[MARMAM] phd research training class in aquatic animals

Magnus Wahlberg magnus at fjord-baelt.dk
Thu Jan 3 13:21:13 PST 2008

A Ph.D. Class on 

Research Training of Aquatic Animals



Many branches of biological research relies on trained animals under human care. Animal training thus fulfills a very important role in biological research, and appropriate training methodologies are crucial for obtaining and adequately interpreting data. This class is inteded for graduate students and trainers specializing in research training of aquatic animals. The first part of the class contains lectures and practical trials on basic training paradigms, such as classical conditioning and positive reinforcement. The second part deals with special training techniques for marine mammal and fish training. The students are exposed to lectures by some of the foremost experts in the world on animal training, as well as on very highly esteemed scientists whose research methods involve animal training. Lectures are combined with practical trials where the students train and try out various training methods under the supervision of the teachers.


When: Monday 2nd to Wednesday 11th of June, 2008

Where: Fjord&Bælt, Kerteminde, Denmark.

Funded by: The Nordic Marine Academy from the Nordic Research Council, and the Research Graduate School SNAK, University of Southern Denmark

Organized by: Magnus Wahlberg, Fjord&Bælt and University of Southern Denmark

Workload: 5 ECTS

Maximum number of students: 24

Fee: Students from Nordic countries free of charge including room and board, students outside this region will be charged 3.000 DKK for participation, including room and board.


Applications consisting of a maximum 1-page letter motivating why you want to be enrolled in this class, and a maximium 1-page C.V., should be emailed or posted to Magnus Wahlberg, Fjord&Bælt, Margrethes Plads 1, DK-5300 Kerteminde, Denmark, magnus at fjord-baelt.dk or magnus.wahlberg at biology.au.dk no later than 1st of March, 2008. Successful candidates will be notified by 15th of March, 2008. 



Björn Mauck (BM), Ph.D. and Professor, University of Southern Denmark

Colleen Reichmuth (CR), Ph. D. and Associate Professor, Long Marine Lab, Santa Cruz, USA

Ken Ramirez (KR), vice president, John G Shedd Aquarium, USA

Kirsten Andersen (KA), animal curator, Odense Zoo, Denmark

Mats Amundin (MA), Ph.D., chief Biologist, Kolmården, Sweden

Marie-Anne Blanchet (MAB), M.Sc., senior trainer, Fjord&Bælt, Denmark

Marlee Breese (MB), senior trainer, Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, USA

Paul Nacthigall (PN), Professor, Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, USA

Richard Fay (RF), Professor, Parmly Sensory Sciences Institute, USA


Schedule (still subject to major changes)

Students share rooms in hostel, where breakfast is served. Lunch and dinner is served on at the marine station.


Monday 2nd of June

9-10 MW -Welcome and general introduction

10-12 KR - Introduction to Training & Basic Conditioning

14-15 MB - Chicken Training Intro

15-17 KR - Basic Operant Conditioning Continued

20-21 MW - Tour around Fjord&Bælt


Tuesday 3rd of June

9-10 KR - Non-Formal interactions

10-11 MB - Chicken Training

11-12 KR - Cooperative Behavior Introduction

14-15 MB - Chicken Training

15-16 KR - Husbandry Training

16-17 MB - Chicken Training

20-21 Bertel Møhl and Søren Andersen: Origins of research training of marine mammals in Denmark


Wednesday 4th of June

9-11 KR - Advanced Operant Conditioning

11-12 MB- Chicken Training

14-16 KR - Advanced Operant Conditioning Continued

16-17 MB - Chicken Training

20-21 KA + MB: Harbour porpoise training at F&B


Thursday 5th of June

9-10 MB - Chicken Training

10-12 KR - Problem Solving

14-15 MB - Chicken Training

15-16 KR - Aggression

16-17 MB - Chicken Training


Friday 6th of June

9-10 MB - Chicken Training 

10-12 KR - Research Training (tied to previous lectures)

14-16 RF - Research Training

16-17 MB - Chicken Training


Saturday 7th of June

9-12 RF  - Training fish for psychophysical studies

14-18 KA - Tour to Odense Zoo

20- Dining at Skovbakken, Odense


Sunday 8th of June

9-10 MB + PN - Research training of dolphins

10-11 PN - Food deprivation and other controversial techniques

11-12 PN - Trainer and scientists team work, a historical perspective of do's and don'ts

14-17                    MB -  Chicken trainining

                             BM + MAB + MB: Harbour porpoise and harbour seal training demo

20-21 MAB + Kristian Beedholm: Porpoise hearing studies at F&B using ABR


Monday 9th of June

9-12 CR + BM - Research training of seals

14-16 Desensitization in marine mammal training

16-18 Training projects wrap-up

20-21 MA - Training Cetaceans for sound production studies


Tuesday 10th of June

Group evaluations including video observations of training sessions


Wednesday 11th of June

9-11 Sum-up discussion around training projects

11-12 MW + KA - Where do we go from here: a Nordic network on research training

12-13 Class evaluation and farewell

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