Ricardo Sagarminaga van BuitenMarine Biologist and Co-Founder of Alnitak

Anyone can be a guardian of the sea.


Research Expeditions in the Spanish Mediterranean

Join the crew on a marine expedition destined to monitor the Western Mediterranean’s iconic species, such as dolphins and marine turtles, as well as learn as much as possible first-hand about the threats that they face, like ghost fishing and plastic pollution. In 2024, our expeditions focus on the northern coast of Mallorca, where the Mediterranean meets the imposing Tramuntana mountain range, a World Heritage Site (UNESCO).

This is a truly immersive experience: you will live and work alongside us for a week, spending entire days at sea when the conditions allow, often above depths of over 1000 metres, a prime habitat for species such as striped and Risso’s dolphins or loggerhead turtles.

The marine species studied by Alnitak are legally protected by EU legislation and numerous other multilateral agreements. Still, there are significant knowledge gaps, plus a need to monitor management strategies. Even Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are only pieces of paper unless effective measures are in place, and these measures are constantly revised. Improvements are proposed based on data that teams such as Alnitak collect.

Our work contributes to our MEDTOP (Mediterranean Top Pelagics) database, collecting information on whales, dolphins, turtles, and human impacts since 1990. However, our primary focus is the “OASIS” project, which looks at sea turtle ecology, ghost gear presence and effects, and developing a sustainable fishing scheme alongside artisanal fishers.

Building knowledge on aquatic species and their threats will allow us to inform policymakers and reach out to stakeholders to find real-life solutions on a large scale.

On bad sea days, we will spend time at the “Can Canyelles” rustic house in the mountains nearby, for theoretical presentations, data entry, and improving the building so it can become an Alnitak base camp for years to come, among other activities.

Alnitak’s successful citizen science program has seen over 4000 volunteers, scientists and collaborators from 102 nations come on board and be a part of the quest for marine conservation that began in 1989. In 2024, you can add your contribution to this ongoing mission.

Endeavour for the Protection of Dolphins, Whales and Sea Turtles

OceanCare endeavours to improve the management and conservation status of dolphins, whales and sea turtles in the Mediterranean and, therefore, cooperates with Spanish partner organisation Alnitak’s programs.

This 2024, Alnitak is looking for interested lay volunteers who wish to actively participate in research and conservation.

Dates and cost participation

Participation cost covers Alnitak membership and includes living on site in Can Canyelles, time and costs associated with conducting research, three meals a day included, and all the training required.

We welcome those who have never experienced working at Sea, and practically any age. Expect early starts and some moderate physical work – this isn’t a pleasure cruise!

Course language: English as a first language, Spanish as a second.

For further information and registration, please contact Alnitak directly.

Programme info & booking