[MARMAM] Dolphin Research Internships - Summer 2011

Kel Melillo Sweeting kelly at dcpmail.org
Mon Jan 3 17:32:31 PST 2011

Dolphin Communication Project (DCP) - Volunteer Research Assistants/Interns - Summer 2011


Connecticut, USA and Bimini, The Bahamas


The Dolphin Communication Project (DCP, www.dolphincommunicationproject.org) is currently seeking two interns for the summer of 2011. These internships have both field and office components, both of which are mandatory, and total 8-12 weeks, depending on DCP's schedule.


DCP looks at how dolphins communicate and attempts to shed more light on the meaning of their interactions. With research ongoing since 1991, our questions focus primarily on communication and behavior among dolphins. As a team, DCP research scientists study four groups of dolphins in three countries. Interns are needed at our Bimini, Bahamas research site, where we study wild Atlantic spotted and bottlenose dolphins. An abbreviated publication list is available at the end of this post.



In the field:

¨       Travel to and assist for 3-4 weeks at our Bimini research site (exact dates TBD, likely beginning mid-July, following the office component)

¨       Assist gathering data (general observations, photographs) during 4-6 hour/day boat excursions (weather and schedule dependent)

¨       Complete photo-identification of dolphins from still photography and video as well as other data analysis tasks

¨       Assist with on-board and outreach education as well as web-based projects

¨       Represent DCP in a responsible, mature and respectful manner


At the office:

¨       Travel to and assist office staff for 4-6 weeks at our Connecticut office (exact dates TBD, likely prior to field component, beginning approximately 1 June)

¨       Process and analyze data, including, but not limited to: photo-identification of individuals from other DCP research sites, conducting detailed focal follows from video data for behavioral analyses, and acoustic analysis of dolphin sounds 

¨       Assist in the development and implementation of education programs for schools and the general public



Successful interns must have basic computer skills and working knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Current enrollment in a degree-seeking program, background in science and/or animal behavior and experience on boats and/or with photo-identification are all desired, but not necessarily required. The successful candidates will be comfortable on a boat for several hours at a time in varying conditions, including extreme heat. They will also be proficient swimmers with the desire to improve free-diving skills. They will be able to work as a team both at the office and in a fairly remote and isolated field setting. Good writing and public speaking skills are a must, as is attention to details. Interns must be at least 18 years of age.


Expenses and Compensation

This is an unpaid internship. Interns are responsible for their own transportation to Bimini and Connecticut. There is a $1,000.00 fee which will cover expenses in the field, including room and partial board. Room, board and transportation while in Connecticut are the responsibility of the intern, although assistance in securing this may be available. 


Interested applicants should review information at this link: http://tinyurl.com/DCPinternship. Interested applications should read this page thoroughly before applying. 


Send a completed application (downloadable and detailed at the link above) to kelly at dcpmail.org.  Applications are due 4 February 2011. Due to field schedules, only electronic applications will be accepted. Interviews (via telephone or Skype) will be arranged for selected candidates. 


For more information, please contact Kelly Melillo-Sweeting at kelly at dcpmail.org.



Selected Refereed Publications:

(for a full list of publications by DCP researchers, please visit: 




Dudzinski, K.M., Clark, C.W., Würsig, B. 1995. A mobile video/acoustic system for simultaneously recording dolphin behavior and vocalizations underwater. Aquatic Mammals 21(3): 187-193.


Dudzinski, K.M. 1998. Contact behavior and signal exchange among Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis). Aquatic Mammals 24(3): 129-142.


Dudzinski, K.M., M. Sakai, M., Masaki, K., Kogi, K., Hishii, T., Kurimoto, M. 2003. Behavioral observations of adult and sub-adult dolphins towards two dead bottlenose dolphins (one female and one male). Aquatic Mammals 29(1): 108-116. 


Gregg, J.D., Dudzinski, K.M., Smith, H.V. 2007. Do dolphins eavesdrop on the echolocation signals of conspecifics? International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 20: 65-88 


Paulos, R.D., Dudzinski, K.M., Kuczaj, S.A. 2008.  The role of touch in select social interactions of Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis) and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus). Ethology 26: 153-164.


Dudzinski, K.M., Thomas, J. Gregg, J.D. 2008. Communication. In (W.F. Perrin, B. Würsig, H.C.M. Thewissen, eds) Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals, second edition. Academic Press, Inc.


Dudzinski, K.M., Gregg, J.D., Ribic, C.A., Kuczaj, S.A. 2009. A comparison of pectoral fin contact between two different wild dolphin populations. Behavioural Processes, 80:182-190 


Melillo, K.E., Dudzinski, K.M., Cornick, L.A. 2009. Interactions between Atlantic spotted (Stenella frontalis) and bottlenose (Tursiops truncatus) dolphins off Bimini, The Bahamas, 2003-2007. Aquatic Mammals, 35:281-291


Dudzinski, K.M., Gregg, J.D., Paulos, R.D., Kuczaj, S.A. 2010. A comparison of pectoral fin contact behaviour for three distinct dolphin populations. Behavioural Processes, 84: 559-567.



Kelly Melillo Sweeting
Bimini Research Manager
Dolphin Communication Project
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