in a 
wide range of marine mammal research activities while receiving income when 
working as a crew/scientist aboard commercial whale watching trips operating 
from Bar Harbor, Maine. Allied Whale currently supports field projects in the 
trophic ecology of humpback and fin whales, the ongoing housing and maintenance 
of the North Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalog and fin whale photo-ID catalog, an 
active marine mammal stranding response program, and a research/education 
partnership with Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. In addition, Allied Whale maintains 
the facilities on and conducts research from the Mount Desert Rock Marine 
Research Station situated on a remote offshore island. The interns play a 
critical role in the success of the field season and serve as support to all 
aspects of summer activities within both Allied Whale and Bar Harbor Whale 
Watch Co.

Description of duties: Upon arrival in May, all interns will receive research, 
boat crew, and Gulf of Maine natural history training by both Allied Whale and 
the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company staff. As the Allied Whale field season does 
not begin until early June- the first several weeks will be focused on learning 
whale watch deckhand responsibilities and performing humpback whale photo-ID 
with the NAHWC in the office or stranding response. 

Once the season is in full swing, interns will rotate through shifts working as 
a Research Assistant/Deckhand (RA) for the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co., shifts 
working as dock attendant for the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co., shifts in the 
Allied Whale office, and time off. Every week, schedules will be different and 
weather dependent. A typical week in June-August may include two days scheduled 
as researchers on Whale Watch vessels, two days scheduled in the AW office, one 
day scheduled as dock attendant for the BHWW, and two days off. Weather may 
cause shifts to be canceled and some weeks may be lighter in load or 
responsibilities. Interns will also rotate through week-long shifts on Mount 
Desert Rock. 

Below are specific expectations for each designated shift:

Whale watch trips: Research responsibilities on the whale watch trips include 
searching for whales, photo-identification of whales and behavioral data 
collection. Deckhand responsibilities include line handling, vessel cleaning, 
helping seasick passengers and passenger safety. RAs are also responsible for 
assisting the naturalist in promoting education and conservation programs on 
each trip. Maintaining a positive, professional, friendly and outgoing demeanor 
while engaging whale watch passengers and fellow crew is compulsory. When whale 
watch trips cancel for weather, crew may be asked to report for duty to 
complete maintenance on the vessel. 

Dock attendant duties: Dock attendants are critical for the daily smooth 
operation of boat trips at the BHWW Co. Attendants assist in security 
screening, loading passengers onto boats, tying boats to docks as trips depart 
or return, delivering lunches to crew on boats, pumping gas for visiting 
vessels, and communicating trip schedule changes to the public. These shifts 
are not dependent on weather. 

Allied Whale office shifts: On scheduled office days, interns will be required 
to be available in the Allied Whale office from 9AM-5PM. During those hours, 
interns will compare individual whales to the NAHWC catalog, enter their whale 
watch data into the database, manage the Adopt-a-Whale program, and answer 
phone calls to the office. Allied Whale’s stranding program is responsible for 
responding to all dead or stranded marine mammals in northern Maine, primarily 
seal species. Interns will be on call to assist with field stranding response 
and to participate in necropsies (animal autopsies). Interns scheduled for 
office shifts will also be on call for boat research days. 

Allied Whale boat research days: When weather permits, interns will assist 
Allied Whale staff and graduate students on trips offshore to collect biopsy 
samples of humpback and fin whales. While on board one of the research vessels, 
interns will be responsible for collecting photo identification images of 
whales and recording data. Interns will be responsible for processing images 
from these trips. 

Mount Desert Rock: We hope for interns to complete several shifts (each at 
least a week in length) at our offshore research station Mount Desert Rock. 
While on the island, interns will participate in land-based whale monitoring 
from the lighthouse tower, seal counts, gull counts, and 
maintenance/construction projects at the station. Interns will collect weekly 
samples of seal scat to contribute to a collaborative microplastics project.  
Interns will also receive experience working in a remote off-the-grid location. 

Pay/Housing: Those accepted to the program are able to earn income by their 
work on the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company. Deckhands are paid $50 per trip (at 
the height of summer, there are 2 trips running a day) plus considerable tips. 
Interns also receive a free First Aid Certification and TWIC card from the BHWW 
Co. Provided housing in downtown Bar Harbor is mandatory for a fee. Rent will 
be approximately $375 a month for a bed in a shared room. While at Mount Desert 
Rock, food is provided for free. The BHWW Co. also provides funding for RAs to 
attend the annual North Atlantic Right Whale Conference in New Bedford, 
Massachusetts in November. 

Qualifications: Applicants should have a college background in biology, 
ecology, and/or marine sciences. Previous data collection experience in a 
research setting and knowledge of marine mammals are great advantages. Prior 
experience offshore and skills in DSLR photography are also assets. Due to 
Coast Guard requirements, all crew onboard US commercial vessels and therefore 
all research assistant/interns, must be US citizens or have permanent resident 
alien status. Also, all interns will be drug screened prior to employment and 
will be enrolled in a random drug testing program. Applicants should be 
physically and mentally fit: able to lift and carry 50 pounds, comfortable 
around dead and decomposing animals, and able to hike up to 5 miles carrying 
gear for stranding response. Most importantly, applicants must be positive in 
attitude, flexible to quickly changing schedules, able to work independently, 
and be seaworthy/comfortable working on boats. Lastly, because of the community 
living situation both in Bar Harbor and on Mount Desert Rock, applicants must 
get along well with others and be able to handle working in a team setting.

To apply: Please send a cover letter detailing your reasons for applying, a 
resume, and two letters of recommendation to: Dr. Tanya Lubansky 
( *Letters may be sent either directly from the references 
or by the applicants.

Please specify which position you are interested in (summer or full-season). 
Deadline of application is February 22nd.

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