This summer I participated in a twelve week long internship as a marine mammal research and education intern with the New England Aquarium. The internship has two major components which is recording data on marine life, specifically whales and engaging with passengers on the boat on topics related to ocean conservation.
Talking with passengers helped me to gain confidence in public speaking as I would have to approach and start conversations with many every shift. It also allowed me to learn more about our oceans through the questions they asked. Something that I enjoyed talking about was ways that we can all help to protect and support our oceans. I really enjoyed learning more about the power of sustainable seafood. Making informed choices on seafood consumption helps to ensure that sustainable and ethical fisheries are being supported. This can have a direct impact on ocean conservation.
The New England Aquarium whale watches travel out to Stellwagen Bank, which is a national marine sanctuary. While there, I got to observe not only various whale species, but sharks, seabirds, and seals as well. On the whale watch we also record data on marine life, weather, and marine debris. All of the data recorded on the whale watches is shared with the Center for Coastal studies. They have been collecting data on the marine life here, specifically humpback whales, for over forty years. This data is used for various reasons such as to follow life history, assess the health of populations and individuals, and identify hot spots of marine mammal activity. This data is used to aid in creating more informed conservation regulations and initiatives. This was a great opportunity to practice in the field data collection in a unique setting. I loved getting to explore the ocean and learn more about marine biology and the importance of whales in our ecosystem. Furthermore, as a Boston native, I really enjoyed getting to learn more about local wildlife. I look forward to continuing to learn more about Stellwagen bank and the creatures that live there!