[MARMAM] Wild Bottlenose Dolphin Research Internship

Katie McHugh kmchugh at mote.org
Tue Feb 15 06:11:43 PST 2011

*Sarasota Dolphin Research Program Internships*

The Sarasota Dolphin Research Program (SDRP), a partnership led by the 
Chicago Zoological Society and 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: www.sarasotadolphin.org.

The SDRP is in the process of selecting volunteer interns for our Summer 
2011 internship program (a minimum of 10 weeks of participation during 
23 May – 23 September). 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 duties.

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 methods;
• 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 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 March 15th will be 
given first priority. We are seeking 4-6 interns for the summer of 2011, 
depending on scheduling. These are competitive positions - we typically 
receive many more applications than we can accept. Applicants may 
contact Katie McHugh (941-388-4441 ext. 450, kmchugh at mote.org) in the 
SDRP with any questions.

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