Click on the photos to find out more about our fantastic team of seasonal volunteers for 2016!
Jess Grimbley ShoreFin Volunteer: I have been passionate about ocean wildlife for my whole life, and in 2015 I achieved a first class degree in BSc Marine Biology from Swansea University. In order to gain as much experience in the marine mammal field as possible, I have volunteered with the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, The Sea Watch Foundation and MARINElife in various roles ranging from acoustic dolphin surveys and data entry, to organising marine mammal research trips. I have travelled around to world in search of cetaceans, to Iceland, Canada, Puerto Rico and Florida. People often forget we have such a diverse range of marine wildlife right here in the UK! I can’t wait to spend time in this beautiful part of Wales, and take photos of dolphins all day long!
Matthew Indge ShoreFin Volunteer: As long as I can remember I have been fascinated by the ocean which is probably the main reason for undertaking a degree in Zoology at Reading University. Ocean conservation and creating sustainable use of the sea are vitally important to me. I am also an active rep for Surfers Against Sewage fighting against the miss use of sewage and pollution of our oceans through many different mediums. I organise beach cleans around South Wales to help clean our beaches and help save our oceans. My hobbies include surfing and wildlife photography so I can’t wait to get photographing the wonderful diverse wildlife of New Quay. I am also looking forward to assisting in research studies that can make a huge difference in dolphin conservation.
Lauren Dawson Research Volunteer: I have been eager to pursue a career in whale and dolphin conservation ever since first going on a whale watch as a child. Whilst completing a degree in Biological Sciences I had the opportunity to work on conservation projects of other large mammals in Africa and South East Asia, as well as volunteering on a dolphin research project in Australia. These experiences really cemented my hopes of spending my career doing something worthwhile for research and conservation, so I can’t wait to get involved in the work of CBMWC – their incredible outreach programs will be a great way to pass on my fascination with marine life to visitors so they can help too!
Susan Vester Research Volunteer: I have been very interested in the field of marine biology from a young age. Growing up in the last two decades has impressed upon me the urgent need for environmental and wildlife conservation. Volunteering at the CBMWC is therefore, a great opportunity to contribute to marine conservation and pass this knowledge on to the next generation. As a recent MSc graduate in Genetics from the University of Aberdeen I am hoping to gain new skills in the area of marine mammal conservation and education during my time in New Quay. I love spending time out-of-doors and am looking forward to exploring the Welsh coast.
Megan Wilde Research Volunteer: I didn’t grow up by the sea so that taught be to be grateful for trips to the British coast and travels abroad. I have always been interested in the oceans geography and its biology. I am a Marine Geography Student from Cardiff University and am currently on a placement year. I have been to Spain and Mauritius completing similar roles. I have always found marine mammals most fascinating and am keen to study them, which is what brought me to apply for a research volunteer role with CBMWC. I am a BSAC diver and have always felt comfortable in the water. I wish to gain fieldwork experience to improve my marine research skills and gain work experience to help my future career as a marine scientist. Then to hopefully contribute towards making decisions regarding global ocean conservation and management.
Mary Mahon Research Volunteer: I am from Ireland currently studying Applied freshwater and marine biology. I have always had an interest in any wildlife, there is always something new to learn about it. I can’t wait to explore more of the marine world when starting at CBMWC.
Joe Deighton Research Volunteer: Ever since I was little, I have always had an interest in caring for and studying animals, especially marine life. After I left school, I studied animal management at Lackham College for 2 years. Whilst studying at Lackham, I had the opportunity to go to South Africa, to visit Krugar National Park. It gave me the experience to see ‘The Big Five’ in the wild. I also visited Moholoholo rehabilitation centre and H.E.S.C rehabilitation centre. This gave me a great opportunity to see animal conservation work which started my interest in animal conservation. Being a volunteer at CBMWC will be a great opportunity to combine my love of marine life and my interest in supporting conservation.
Laura Marziali Research Volunteer: I’ve been passionate about the environment and wildlife conservation for a long time. This passion grew all through my BSc in Environmental Science and during my MSc in Conservation. It is during that time that I decided to pursue a career in marine conservation, which lead me to do research on the governance of marine protected areas. I am currently living in Montreal and I really enjoyed raising awareness for a range of projects which are being implemented in Montreal to make it a greener city. I am now really excited to increase my knowledge of marine environments and conservation, as well as participating in CBMWC’s research. I have always loved being outdoors and I cannot wait to explore and discover the beautiful coast of Wales.
Emma Watton Research Volunteer: Last year I graduated from The Manchester Metropolitan University with a degree in Wildlife Biology (BSc) Hons. From this my fascination with the ocean and marine wildlife increased and I was able to write my final year dissertation on sensory ecology in marine mammals. For the last five months I have been lucky enough to travel South East Asia where I acquired both my PADI Open Water and SSI Advanced Open Water dive certificates. The experience has encouraged me even more to pursue a career in marine conservation as there is so much of our oceans yet to explore. I’m excited to start volunteering for CBMWC and hope to gain valuable experience and skills in both marine mammal surveying and educating the public about conserving marine wildlife.
Siobhan Edney Research Volunteer: I have always been really interested in the environment and the local wildlife from a young age and was lucky enough to go snorkelling in Florida where I first developed an interest in marine life. During the Summer of 2015 I completed a degree at Aberystwyth University with a 2.1 in Bsc Geography. I have volunteered at Swansea University with Project Seagrass Ecology Conservation Research Group and I really enjoyed helping out both with fieldwork and office based research. I have also volunteered at local conservation organisations such as the Cotswold Water Park Trust and with a local wildlife rescue centre. I am really looking forward to starting my placement at Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre and learning more about marine life and conservation in the west of Wales. I am hoping this will be an opportunity to learn about data collection, observation and sightings, species identification and fieldwork along the coast.
Jason Burk Research Volunteer: Wildlife has been my biggest passion since I was old enough to know what it was, and I’ve been lucky enough to be able to see some incredible animals and habitats up close. When I was 7 I got to swim with my all-time favourite animals in America – Hammerheads! I have also swam with Green Sea Turtles in Turkey, which was just amazing! In 2011 I went to Madagascar with my family, and I took so many photos I think I broke my camera. We took part in night and day walks in Madagascar’s Eastern rainforests and also in the dryer, spiny forests of the South looking for rare species such as the Tenrec and also the Indri-Indri lemur. As well as this I got to swim in the Indian Ocean’s coral reefs, my favourite of all the world’s ecosystems. On my trip we got to travel outwards where I witnessed a mother Humpback Whale teach her baby how to jump. (Just ask if you’d like to see photos!) Even after going on 20 flights across the world, the funny thing is I actually hate flying.I love aquatic invertebrates, and have kept and bred shrimp for 8 years now! At the moment I am writing a book on how to care for freshwater and brackish aquarium shrimp, which I hope to sell to aquatic retailers worldwide.
Hetty Upton Research Volunteer: I have had a great interest in wildlife and the natural world ever since I was a child and so it always seemed obvious that this was to become my future path in life. After school, I went to college to undertake a course in Animal Management and spent a few years working at Bristol Zoo with the animal keeping and presentations teams. I then moved to Devon to further my studies and it was here that I completed my degree in Conservation Biology at Plymouth University. Previous work in Asia has given me experience of international conservation and I have also worked with local organisations such as zoos and wildlife charities within the areas of environmental education, research, animal care, community engagement and fundraising. Having recently moved to Cornwall, my interest in marine life has grown due to the coastal lifestyle and in my spare time I enjoy wildlife-watching, outdoor activities/sports, photography, cycling and travelling. I hope to further develop my experience and enthusiasm surrounding marine conservation and wildlife research during my time in Wales.
Luíse Dhonnabhain Research Volunteer: Spending a childhood splashing about in the sea and rummaging in rockpools drove me to learn more about wildlife and ecology. A former lifeguard, I spent many saltwater training sessions in the company of the resident dolphin which sparked my interest in dolphin behaviour and ecology. Now armed with a B.Sc in Zoology and a diving qualification I hope to forge a career in marine conservation and research, and inspire others to protect the natural world around them!
Valentina Caserta Research Volunteer: I graduated one year ago in Marine Biology and since that event my adventures have begun. I travelled around the world for a year, following my passion: cetaceans. I saw the mysterious Turkey, passed through the wildness of Falkland Islands, volunteered for different organisations and learned as much as possible from their work. I join the CBMWC Team in May with the hope to mix my experiences and create a beautiful net of knowledge.
Alex Bell Research Volunteer: At the moment I am still studying for a BSc in Natural Sciences at Durham University. I am passionate about pursuing a career in conservation and eco-tourism. I have a love for the outdoors – in particular the sea, which is coupled with my love for Scuba diving and marine animals. I will be completing an internship with CBMWC for a few months this coming summer in which I hope to gain some experience working in this working environment and look forward to exploring more of Wales and meeting other volunteers.
Megan Rush Research Volunteer: Whilst growing up you would either find me with my wellies flooded in rock pools along the coasts of Cornwall, reading books or watching documentaries on marine wildlife. I have lived in Cornwall all my life which kicked off my passion for Marine Biology at the age of 5, now being 19 the passion is still as strong thanks to never being too far away from the sea. I am now in my second year at Plymouth University studying a BSC in Marine Biology and Coastal ecology. 2015 was an extraordinary year for me I had several opportunities to go travelling with friends, but also by myself. I went to Brittany on a field week studying about the marine life that inhabits these rocky shores, Menorca, Berlin, Australia where I got the chance to snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef on Fitzroy Island, Green Island and the Whitsundays. I also went to South Africa for a field trip where we studied the rocky shore, ocean and the ecology of terrestrial species also whilst having the adventure of a lifetime. I had the opportunity to cage dive with Great White sharks, skydive and climb some of the most beautiful mountains. I hope by volunteering with CBMWC it will increase my knowledge and experience with Marine animals.
Sarah Pickering Research Volunteer: I’m currently half way through a Biology degree at the University of York. After spending lots of time surveying ducks, geese and insects in practical sessions for my degree, and a little time spent at the nearby conservation site, I’m looking forward to a change of scenery and learning more about the research and surveys on the marine wildlife and the dolphins in Cardigan Bay. I’m excited and grateful for the chance to volunteer over the summer and hope to learn lots of new skills.
Steffan Lewis Research Volunteer: I am currently an undergraduate at Swansea University studying Marine Biology. Since a young age I have had a strong passion for wildlife and marine wildlife in particular. I enjoy learning about different organisms, their characteristics, habitats, how they interact with one another in complex ecosystems and the vast biodiversity within the world’s oceans. The conservation of marine areas and species that are under threat as a result of global climate change or other negative environmental factors also interests me and I feel this is a very important subject as the ocean has an effect on all other areas of the planet.The number of subjects that are not yet fully understood also fascinates me as I feel this demonstrates the complexity of marine ecosystems and organisms. I have always enjoyed going to the beach and have always been curious to learn about aquatic species. I am a member of the Marine Conservation Society, have an account with the Sealife Survey and I enjoy attending seashore safaris around the Gower peninsular. I enjoy golf, football and surfing as often as I can and have done a PADI scuba diving course.
Laura Parkes Research Volunteer: I have had a keen interest in conservation and marine wildlife ever since I can remember and decided to feed this passion by moving from the much dryer Midlands to the coastline of Devon to study Conservation Biology at Plymouth University. Since graduating I now want to put that interest into action. I am looking forwarding to gaining marine research experience in one of the most beautiful parts of the UK whilst at the CBMWC and also to be able to contribute to the conservation of some of the most charismatic species on the planet.
Rosie Wool Research Volunteer: The natural world has always inspired and amazed me, and I have found this has only increased as I’ve gotten older. My interest in wildlife, alongside my desire to make a positive difference during my lifetime, motivated me to begin a BSc in Zoology at Swansea University in 2013. Since then, I have tried to fill any spare moments with volunteering and trying to work hands-on with animals. This has included working with retired elephants in Thailand and tracking white-beaked dolphins off of Iceland and bottlenose dolphins in India. I have also really enjoyed working with British wildlife, especially with native butterflies. During all of this, I have developed an interest in wildlife photography, and I now keep a website where I post all of my favourite images. When I graduate in July, I can’t wait to have more time on my hands to be able to work with all of the animals I’ve held long-term passions for. Working with CBMWC this autumn will definitely enable me to do that. In the future, I hope to begin an MSc in ecology so that I can pursue a career in research, and I feel gaining skills from helping with CBMWC research will be imperative to that.
Sancha Holroyd Research Volunteer: From a young age I’ve always been interested in marine biology and taking part in this volunteering project as part of my gap year will provide me with useful skills for a career within the marine biology sector. After my gap year I’m heading to university to study marine biology, something I’m very much looking forward to.
Kirsten Dinwoodie Research Volunteer: I’m currently in my final year of a Marine and Freshwater Biology degree at the University of Glasgow. I’ve spent time conducting marine turtle conservation both in Cyprus and Trinidad and Tobago, as well as doing a tropical marine biology field course in Egypt. I’m really looking forwards to getting more field experience closer to home, as growing up near the sea in Scotland is where I first fell in love with the oceans, and I can’t wait to visit New Quay and work with marine mammals for the first time!
Adam Cooper Research Volunteer: Having grown up around the coast of South Wales, I’ve been lucky enough to be exposed to the amazing geology and biodiversity of the area from a young age. After completing my undergraduate degree in Geology from Bristol University, I worked in Bristol’s ocean isotope group as a lab technician, seeing what factors influenced deep-water coral distribution in the Southern Ocean. This lead to several unforgettable cruise opportunities in the Arctic basin. I’m currently partway through a postgraduate degree in Oceanography at Southampton University, and hope to combine my knowledge of the marine environment and conservation through this position to one day pursue a career in sustainable marine management.
Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre
Patent Slip Building