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Johanne Wauters experience | 2024

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“I am a master’s student in marine biology, and I had the opportunity to complete a two-month internship at Mar Ilimitado during the spring of 2024. This placement was useful in enhancing my understanding of how a dolphin-watching company that also conducts scientific research operates.

Throughout my internship, I gained insight into the fundamental principles that support the Mar Ilimitado project. My primary responsibility involved maintaining a photo-identification catalogue for Risso’s dolphins. The company employs photo-identification as a core method for its scientific research, based on the idea that each cetacean’s dorsal fin is unique. The unique scars and marks present on each dorsal fin allowed me to identify the Risso’s dolphins observed throughout 2023.

In addition to this task, I had the opportunity to interact with the team, share experiences, and receive advice from other marine biologists. My favourite part of the internship was going out to sea to apply my data collection skills, and taking photos for the identification of the dolphins. This hands-on experience was incredibly enriching, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.”