Jane Vinesky

“Interning with Whale Shark Mexico is an experience I would recommend to all students and early career scientists seeking to work in the world of marine conservation! The knowledge and experience I gained throughout the course of my experience has been priceless. In addition to field experience, we learned how a conservation organization functions in the office and surrounding community. A typical day as a Whale Shark Mexico intern began at the marina! Some days we conducted research with our Whale Shark Mexico team, and some days we brought guests along on citizen science expeditions. While in the field, we gathered environmental data (water temperature, wind speed, ect) and then we would look for sharks! A large part of the monitoring program relies on the data we gather on these research trips, so it was important to be as effective and thorough as possible. In the water with the sharks, we observed their feeding behaviors and their reactions to their surroundings. We took photos for photo identification, checked the gender of the shark, looked for lesions, and estimated their measurements. Whenever possible, we collected dorsal fin measurements!

Back at the office, we processed the data we collected in the field. We learned how to use scientific databases, analyze injuries, and organize the data into spreadsheets. My favorite part of learning how to process the data was the familiarity that came with it! It was amazing to learn about a shark in our database, and then see them in the field! Every single day was exciting, fulfilling, and wonderful.

When I began my internship, I had minimal field experience, and by the end was able to independently conduct research trips with the other interns- all thanks to the Whale Shark Mexico team! I have never had so much fun learning so much as I did throughout the course of my experience with Whale Shark Mexico.”