Citizen Science Volunteer Opportunities

These pages give more details about citizen science volunteer opportunities at Pacific Biodiversity Institute.

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Harbor Porpoise

Volunteers needed for Harbor Porpoise Monitoring Project

We have an ongoing need for volunteers for a marine mammal project in Anacortes.

Project Description: Pacific Biodiversity Institute is seeking volunteers for harbor porpoise observations and surveys at locations near Anacortes. This is a fun, outdoors activity in beautiful locations.

The historic range of the harbor porpoise has diminished dramatically in the last 60 years. Surveys of the population are done infrequently and there is not good data on the current status of the population. The harbor porpoise is currently listed as a Species of Concern in Washington and British Columbia. We are assessing the feasibility of using passive acoustic monitoring devices to track population status and trends of this species. See a discussion of our initiative on Marine Mammals in the Pacific Waters for a more complete description of this effort.

Location: Currently we are focused on the Burrows Pass area south of Fidalgo Island near Anacortes, in Washington State. We have an observation site in Washington Park. We would like land based observers for that site and for several other locations, who can commit to two observation sessions per month over a period of one year. Occasionally, we need volunteers to help with observations and handling instruments from a boat.

Duration: The project is ongoing.

Compensation: We may cover some of the travel expense, but given our limited budget, we give preference to volunteers who are able to cover their own travel expenses.

Optional Qualifications:

  • Strong interest in marine mammals.
  • Positive personality and self-motivated.
  • Good physical fitness is required to access most of the observation stations. We do have two sites that can be accessed by car.

Boat/Captain/Volunteer: Occasionally we need a boat to access moored acoustic monitors or to deploy hydrophones for special recordings. Please contact us if you:

  • Have a boat with an enclosed cabin suitable for operating computers and could take scientists and interns out to deploy acoustic monitors.
  • Have experience handling a 30 foot sailboat and could assist as crew.
  • Have a Zodiac boat that could be used.

Future work: After a period of observations from selected land-based stations we will initiate work involving mobile GIS and acoustical analysis. Interns interested in training and involvement in this work will be sought at a later date.

Please respond by email or by phone:

Aileen Jeffries, Senior Research Scientist
aileen (at)
phone: 509-996-2490

About Pacific Biodiversity Institute

The mission of Pacific Biodiversity Institute is to develop information and tools to conserve biodiversity and maintain ecological integrity. Central to this mission is sharing of these tools and provision of technical support to public agencies, educational institutions and other non-profit conservation organizations. We conduct scientific research in the fields of ecology, conservation biology and natural resource management. We also engage in a variety of educational activities including generation of ecological data and literature, the organization of scientific conferences and public symposia, and the development of educational materials for community level environmental education.

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PO Box 298, 517 Lufkin Lane
Winthrop, WA 98862 509-996-2490