Marine Mammal Study Group / Groupe d'Étude des Mammifères Marins (GEMM)

Volunteer with Whales and Dolphins in the French Polynesian islands!

Tiputa, French Polynesia, Oceania

GEMM (Marine Mammal Study Group) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of whales and dolphins in French Polynesia.

Volunteering Activities

Conservation Work

What We Need

We are looking for volunteers to help with observation, collection and archiving of data on a small community of bottlenose dolphins impacted by diving tourism in Rangiroa and humpback whales in Makatea.

When & Who

Between the end of June and mid October
Yes, we require a minimum of 1 Week
In order to manage efficiently the flow of volunteers, volunteering opportunities on the field have a set duration of 2 weeks. It is possible to volunteer on several sessions. Volunteering to help remotely (data analysis, etc.) is more flexible.
Individuals, Family with Kids, Groups

What we Provide

Scuba-diving equipment when needed.

Our Fees


The fee allows us to cover all expenses that are associated with your volunteering on the field for two weeks : accommodation, food, training, gear and equipment, insurances. Please note that this does not include transportation to and from French Polynesia.
Volunteering remotely is free.


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Contact Person

Pamela Carzon
B.P. 116, Tiputa, French Polynesia.
70% response rate

Additional Info about Us

Up to 5 people

Who we are ? GEMM ('Groupe d'Étude des Mammifères Marins' or 'Marine Mammal Study Group') is a non-profit organization based in French Polynesia. It is composed of biologists, naturalists, photographers, scuba divers and sailors caring about the future of marine wildlife.

What we do ? The action of GEMM is based on three principles: knowledge, conservation and mediation. Our situation, in the middle of the Pacific ocean, and our field vocation motivate us to carry out annual marine mammal surveys in sensitive or vulnerable areas. We are mainly working on problems related to the unframed development of marine mammal tourism and the conflicts between fishermen and cetaceans within the Marine Mammal Sanctuary of French Polynesia.

Where we work ? French Polynesia is located in the heart of the South Pacific Ocean and includes 5 archipelagoes scattered over an area of 5.5 million square kilometers. GEMM is based in Rangiroa (Tuamotu Archipelago). We also work in Makatea, an elevated atoll located south of Rangiroa and in the Society and Marquesas Islands. French Polynesia enjoys a very mild tropical climate and is equipped with modern infrastructures. No vaccinations are required to come and stay there.

Our mission / vision. Through our contribution to the conservation of marine mammals in French Polynesia, our mission is to preserve the natural functioning of animal populations in their ecosystems. Team members sharing our concern and goals join us from all countries to support our work or to train. We are working with them to ensure that wild marine mammals and their ecosystems are better known and respected.

Our goals. We work to improve the relationship between humans and wild animals.

Our long term study on the common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) community inhabiting Rangiroa waters focuses on the behavioral changes and risks related to close interactions between dolphins and scuba divers. We also lead global discussions on the excesses of animal tourism.

Our annual study on humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) allows us to identify individuals around Makatea Island and to test a non-invasive approach of animals or groups of animals, particularly mother and calf pairs which are particularly vulnerable to disturbing whale watching activities.

Our work on the existing conflicts between fishermen and marine mammals consists of identifying the species involved in depredation (mainly short-finned pilot whales, Globicephala macrorhynchus, and rough-toothed dolphins, Steno bredanensis) and proposing solutions that respect the well-being of whales, dolphins and fishermen.

Who are we looking for ? We are looking for committed people who are ready to support us in our missions and annual expeditions to monitor the health status of cetacean populations in the Sanctuary of French Polynesia.

Why choose us ? With GEMM, volunteers discover a new vision of wild marine mammals in exceptional settings. Among the highlights of our missions and expeditions are the animals on which we work, the sharing of our knowledge, the involvement of the participants in the individual recognition of the dolphins that we have been following for almost 10 years, the incredible scenery of the Tuamotu archipelago and the kindness of the inhabitants of Makatea.

What are you waiting for?

We at Marine Mammal Study Group / Groupe d'Étude des Mammifères Marins (GEMM) would love to hear from you!