[MARMAM] Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute - Summer/Fall Internships - Last call

Bruno Diaz b_d_r_i at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 26 12:19:15 PST 2013

Hi everyone,

on behalf of the Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute (BDRI) on Sardinia Island, Italy, I am pleased to announce that we are accepting internship applications to fill the vacancies for the Summer-Fall term 2013 (a minimum of 60 days of participation).

BDRI's research is focused on a long term study about the ecology and behaviour of wild unrestrained bottlenose dolphins, distribution of other cetaceans (whales and pelagic dolphins), and the potential effects of human activities (fisheries, aquaculture and tourism) in their distribution and behaviour. 

An internship period with the BDRI offers an invaluable exposure to boat based field work,marine mammals research, intensive training and mentoring in marine biology. Undergraduate and postgraduate students could present their BDRI's personal research project as their Thesis works if requested with the application. Internships will be under direct supervision of BDRI's director Mr. Bruno Diaz Lopez. 

The internship can be used for academic or vocational purposes, but students are solely responsible for making all arrangements for receiving relevant credit(s) as a result of completing the internship.

Interns can expect to participate in and learn a variety of facets of marine mammal research as research assistants in all four diverse research projects:

1. Behavioural ecology of Mediterranean bottlenose dolphins: We collect information about distribution and behaviour of free-ranging common bottlenose dolphins from boat based platforms. By using different behavioural sampling methods this study is particularly focused in the interaction of dolphins with human activities as fisheries, aquaculture and marine traffic. These studies provide values insight for the conservation of this top predator in an area characterized by high anthropogenic pressure.

2. Wild bottlenose dolphins’ communication: We obtain knowledge of how individuals within a population of common bottlenose dolphins communicate and what they are communicating. This can generate information ranging from; measures of habitat use, social relevance, geographical variation, cultural transmission to genetic fitness that can be applied to conservation.

3. The cetacens role in the coastal ecosystem: An ecosystem modelling approach becomes an interesting tool to examine the impact of fisheries and human activities (aquaculture, marine traffic) on cetaceans and vice versa. Mass-balance models are built to characterize the role of cetaceans in a coastal and pelagic ecosystem conditioned by human activities.

4. Pelagic cetaceans off the Sardinian coast: Data about distribution of pelagic cetaceans (fin whales, sperm whales, beaked whales, striped dolphins, common dolphins, risso’s dolphins etc.) are collected from multiple platforms including shore and boat based platforms. The behaviour and distribution of large cetaceans observed off Sardinia is still unknown. While some animals could be in migration between the Ligurian and Thyrrenian Sea, others could be mainly engaged in foraging activities. To address this and other questions the BDRI has since 2011 carried out this project.

There is no compensation for these internship positions and successful applicants will be responsible for their own transportation expenses to and from the research camp (Sardinia, Italy). As a number of students are unemployed and are unable to meet our program, BDRI offers accommodation for participants and has developed a financial aid to support some of them. 

There is no deadline to apply. However, approved applications are accepted on a first-come, first serve basis. Apply early! Start and end dates are flexible. Positions are open until filled. Successful candidates should be ready to work, self-motivated and flexible. Prior field research experience is recommended but not required.

Please download the internships general information and application form at:



Send the application form and cover letter by email to the BDRI, at info at thebdri.com. 

Selected scientific publications by the BDRI:

1. Diaz Lopez B., 2012. Bottlenose dolphins and aquaculture: interaction and site fidelity on the north-eastern coast of Sardinia (Italy). Marine Biology, DOI 10.1007/s00227-012-2002-x

2. Diaz Lopez B.  Mariño, F., 2011. A trial of acoustic harassment device efficacy on free-ranging bottlenose dolphins in Sardinia, Italy. Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology 2011, pp 44(4):197-208.

3. Diaz Lopez B., 2011. Aquaculture systems. In: Handbook of Models used in Ecosystem and Environmental Management, Sven Erik Jørgensen (Ed.), CRC Press, Taylor & Francis, FL.pp 241-256.

4. Diaz Lopez B., 2011. Whistle characteristics in free-ranging bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Mediterranean Sea: influence of behaviour. Mammalian Biology 76: 180-189.

Diaz Lopez, B. & Shirai, J.A.B., 2010. Mediterranean common bottlenose dolphin's repertoire and communication use. In: Dolphins: Anatomy, Behavior, and Threats, (A.G. Pierce & L. Correa Eds.), Nova Science Publishers, New York. Pp 129 -148.

Diaz Lopez, B., 2009. The bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus foraging around a fish farm: Effects of prey abundance on dolphins' behaviour. Current Zoology 55(4):243-248.

Diaz Lopez, B., Bunke, M. and Shirai, J.A., 2008. Marine aquaculture off Sardinia Island (Italy): ecosystem effects evaluated through a trophic mass-balance model. Ecological Modelling 212: 292-303.

Diaz Lopez, B. and Shirai, J.A., 2008. Marine aquaculture and bottlenose dolphins social structure.Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology 62 (6): 887-894.

Diaz Lopez, B., Shirai, J.A.B., Bilbao Prieto, A. & Méndez Fernández, P., 2008. Diving activity of a solitary wild free ranging bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). Journal Marine Biological Association of U.K 88, Special Issue 06: 1153-1157.

Diaz Lopez, B & Bernal Shirai, J.A.B., 2007. "Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) presence and incidental capture in a marine fish farm on the north-eastern coast of Sardinia (Italy)" Journal of Marine Biological Association of U.K 87: 113 – 117.

Diaz Lopez, B., 2006. "Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) Predation on a Marine Fin Fish Farm: Some Underwater Observations". Aquatic Mammals 32 (3): 305 – 310.

Diaz Lopez, B., 2006. "Interactions between Mediterranean bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and gillnets off Sardinia". ICES Journal of Marine Science 63: 944-951.

Diaz Lopez, B., Marini, L. and Polo, F. 2005. The Impact of a fish farm on a Bottlenose dolphin population in the Mediterranean Sea. Thalassas 21(1):53-58.

Bruno Diaz Lopez 
Chief Researcher / Marine Zoologist 
Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute BDRI 
V.Armando Diaz Nº4 07020 Golfo Aranci (SS) Italy 
info at thebdri.com  
tel.+ 39 346 081 5414
tel. + 0789 183
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