[MARMAM] Bottlenose Dolphin Photo-Id Research Internship

Jessica Weiss jessarah19 at yahoo.com
Wed Dec 29 18:12:38 PST 2010

Bottlenose Dolphin Photo-ID Research Internship for 2011

The Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research (OBXCDR)/Nags Head Dolphin Watch is currently accepting applications for the 2011 summer season. Two internship positions are available. The research season is May 15 – September 30. Successful applicants must be able to commit through the end of August.

The Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research is a 501 c(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of bottlenose dolphins in the Outer Banks, NC. Our program’s goal is to gain an understanding of the population size, movement patterns, and behavioral ecology of coastal bottlenose dolphins in the sounds and coastal waters near the Outer Banks. The OBXCDR currently conducts a photo-identification monitoring study of bottlenose dolphins in Roanoke, Croatan, Albemarle, Pamlico and Currituck Sounds. Data is collected via dedicated small boat surveys as well as opportunistically from a local dolphin watch. This study is a continuation of the long-term study initiated by the Nags Head Dolphin Watch in 1997. Information from the current long-term study will provide a basis for initiation of studies involving habitat utilization, social associations, and anthropogenic effects on the dolphins. Interns will gain experience in field data collection,
 photo-identification of dolphins in the field/lab, and environmental education. For more information about the OBXCDR, please visit: obxdolphins.org

The internship position will consist of field research, photo-identification, and environmental education. Responsibilities include:

•   Photo-identification of dolphins in the lab, including photo sorting, grading, and matching, sighting data entry, assist in maintenance of long-term photo-id catalog using the MS Access database FinBase

•   Mate/naturalist duties aboard a local dolphin watch, including educating the general public on dolphins and the sound/marine environment, collecting opportunistic photo-id data, and additional mate duties

•   Assisting with boat-based photo-identification surveys of bottlenose dolphins, including operating small vessel during surveys, collecting environmental, location, and behavioral data for dolphin groups

This internship is a paid position. Applicants will receive an hourly salary for performing ecotours on the dolphin watch.  This internship requires a minimum of 30 hours per week, consisting of ecotours, dedicated field surveys, and lab photo-identification. Each intern will conduct mate/naturalist duties and opportunistic photo-id aboard the Nags Head Dolphin Watch for 2-3 days per week throughout the field season. The remaining time will be spent aboard field surveys and building the photo-identification catalog in the lab. 

Housing:  Although housing is not provided, we will assist you in finding housing accommodations in the Outer Banks. Interns are responsible for their own transportation to and from the Outer Banks as well as to and from the field site.

The successful applicant would ideally have the following qualifications:

•   Minimum of 18 years of age and currently or recently enrolled in a college-level program in marine biology, biology, zoology, or related field
•   Strong interest in the marine environment and conservation
•   Ability to swim
•   Basic computer proficiency in MS Office Access
•   Enthusiasm, attention to detail, responsible, and works well on a team
•   Field research/small boat operation experience preferred but not required
•   First AID/CPR certification preferred but not required

NOTE: The United States Coast Guard requires all passenger vessels to be drug free work environments. In order to work aboard the dolphin ecotours, the intern will be required to pass a pre-employment drug test and to participate in random drug testing during the period of the research season.

Application Process:

Please submit cover letter, resume, and contact information for 3 references via email to:obxcdr at hotmail.com Use “Dolphin photo-id internship” in the subject line of the email. All applications will be reviewed; those received by February 15th will be given priority.

Jessica Weiss Taylor, Scientific Advisor
Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research
7517 Virginia Dare Trail
Nags Head, NC 27959


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