[MARMAM] Wild Bottlenose Dolphin Research Internship

kmchugh at mote.org kmchugh at mote.org
Tue Jul 20 06:59:25 PDT 2010

Sarasota Dolphin Research Program Internships

The Chicago Zoological Society’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program (SDRP),
based at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida, conducts the world’s
longest-running study of a wild dolphin population.  The program’s goal is
to contribute to a better understanding of the structure and dynamics of
populations of small cetaceans, as well as the natural and anthropogenic
factors that impact them.  The SDRP uses an interdisciplinary and
collaborative approach in conducting studies of bottlenose dolphins within
Sarasota Bay, Tampa Bay, Charlotte Harbor, and the Gulf of Mexico coastal
waters.  For more information about the SDRP, please visit:

The SDRP is in the process of selecting volunteer interns for the
Winter/Spring 2011 internship program (a minimum of 10 weeks of
participation during 3 January – 13 May).  The successful candidates will
participate in at least two research projects:

1) Dolphin population monitoring project (approx 80% time)

This study will continue to monitor the resident bottlenose dolphin
community in Sarasota Bay.  Duties in the field will include assisting
with boat-based photographic identification surveys for dolphin groups. 
Behavioral, location, individual, and environmental data will be recorded
for each dolphin group.  While in the lab, work will generally involve
photo-identification of dolphins, computer data entry, dolphin dorsal fin
identification catalog maintenance, equipment maintenance and other

2) Dolphin prey and habitat use project (approx. 20% time)

This study will use the Sarasota dolphin community and fish populations to
study predator-prey interactions and energetics, specifically helping us
to understand relationships between distributions of dolphins and their
prey and factors that affect fish community ecology, such as red tide. 
While in the field, work will involve sampling of fish communities through
purse seining techniques, collections of prey fish for energetic and
stable isotope analysis, and collection of other environmental data.

There is no compensation for these internship positions, and successful
applicants will be responsible for their own living and transportation
expenses during the time of the internship.  Shared housing opportunities
near Mote Marine Laboratory may be available (cost: $85/week).   A few
scholarships are available from Mote Marine Laboratory through a
competitive application process (US citizens only).

Applicants would ideally have the following qualifications:
• Minimum of 18 years of age and engaged in or recently completed
undergraduate studies;
• A background or degree in Biology, Marine Biology, Ecology, Zoology or a
related field;
• Basic computer proficiency in Microsoft Office programs (especially
Excel and Access);
• Some field research experience preferred but not required;
• Must be able to swim;
• Enthusiasm and desire to learn a variety of field and lab based research
• A willingness to spend a minimum of 2-3 months working full time with
our program.

To apply for a Sarasota Dolphin Research Program internship, interested
persons should:

1) Fill out an application form by at Mote Marine Laboratory’s website
(www.mote.org/interns).  Be sure to select “Sarasota Dolphin Research
Program” as your first choice;

2) Complete and provide to Mote’s intern office all other application
materials including: a statement of interest, current college transcript,
letter of recommendation, and curriculum vitae;

3) Send a brief email to the SDRP’s Intern Coordinator (Katie McHugh,
kmchugh at mote.org) stating your name, contact information, exact dates and
duration of availability and that you have provided all of your
application materials to the Mote intern office, as detailed above.

All applications will be reviewed; those received by September 15th will
be given first priority.  We are seeking 2-3 interns for the Winter/Spring
of 2011, depending on scheduling. Applicants may contact Katie McHugh
(941-388-4441 ext. 375, kmchugh at mote.org) in the SDRP with any questions.

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