Marine Biology Research and Conservation in the Canary Islands

Contribute to marine biology research and conservation while based on the idyllic island of Tenerife.

Durations:  1 - 4 weeks

Program information

Join a marine biology research project with a focus on marine mammals when you travel to Spain’s Canary Islands. Here, you’ll be based on the island of Tenerife along with marine biologists, conservationists and other scientists, as well as volunteers from around the world. You’ll help them to collect and analyse data on whales and dolphins as well as marine and coastal habitats.

undefined 30 June 2022
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Program overview

Want to know what being a marine biologist is really like? Looking to trial a job in marine science before pursuing a qualification in this field? Do you have a particular interest in whales and dolphins? Then our marine biology research and conservation program, based in the Spanish Canary Islands, might just be for you. 

This program is based on the island of Tenerife. Tenerife is located just off the coast of Morocco and is roughly a three-to-five hour flight from most European destinations. The island’s balmy waters are an excellent location for marine biology research, specifically studying whales and dolphins. This is because its waters are warm all year round, are up to 2,000 meters deep and are sheltered from harsh, open-ocean conditions. These same factors make it the perfect location for other marine species such as sea turtles and blue rays.

Many of these species are endangered, vulnerable or threatened. But several of these species, specifically dolphins and whales, are classified as data deficient. This means that we don’t have enough information about their populations. We also don’t yet fully understand how environmental threats such as plastic pollution and climate change affect these marine creatures.

This is how volunteers like you can help out professional marine biologists and conservationists. You’ll participate in what is known as a citizen science project by helping to collect data. In the process, you’ll learn what marine science is all about and earn new technical skills. 

On this program, you’ll travel the waters around Tenerife with other volunteers, keeping an eye out for whale and dolphin activity. You’ll collect data on their numbers, their health and their behaviour. You’ll also take pictures of them to help with identifying specific individuals. You’ll also conduct surveys of the waters and beaches, recording a range of factors such as boat activity. 

Then, you’ll learn how to input the data you’ve gathered into a database and find out how the data is analysed. You’ll learn how this data is used by local and international marine conservation organisations to make decisions about establishing, adapting and implementing environmental policies. 

You’ll also participate in other marine conservation activities such as cleaning beaches and helping to educate tourists abou