Meet our Volunteers: Izzy Burns

I’m Izzy, I love cetaceans and I get to spend the next couple of months in Montenegro working, living and breathing dolphins (and mountain air!).

After graduating from the University of Exeter with a BSc in Zoology, I had a keen interest to gain experience in real research. My passion lies with marine mammals, being lucky enough to have seen cetaceans all around the world, but the increasing pressures humans are applying to the marine environment coupled with the tiny amount we know is terrifying and has advanced my interest into a future career.  

I already had some field experience through field courses such as to the Galapagos Islands and marine mammal surveys with the charity MARINE Life, but responsibilities had always ended after data collection. I therefore applied to become part of the MDR team to help ‘behind the scenes’ in an area where little has previously been done. Time is split between surveys and office work, so no week is ever the same! We do land surveys from Herceg Novi in the north and into Albania in the south, with each location having stunning views of the impressive mountainous scenery, even better on a morning survey watching the sunrise over the sea. When we’re not off finding dolphins, there’s a wealth of things to learn and do from data analysis to presentations in schools and beach cleans.
Working in a team consisting of such a variety of individuals of various ages, backgrounds and nationalities is brilliant with refreshing perspectives on ideas and projects and is key in disseminating our work effectively. From this internship I hope to go on to do a master’s and work towards a career in research or conservation, and I have learnt so much here to help me pursue this path.