[MARMAM] Marine Mammal Courses at Dolphin Research Center

Kirsten Donald kirsten at dolphins.org
Tue Oct 17 11:07:30 PDT 2006

Dolphin Research Center, a not-for-profit organization in the Florida Keys,
is happy to announce 4 weeklong, academically intensive, college level
courses in marine mammal science. These career-oriented programs are
conducted onsite in Grassy Key, Florida by individuals with over 30 years of
experience in the marine mammal field. Class size averages between twelve
and sixteen students to ensure individualized instruction.

DolphinLab surveys a wide range of information and issues concerning
dolphins, their environment and related subjects. Students are introduced to
DRC and its resident dolphin population, learning to respect each dolphin as
an individual through observation of their unique behavioral and physical
characteristics. The course includes a unique blend of seminars, observation
time, and hands-on activities. Class sizes average twelve to fourteen
students to ensure individualized instruction.

Seminars Include: Acoustics & Communication, Marine Mammal Conservation,
Coral Reef Ecology, Dolphin Cognition, Dolphin Physiology, Dolphin
Husbandry, Dolphin Training, Dolphin Maternity, Marine Mammal Law, Marine
Mammal Stranding, and Cognitive & Behavioral Research.

Students will also participate in: Observation Time, Research Workshop, a
Training Demonstration, Training Workshop, a Medical Demonstration and have
the opportunity to interact with the dolphins directly throughout the week.
Students may elect to receive college credit for attending DolphinLab

Cognitive & Behavioral Marine Mammal Research is part of our focused career
series DolphinLab programs. The course provides an in-depth, hands-on
immersion into the field of marine mammal science. This research- oriented
program surveys an extensive amount of knowledge, theories and ongoing
investigations concerning dolphins. By working with staff on actual research
studies, students gain a greater understanding of the cognitive abilities
and social behavior of these amazing animals, as well as deeper insight into
research concepts and methodology.

Seminar Topics & Focused Activities Include:
Dolphin Anatomy & Physiology, Marine Mammal Training Techniques,
Physiological & Behavioral Research, Marine Mammal Cognition, Marine Mammal
Research Law Requirements, Acoustics & Communication, Genetics, Research
Project Design, DRC’s Current Research, Career Pathways & Requirements

Students will also: assist staff in current research sessions, learn to
conduct independent observation sessions, participate in additional research
activities, observe Medical Demonstrations, participate in Informal
Discussions with Research Personnel
and enjoy opportunities to interact with the dolphins directly throughout
the week.

Marine Mammal Care and Basic Training is part of our focused career series
DolphinLab programs. This course focuses on husbandry care practices and
basic training methods associated with marine mammals in human care. This
physically rigorous, hands-on program is specifically designed for those
students seriously interested in pursuing a career in marine mammal care and
training. Primarily focused on the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, the course
also delves lightly into the care of sea lions and DRC’s rescue efforts with
the Florida manatee.

Seminar Topics Include: Dolphin Physiology, Marine Mammal Husbandry,
Introduction to Operant Conditioning & Marine Mammal Training Techniques,
Medical Care and Pathology of Marine Mammals, Marine Mammal Rescue &
Rehabilitation, Habitat Design & Maintenance, Pinniped Life
History/Physiology, Manatee Life History/Physiology

Students participate in a number of interactive activities, including
multiple training sessions down on the docks with the dolphins throughout
the week. Students experience diet preparation; how to feed, reinforce, and
maintain established behaviors.

Other Activities Include: Training Demonstration, Training & Reinforcement
Techniques Workshops, Pinniped demonstration, Medical behavior
demonstrations, Observation time, record keeping, assisting in husbandry
care, Q&A panel discussion with senior trainers on the differences in caring
for various marine mammals, as well as opportunities to interact with the
dolphins directly throughout the week.

Advanced Marine Mammal Training & Enrichment
After completing Marine Mammal Care and Basic Training, students may apply
for our Advanced Marine Mammal Training & Enrichment program. Advanced
Marine Mammal Training & Enrichment delves more deeply into the fields of
behavioral science, animal care and training. The course allows students to
build on the knowledge they acquired during the Marine Mammal Care & Basic
Training and begin focusing on training new behaviors, exploring animal
enrichment and contemplating more complex issues surrounding marine mammal

Seminars Include:
Operant Conditioning & Reinforcement Techniques Review, Advanced Principles
of Marine Mammal Training & Behavior Shaping, Behavior Chain Development,
Marine Mammal Enrichment, Medical Behavior Training, Dolphin Maternity Care,
Population Management, Pursuing a Career in Marine Mammal Training

Students will participate in daily sessions down on the docks with the
dolphins and implement a training plan they have developed to teach a new
behavior to a dolphin. Public speaking skills will also be developed as
students learn how to present dolphins and their training experiences to the
public. Students will also explore animal enrichment through directed
activities implemented with our dolphins and sea lions. Under the guidance
of our staff, students will create enrichment toys and activities for the
animals and present these activities and toys to the animals throughout the
week and observe the animals' reactions.

Other Activities Include: informal observation and interaction from the
training docks, record keeping, diet preparation, assisting in husbandry
care, daily dolphin & sea lion training demonstrations, daily discussions
with trainers about training progress, marine mammal enrichment workshops, a
panel discussion with senior members of our Animal Care and Training
department on interspecies differences in training.

Individual course fees include program activities, meals, and lodging.
College credit (undergraduate level) is available for the DolphinLab course
at an additional cost.

For more information check out our website, www.dolphins.org or (305)
289-1121 x225.

Kirsten Donald
Director of Education
Dolphin Research Center
"Over 20 Years of Teaching, Learning & Caring for Marine Mammals and the
Environment We Share"

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