Dhigurah: Marine Biology in the Indian Ocean

Dhigurah is a small Maldivian island located 96 km southeast of Malé in the South Ari atoll. It is about 4 kilometers in length and 300 meters wide. Dhigurah holds a community of about 700 friendly locals and is surrounded by the electric blue of the Indian Ocean and rich coral reefs. The South Ari atoll is famous for the vibrant marine life that lives in its waters and for its scenic beauty.

Host Institution: The Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSRP) is a research-based conservation organization dedicated to studying the iconic and vulnerable whale shark and fostering community-focused conservation initiatives in the Maldives and the greater Indian Ocean. Through educating and training stakeholders throughout the islands, MWSRP has developed a strong regional network for "citizen-science" as an effective method of collecting valuable information on marine activity in the Maldives. Students interested in studying marine biology, whale sharks (and other marine life), eco-tourism, the impact of tourism on marine life or other related topics should apply. Students can develop a research project and/or help to further projects already in progress.

Mentor: Jim Hancock is the Operations Manager and a founding member of the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme. Jim began his Maldives association immediately after finishing his degree in Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology with the University of Plymouth, UK. He led a Royal Geographical Society sponsored expedition to the main whale shark aggregation site in 2006, the findings of which later became the backbone of the MWSRP's research objectives.

Note: Students conducting research with MWSRP will actively participate in whale shark data collection through daily field work on the waters. Participating students are required to have strong swimming skills and the ability to stand on a moving boat for long periods of time. Students should budget about $3,550 depending on currency fluctuation to cover the cost of a four-week stint with MWSRP (in addition to airfare and some local taxes-estimated to be about $1,500). SAC grants will not cover the full cost of this placement. Advanced students (masters and doctoral students) with developed skills and knowledge related to marine biology may be able to negotiate a lower rate with MWSRP upon request. If this is the case, please note your interest in your application.

Program Dates: Between June 1 - August 11

Program Length: 4 Weeks

Housing: Students will stay at TME retreats, a comfortable guest house located on Dhigurah (all meals included). 

Internships Available: for 4 students

APPLICATION DEADLINE January 24, 2020 @11:59PM.

APPLY here! For questions contact Amelia Carter, Assistant Director, at ameliaca@upenn.edu