[MARMAM] Dolphin Research: Volunteer Field Experience, Bimini, The Bahamas

Kelly Melillo Sweeting kmelillo at dolphincommunicationproject.org
Tue Apr 11 13:27:30 PDT 2017

Dolphin Communication Project (DCP) - Volunteer Field Experience
12 - 24 June 2017 
Bimini, The Bahamas 

The Dolphin Communication Project (DCP, www.dolphincommunicationproject.org) is currently seeking two "Volunteer Field Experience Participants" (VFEPs). These positions are completed entirely at our Bimini, The Bahamas field site and include both data collection and data processing responsibilities.

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. VFEPs will spend their time at our Bimini, The Bahamas, research site, where we study wild Atlantic spotted and bottlenose dolphins. An abbreviated publication list is available at the end of this post. 

--Travel to and assist our Bimini research site from 12 - 24 June 2017 (including arrival and departure days)
--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 entry and analysis tasks 
--Assist with on-board and outreach education as well as web-based projects 
--Represent DCP in an enthusiastic, responsible, mature and respectful manner 


Successful VFEPs 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 snorkeling skills. They will be able to work as a team both in a work-from-home atmosphere and in a fairly remote and isolated field setting. Good writing and public speaking skills are a must, as is attention to details. VFEPs must be at least 18 years of age. All participants must have a valid passport and non-US applicants should investigate Bahamas visa requirements prior to applying. 

Expenses and Compensation 

This is an unpaid, short-term volunteer position. VFEPs are responsible for their own transportation (generally by air) to Bimini. There is a $500.00 fee that will cover shared housing (on-island transportation not needed), including utilities and drinking water. Food is not included and is the responsibility of each VFEP.

Interested applicants should review information at this link: http://dolphincommunicationproject.org/index.php/get-involved/volunteer. Please read this page thoroughly before applying or emailing questions. 

Send a completed application (downloadable and detailed at the link above) to kelly at dcpmail.org. Note: the only supplementary materials required are cover letter, resume and one letter of recommendation. Applications will be accepted until the positions are filled. Due to field schedules, only electronic applications will be accepted. 

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 

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. 

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. 

Greene, W., Melillo-Sweeting, K., Dudzinski, K. 2011. Comparing object play in captive and wild dolphins. International Journal of Comparative Psychology 24(3):292-306. 

Dudzinski, KM, Gregg, JD, Melillo-Sweeting, K, Levengood, A, Seay, B., Kuczaj II, SA. 2012. Tactile contact exchanges between dolphins: self-rubbing versus inter-individual contact in three species from three geographies. International Journal of Comparative Psychology 25:21-43. 

Dudzinski, KM, Danaher-Garcia, N, Gregg, JD. 2013. Pectoral fin contact between dolphin dyads at Zoo Duisburg, with comparison to other dolphin study populations. Aquatic Mammals. 39(4): 335-343. 

Melillo-Sweeting, K, Turnbull, S and Guttridge, T. 2014. Evidence of shark attacks on Atlantic spotted (Stenella frontalis) and bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) off Bimini, The Bahamas. Marine Mammal Science. DOI: 10.1111/mms.12082 

Melillo-Sweeting, K., Yeater, D., Dudzinski, KM. 2015. Dolphin sightings near the coast of Bimini, The Bahamas, 2003 – 2013. Aquatic Mammals 41.3: 245-251. DOI: 10.1578/AM.41.3.2015.245. 

Kelly Melillo Sweeting 
Bimini Research Manager 
Dolphin Communication Project 

More information about the MARMAM mailing list