[MARMAM] CDOC Project Field Course

Kayla Causey klabeth at mac.com
Thu Mar 14 15:20:59 PDT 2013

The Coastal Dolphins of Orange County (CDOC) Project is accepting applications for its 2013 summer and fall field courses. The field course is based out of Newport Beach, CA and will involve a commitment of approximately 20 hours per week extending over a 12-week period from June 3 - August 23, 2013 (summer course) and September 2 - November 22, 2013 (fall course). There is some flexibility in these start and end dates. The program offers an excellent opportunity for qualified and motivated individuals to obtain field and laboratory training in behavioral, acoustic, and photo-id methodology and analyses under the mentorship of experienced dolphin researchers.


Program participants will receive training in three broad areas of dolphin research:  1) fieldwork, 2) laboratory work, and 3) literature research/seminar.  Fieldwork includes photo-identification, behavioral sampling, and acoustic sampling (including passive acoustic monitoring of marine mammals). Fieldwork will involve both shore- and boat-based data collection and observation, although most participants spend about 75% of their time collecting data from shore and 25% from the boat. Laboratory work will provide participants training in how to build and maintain a digital photo-identification catalog using ACDSee and fin-identification software, analysis of digitized acoustic data using signal processing software (e.g., Canary), and entry and analysis of behavioral data using SPSS, Excel, and R software. Weekly seminars will provide participants the opportunity to discuss relevant scientific research articles, receive instruction on methodology and theory related to dolphin research, and present research on their own topic of interest relevant to the project. In addition, local experts lead guest seminars on a variety of topics, including marine mammal veterinary medicine, stranding and rehabilitation, acoustic analysis, and communication in cetaceans.


Program activities are closely tied to the working schedule of the CDOC Project, which operates on a seven day-a-week basis. Program participants will work under the immediate supervision of Dr. Kayla Causey, Director of the CDOC Project. During a typical week, students can expect to spend about three days (~3 hours per day) collecting data in the field, one evening (about 3-hours) in seminar, and a combination of two afternoons or mornings (~8 hours total) working in the lab. In addition, students should allot time to complete assigned readings and prepare for the week’s seminar discussion.


The field course is structured around the goals of the CDOC Project, which include understanding the behavior, distribution, and social ecology of Pacific Coast Common Bottlenose Dolphins, Tursiops truncatus. For more information about the project, please visit www.kaylacausey.com/CDOC_Project.


The fee for the three-month field course is $1000, payable to Cal State Fullerton Philanthropic Foundation. Fees are tax-deductible. Course participants will be responsible for their own living expenses and transportation to and from the field site in Newport Beach and California State University Fullerton. The course may be repeated three times in succession (i.e., one year).


The CDOC Project Field Course is intended to provide a mentored training opportunity for a small and select group of applicants.  Ideal candidates will be advanced undergraduates or recent graduates of a scientifically-oriented university program in marine science, biology, comparative psychology, or a related field.  Preference will be given to applicants with well-developed computer skills and boating experience. It is expected that most applicants will pursue the CDOC Project Field Course as part of their general academic preparation for graduate work in cetacean science or animal behavior.  Unlike many other marine mammal internships, we have designed our course to serve as a scholarly endeavor. Our goal in structuring the program is to provide an experience for advanced students that will compliment their undergraduate course work and provide them with the "hands on" experience that many graduate advisors look for in potential graduate students.


To apply, please send a letter of interest including a brief biographical sketch, a fairly detailed description of the applicant’s academic history and any considerations such as special skills, experiences, and interests that would assist in the selection process. The letter should also indicate the applicant’s preferred semester (Summer or Fall) and any time constraints associated with participation. Interested applicants should email materials to Kayla Causey at KCausey at fullerton.edu. Please also have two letters of recommendation sent from professors or research supervisors who are familiar with the applicant’s scholarship, research skills, and work habits relevant to the internship. We anticipate filling the summer course by April 30, 2013. Applications for the fall course should be submitted no later than July 1, 2013.

Kayla Causey, PhD
Director, Coastal Dolphins of Orange County (CDOC) Project
Lecturer, Department of Psychology, CSU Fullerton
Board member, Gray Whale Foundation
alternate email: kcausey at fullerton.edu

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