Mediterranean expeditions with the Research Institute Alnitak

Mediterranean expeditions with the Research Institute Alnitak

An absolutely fantastic project, Alnitak Research Institute is a Spanish non-profit organisation that combines a passion for cultural maritime heritage with a strong will to preserve the Oceans. In 1989 Alnitak restored the historical fishing boat Toftevaag with the purpose of developing science and education programs. Mediterranean expeditions with the Research Institute Alnitak

Above all it is a platform to bring people of all kind together to work on common goals. At present, they sail the Mediterranean Sea conducting different projects and citizenscience expeditions.

The goals

  • Survey marine garbage, ilegal fishing, ghost gear, and how it affects wildlife. Thanks to this research, we hope to identify aggregation sites and also production areas.
  • Survey top pelagics: dolphins, turtles, whales and more. With a focus on loggerhead turtles and Risso’s dolphins, but also collaborating actively with partners monitoring fin whales, sperm whales, and more. In terms of turtles, we use satellite transmitters to collect vital data, implementing the Stanford University / National Geographic – Tag a Giant vision.
  • Monitor MPAs (marine protected areas) and strategies such as the marine traffic separation scheme off Almería which was implemented to reduce ships strikes. Many times, marine protected areas only exist on paper, and its up to groups like us to go out there and basically check what is actually being done.

The Oasis Project

These projects are supported by and in partnership with US Fish and Wildlife, NOAA, Stanford University, OceanCare, Reina Sofía Foundation, SOCIB, Ecoembes, and others.

As opposed to other volunteer opportunities where the contribution and involvement is limited, this one is “immersive” (you have been warned): you live on board the ship, everyone from the captain to yourself has shifts in cooking, cleaning, etc., you are trained to take scientific data, can use our equipment on board such as hydrophone and cameras, and quite frankly, we tend to forget who is volunteering and who is crew

Every expedition is different, some with better weather than others, some with surprises (such as a white shark sighting in 2019 – you never know what will happen out in the open water), and every volunteer leaves his or her mark behind. Some enjoy the experience so much that they return yearly.

Mediterranean expeditions with Research Institute Alnitak
Mediterranean expeditions with Research Institute Alnitak

For much more information on how to get involved check out both the facebook page and the website of the Research Institute Alnitak

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