STEM Week is Oct. 16-20 – See activities and add your own!

Jobs & Internships


Aerial Observer

Center for Coastal Studies

Aerial Observer

The Center for Coastal Studies seeks an Aerial Observer for the Right Whale Ecology Program. Observers will be flying surveys to assess the abundance, distribution, and conservation status and behavior of North Atlantic right whales in Cape Cod Bay and adjacent waters. Rate of pay is $50k-$55k commensurate with experience. Primary Responsibilities:

  • Participate in right whale aerial surveys by rotating through the three positions: observer/data recorder, observer/photographer, and ground contact;
  • Process aerial survey data: entering and proofing data recorded during surveys, completing effort and sightings data tables, photo-analysis and photo-identification of individuals, updating in-house identification catalog, and prepare data for submissions to the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium;
  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge and identification of current entanglement cases and photography protocols, as well as the right whale individuals of interest;
  • Assisting program director, data manager, and/or flight coordinator with relevant projects;
  • Participation in vessel cruises and assisting interns;
  • Writing field notes to be included on the CCS website and social media platforms;
  • Finalizing data entry and photo analysis from previous field seasons.
  • Excellent attention to detail, memory retention, and organization skills;
  • Proficient with DSLR cameras in a variety of lighting conditions;
  • Experience in species-identification of marine mammals, particularly in the Northwest Atlantic;
  • Demonstrated knowledge of photo-identification of individuals;
  • Computer literacy and working knowledge of Microsoft Office programs (Excel, Word, PowerPoint);
  • Must work well in a team. Field hours can be long and the winter fieldwork conditions are cold and often uncomfortable;
  • Ability to work in small aircraft for up to 9 hours per day with continual focus;
  • Must not suffer from air sickness.
  • Previous aerial survey and/or right whale experience;
  • Working knowledge of R, iMatch, and/or Mysticetus software;

Minimum Requirements:

Preferred Qualifications:

B.A. or Biology, Ecology, Fisheries Science or related field;

  • Aircraft underwater egress training is desired but not required. Ditch Training with the use of compressed air will be required to conduct work and is part of the CCS Right Whale Training.
  • Enthusiasm, a sense of humor, attention to detail and willingness to learn.

Flights are scheduled between one and four surveys weekly throughout the field season, occasionally on back-to-back days. Observers are sometimes required to work on weekends and holidays, often for long hours in a small aircraft and/or aboard a research vessel.

Application process: Please submit your cover letter, CV/Resume and the contact information for three references via email in PDF format to with the subject line Aerial Observer. Application deadline is June 30, 2023 and applicants will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

The Center for Coastal Studies is an Equal Opportunity Employer

and encourages candidates of all backgrounds to apply.

Diversity of opinions, experience, and backgrounds is a key asset.

Aerial Observer needed for the Right Whale Ecology Program at the Center for Coastal Studies.