[MARMAM] Sarasota Dolphin Research Program Internships - Summer 2013

Katie McHugh kmchugh at mote.org
Fri Feb 15 08:38:32 PST 2013

*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 
dolphin population. The program's primary 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 our Summer 
2013 internship program (a minimum of 10 weeks of participation during 
13 May -- 27 September, with applications due by March 15th).  
Typically, we select 2-6 interns per session.  We receive many more 
applications that we have openings -- the selection process is 
competitive.   The successful candidates will participate in at least 
two of the following research projects: 


1)      *Dolphin population monitoring project**:*  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 one to 
two weeks per month. Behavioral, location, individual, and environmental 
data will be recorded for each dolphin group. While in the lab (at least 
2 wks per month), work will generally involve photo-identification of 
dolphins, computer data entry, video logging, dolphin dorsal fin 
identification catalog maintenance, equipment maintenance and other 


2)      *Dolphin prey and habitat use project**:* This study will use 
the Sarasota dolphin community and fish populations to study 
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, collection of prey fish for energetic and stable 
isotope analysis, and collection of other environmental data. Interns 
generally participate in this project 2-3 days per month.


3)     *Acoustic methods of abundance estimation and effects of 
noise**:* In addition to the long term projects described above, a 
subset of interns will spend time primarily working on a graduate 
student field and lab project examining acoustic applications to marine 
mammal conservation. Other SDRP interns will rotate into this project as 
needed. This project involves the use of bottom-mounted acoustic 
recorders for two primary purposes: 1) to evaluate multiple methods of 
cetacean abundance estimation using recorded bottlenose dolphin 
whistles, and 2) to examine the effects of noise on dolphin whistles. 
Interns will assist with the deployment and retrieval of the recorders, 
playback experiments, focal follows of dolphins near recorders, acoustic 
analyses, data entry, and photo-ID. 


**If you are interested in working primarily on the acoustics project, 
please indicate this in your application by selecting "Sarasota Dolphin 
Research Program: Acoustics Project" as your first choice.  Note that 
this project has its own schedule and will either take place from 13 May 
-- mid July or from mid-June -- 15 Aug.**

4)      *Factors contributing to human-dolphin interactions:* 
/(TENTATIVE) /Interns may participate in focal dolphin behavioral 
observations aimed at investigating human-dolphin interactions 
contributing to unnatural foraging behaviors within the resident dolphin 
community in Sarasota Bay to update our understanding of factors 
contributing to human interactions and social dynamics of these behaviors.

Interns should expect to spend about 20% of their time in the field, and 
about 80% of their time in the lab working with data, or performing 
equipment maintenance.  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 

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 10-12 weeks working full time
      as a volunteer 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 <http://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 an email to SDRP Intern Coordinator (Katie McHugh, 
_kmchugh at mote.org_) stating your name, contact information, exact dates 
and duration of availability, where you learned about the internship 
opportunity (/e.g. /Mote, SDRP, Brookfield Zoo website, MARMAM, etc.), 
and that you have provided all application materials to the Mote intern 
office, as detailed above. 

All applications will be reviewed; those received by the application 
deadline of March 15^th will be given first priority. We are seeking 4-6 
interns for the summer, 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 <mailto:TUkmchugh at mote.orgUT>) in the SDRP with any 

Applicants applying because of an interest in possibly being involved in 
graduate studies with the SDRP should discuss their interests with 
Program Director Randall Wells upon acceptance into the program.

Katherine McHugh
Post-Doctoral Scientist
Sarasota Dolphin Research Program
Chicago Zoological Society
c/o Mote Marine Laboratory
1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy
Sarasota, FL 34236

(941) 388-4441 x450 office
(650) 400-2776 cell

kmchugh at mote.org

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