Every year volunteers from around the world participate in field research projects and activities with the Manta Trust, primarily to collect scientific data and promote the conservation of manta rays through educational awareness campaigns.
If you want to work with us as a field volunteer you need to be 21 years or older, fit, a strong swimmer and a PADI Advanced Open Water diver (or equivalent BSAC/SSI grade), enthusiastic, computer literate, organised, willing to work long hours and passionate about marine conservation.
We also have opportunities for those who do not want to travel – why not dedicate some of your free time to helping us ID our mantas online? Or if you’ve been fortunate to snorkel or dive with manta rays on your holidays you can even submit and annotate your own manta photos to our online database, upload your images through our online submission form and input your data!
See below for a list of current vacancies and details specific to each opportunity. We advertise all our vacancies via our Facebook and Twitter pages and on this page of the website, so please check back regularly to avoid missing out!
If there is a position you are interested in, please send us your CV/resume (no longer than two pages), along with a covering letter (maximum of two pages) to tell us more about you, why you would like to pursue a volunteer position with us and what skills you can bring to the Manta Trust.
Please send all applications to firstname.lastname@example.org, using the correct reference specific to the vacancies detailed below, as well as your name. E.g. ‘Volunteer Application, #MMRP2017, Joe Bloggs’
We look forward to reading your applications, and to working with you.
Current Volunteer Vacancies
Volunteers for the Maldivian Manta Ray Project Field Season 2017 | Ref: #MMRP2017
APPLICATIONS OPEN: 16th January – 23:59 on 6th February 2017.
Once again, the Manta Trust is looking for half a dozen volunteers to work with the Maldivian Manta Ray Project from June to November 2017. For 3 months, volunteers will be involved in collecting vital data on the world’s largest-known population of reef manta rays, working and learning from researchers running one of the best-known manta research projects. Working from our research dhoni, volunteers will cruise the atoll, manta spotting and collecting manta sightings which will contribute to to database we have built up for over 10 years!
- Minimum 21 years old (applicants MUST include Date of Birth in their CV / covering lettering for verification).
- Happy to commit to one of two 3 month periods (June – August, or September – November). Applicants that are flexible and able to commit to either period will be preferred.
- Minimum BSc in Marine Biology, or related field.
- Advanced Open Water Dive certificate (PADI/SSI/BSAC equivalent). Whilst diving is not a common activity for a volunteer, applicants without these diving qualifications or above will NOT be considered.
- Excellent swimming/snorkelling skills. A demonstrated ability to comfortably freedive to at least 5m. You will spend a lot of time snorkelling down beneath manta rays to get photos of their ID spot patterns.
- Physically fit – it is likely you will spend 3+ hours a day, 6 days a week swimming in the ocean. Mantas love to be uncooperative, and when conditions are rough/there is a current, it can be physically demanding.
- A strong interest in manta rays, conservation and marine/environmental research.
- Computer literate and comfortable working long hours at a desk. After a long day at sea, volunteers will be expected to spend 3 hours+ in the afternoon/evenings processing ID photo data in the office with the other researchers.
- Excellent guest relation and communication skills. Comfortable with public speaking and giving presentations.
- A friendly, outgoing personality.
- The ability to live and work as part of a small team in a multi-national, small & remote island environment, in an Islamic country in the tropics.
Inclusions & Exclusions:
- All food, shared accommodation and internal flight transfers will be covered.
- The position is voluntary and thus NOT paid – you must bring your own ‘pocket money’. But there is no fee for volunteering with the MMRP.
- International flight expenses to/from Malé International Airport must be borne by the volunteer.
To get more of an idea of what the role will involve, see blogs below from previous MMRP Baa Atoll volunteers in previous seasons:
- Matt’s First Month in the Maldives (2014)
- Kicking things off with a BANG! (2014)
- It’s not always about the mantas…(2013)
- Welcome to the Maldives…the sunny side of life (2013)
- Danny dives in (2012)
If you are interested, please send your CV/resume, and a covering letter (maximum two pages for each document) to email@example.com, quoting the reference above and your name in the email title E.g. ‘Volunteer Application, #MMRP2017, Joe Bloggs’. Please also specify which of the two volunteer periods you are available to join, and if you have a preference.
This is an extremely popular and highly competitive volunteer opportunity, so really try and impress us if you want to stand out! We look forward to reading your application.
Mexican Caribbean Manta Ray Project Volunteer positions (NAME-Volunteer App Caribbean 2017)
APPLICATION PERIOD OPEN: Closing date 20th January 2017
Mexican Caribbean Manta Ray Project is looking for enthusiast volunteers that want to collaborate with us during our field trips and database registration.
We are currently receiving applications for SUMMER 2017.
By signing up for our summer program you will be participating in different activities related to manta rays and the different ecosystems that surround the Yucatan Peninsual – including mangroves, tropical forests and coral reefs.
Furthermore, your contribution will help us accomplish our main core objectives in terms of conservation, education and research. The position will give you first-hand experience of working in a grass-roots, local conservation project, and many of general skills you will gain will be transferable and relevant to other environmental projects around the world.
The data collected throughout the program will be used to inform both local communities and international parties about the conservation measures and management initiatives necessary to successfully protect charismatics megafauna, notably manta rays and whale sharks.
Months with Volunteer Positions Available (2017):
July, August, and mid-September
Volunteer positions are limited to 8 individuals per month.
Volunteers will have an instructor who will assist you and be in charge of managing the volunteers’ tasks.
- Follow your instructor indications at any time and procedures related with the task assigned to your person.
- Maintain and update the project’s database.
- Perform data analysis and assist with preparing scientific publications, grants applications etc.
- Create outreach materials for schools, and communities about marine megafauna and wider marine conservation.
- Maintain equipment and contribute to keeping accommodation facilities clean and in order.
- Conduct fisheries surveys.
- Conduct interviews with local community stakeholders connected with mantas and mobulas.
- Minimum 21 years old.
- Commitment of minimum 1 month of the program.
- Marine biology or similar background.
- Environmental or conservation previous work experience.
- Designers / Engineers / Marketing also welcomed.
- Excellent swimming and snorkeling skills.
- Willing to work sporadic and occasionally long hours on a boat (it is very sunny and hot during those months).
- Strong passion for marine ecosystems/ manta rays/ conservation/education.
- English with intermediate level minimum.
- We are in a Spanish speaking country. Applicants with some level of Spanish language knowledge will be given special consideration.
- Creative and innovative person.
- Computer skills (excel. power point, word, photoshop, graphs).
- Comfortable working long hours at a desk.
- Friendly and enthusiastic personality.
- Comfortable to share work, and housing with other people.
- Can relate with people of different backgrounds
Please send your application with your resume / CV, and a covering letter outlining your goals and motivations (max 2 pages) to : firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Please title your email with the following reference: “NAME-Volunteer App Caribbean 2017”.
Recent Volunteer Vacancies
Galapagos Manta Project Volunteer position (#Galapagos2016)
Expected start date: April 2016.
Duration: Initially for a period of 6 months with the possibility of extending the placement for an additional 6 months, upon review.
Introduction: The Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) is looking for a person with experience in marine sciences and related fieldwork to volunteer at our Research Station in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz. The successful candidate will be an important team member of the Manta Project, which aims to conduct applied research that results in specific management actions towards mantas conservation. This project is a partnership between the CDF and the Manta Trust, a UK registered charity whose mission is to take a multidisciplinary approach to the worldwide conservation of manta rays and their habitat through robust science and research, while raising awareness and providing education to the general public and community stakeholders alike. This project involves active research in the fields of manta ecology; habitat use and movement; citizen science; and socio-economics.
- Conduct manta and mobula ray surveys by means of visual and stereo-video surveys using SCUBA.
- Analysis of stereo-video footage to quantify manta abundance.
- Conduct interviews with different stakeholder to estimate spatial and temporal patterns of manta and mobula ray diversity, abundance and distribution.
- Assist with manta satellite tagging trips and with the acquisition of tissue biopsies for genetic analysis.
- Maintain and update project databases and bibliography.
- Assist in the design, preparation and delivery of outreach events with the local community, particularly with local schools.
- Carry out data analysis and assist with the production of scientific publications, donor reports, and outreach materials.
- Maintain project equipment in a working order and assist with the logistics of diving and/or tagging trips.
- Support other CDF activities when requested by project coordinator.
- BSc (Hons) in marine biology or related field. Postgraduate certification is an advantage.
- Minimum 3 months of experience in related marine fieldwork. Experience in the analysis of stereo-video footage and underwater visual censuses is desirable.
- Extensive and proven dive experience. Minimum certification PADI Rescue diver or equivalent with at least 100 recorded dives. Dive conditions in Galapagos Islands are very challenging; poor visibility, strong currents and thermoclines are very frequent. The candidate must be used to and feel comfort diving in these testing conditions.
- Advanced knowledge of Microsoft Office, in particular MSAccess & MSExcel as well as advanced statistical software.
- Excellent social and interpersonal skills. Previous experience in conducting interviews and surveys desirable.
- Highly proficient in Spanish and English. Other languages are an advantage.
- Pro-active, able to integrate in a multi-disciplinary team in an isolated environment and willing to work long days and weekends.
Conditions: The Manta Project Volunteer reports directly to the area coordinator. The successful candidate will be based at the CDRS on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. A volunteer assignment with CDF does not imply a continuing relationship with the volunteer beyond the expected duration of the assignment.
The volunteer is expected to work a minimum of 40 hours per week, from 7:30 – 12:00 and 13:30 – 17:00. Due to project activities work, such as fieldtrips, this schedule may change. Vacation and/or additional time away from the Station may be requested in advance by the volunteer but will be subject to the approval of the project coordinator.
The volunteer is responsible for their own travel costs to and from the Galapagos Islands and room and lodging costs during their stay. Accommodation in the CDF campus dorms can be arranged if available. The volunteer must provide their own accident, dive and life insurance coverage for travel to and from Galapagos and for the duration of their assignment in the Islands.
The CDF will negotiate the entry permits to Ecuador, but will require the cooperation of the volunteer in their country of residence for coordination with the appropriate Ecuadorian embassy that grants the required visa. CDF will not process a visa in excess of the expected duration of the assignment.