[MARMAM] Undergraduate & Postgraduate Thesis Opportunities

Bruno Diaz Lopez bruno at thebdri.com
Wed Oct 23 08:10:50 PDT 2019

On behalf of the Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute (BDRI) <http://www.thebdri.com/>, I am pleased to announce that we are currently accepting applications for our Undergraduate and Postgraduate Work Placement Programme 2020.

Our work placement programme aims to prepare students for a professional career in the research of marine mammals, and conservation of the marine environment. The BDRI offers a limited number of independent studies to advanced undergraduate and graduate students (bachelor and master students). Highly motivated bachelor and master students in the fields of zoology, marine biology, veterinary and related disciplines are invited to apply for a research placement at the BDRI.

We do not confer degrees but rather provide a research environment including a fully equipped and staffed laboratory, accommodation, and training in the field under the mentorship of experienced marine scientists. The BDRI offers to the students the chance to work through the many steps of research, collecting the data on the field, thesis co-supervision and analysis of the data at the lab.

The main research topics of the 2020 BDRI research season will include marine mammal ecology, ethology, ecological modelling and bioacoustics (on cetaceans), as well as marine birds and otters ecology. 

Lasting between one and nine months, there’s a variety of research projects that will help you explore what you may want to do long term. With state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, participants will be trained to get involved with multiple research projects involving a combination of boat-based surveys onboard research vessels, land-based observations, laboratory work (photo-identification, GIS, bioacoustics, diet analysis, diving behaviour, video analysis, database work, etc). 

BDRI 2020 thesis topics (non exhaustive list):

1. Behavioural budget of bottlenose dolphins 
2. Determining critical areas (foraging/nursing grounds) for cetaceans*
3. Anthropogenic-induced behavioural changes of cetaceans*
4. Diving behaviour of cetaceans*
5. Impact of marine traffic on cetaceans diving behaviour*
6. Social structure of bottlenose dolphins
7. Whistle production and characteristics in resident bottlenose dolphins
8. Acoustic communication and associated behaviour of bottlenose dolphins
9. Impact of marine traffic on bottlenose dolphin sound production
10. Using GIS to identify suitable sites for marine protected areas for cetaceans/marine birds*
11. Cetaceans distribution and use of habitat*
12. Bottlenose dolphins’ habitat preferences 
13. Harbour porpoises’ distribution and habitat use
14. Common dolphins’ distribution and habitat use
15. Impact of human activities (aquaculture, fisheries or marine traffic) on cetacean distribution*
16. Spatio-temporal distribution of marine birds*
17. Co-occurrence of cetaceans and marine birds*
18. Marine debris and dolphins’ distribution*
19. Influence of environmental variables on cetaceans’ distribution*
20. Modelling cetaceans/marine birds’ habitat and distribution*
21. Determining the importance of cetaceans in marine ecosystems through the use of mass-balance models*
22. Abundance estimations of cetacean species using mark-recapture techniques*
23. Distribution of blue sharks 
24. Environmental drivers of cetaceans/marine birds/sharks’ distribution*
25. Abundance and description of body marks in cetaceans*
26. Occurrence of anthropogenic body marks in cetaceans*
27. Diet of the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) in a coastal ecosystem

Data are collected on wild cetaceans, marine birds, sharks and otters in Galicia (NW Spain). The BDRI has a research permit delivered by the Spanish Government in order to approach and study these animals.

* The BDRI collects data on more than 10 species of cetaceans and 30 species of marine birds. These topics will therefore be based on one or several species of cetaceans or birds, depending on availability and candidate’s preference.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION - Thesis opportunities are open as part of our internship programme. Start and end dates are flexible depending on the needs of the institute and the intern’s availability, but the position requires a minimum of 30 days continuous commitment sometime between January 2020 through to November 2020. Approved applications are accepted on a first-come, first serve basis. BDRI internships are not paid and this research placement requires a tuition fee which is used to off-set the cost of training, thesis supervision, use of research equipment and data, facilities and research vessels, shared accommodation, and other expenses. The fee reflects the real world costs and expenses that go into making the research program possible and the BDRI Placement Program worthwhile.

HOW TO APPLY - Interested candidates should submit an e-mail to info at thebdri.com, and we will provide you further information about the program. Approved applications are accepted on a first-come, first serve basis. Positions are open until filled (maximum 15 vacancies).

For more information and details, please visit: <https://www.thebdri.com/internships.html> 

Some of our ex-interns shared their BDRI internship experience at: <https://youtu.be/UAuO2XasBnw> 

For regular updates with photos and videos about our programs and research activities feel free to visit <https://www.facebook.com/thebdri/>

BDRI’s reputation for success rests solidly on its ability to carry out studies published in prestigious scientific journals. Scientific articles published by the BDRI team in 2019 (for a full list of publications please visit: <https://www.thebdri.com/papers.html>):

- Methion S, Diaz Lopez B (2019) Individual foraging variation drives social organization in bottlenose dolphins. Behavioral Ecology. doi:10.1093/beheco/arz160 
- Diaz Lopez B, Methion S (2019) Habitat drivers of endangered rorqual whales in a highly impacted upwelling region. Ecological Indicators 103, 610 – 616. 
- Methion B, Díaz López B (2019) First record of atypical pigmentation pattern in fin whale Balaenoptera physalus in the Atlantic Ocean. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 135:121-­125. DOI: 10.3354/dao03385 
- Diaz Lopez B, Methion S, Giralt Paradell O (2019) Living on the edge: Overlap between a marine predator’s habitat use and fisheries in the Northeast Atlantic waters (NW Spain). Progress in Oceanography 175, 115 – 223. 
- Methion S, Diaz Lopez B (2019) Natural and anthropogenic drivers of foraging behaviour in bottlenose dolphins: influence of shellfish aquaculture. Aquatic Conservation Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems     29(6), 927-937. 
- Giralt Paradell O, Diaz Lopez B, Methion S, (2019) Modelling common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) coastal distribution and habitat use: insights for conservation. Ocean and Coastal Management 179, 104836. 
- Diaz Lopez B (2019) "Hot deals at sea": responses of a top predator (Bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus) to human-induced changes in the coastal ecosystem. Behavioural Ecology 2(3), 291-300.

Best regards,

Bruno Díaz López Ph.D
Chief biologist and Director
The Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute BDRI
Avenida Beiramar 192, O Grove 36980, Pontevedra, Spain
0034 684248552

Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Instagram. Mention us on Twitter.

This email is confidential to the intended recipient(s) and the contents may be legally privileged or contain proprietary and private informations. It is intended solely for the person to whom it is addressed. If you are not an intended recipient, you may not review, copy or distribute this email. If received in error, please notify the sender and delete the message from your system immediately. Please note that neither the Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute BDRI nor the sender accept any responsibility for any viruses and it is your responsibility to scan the email and the attachments (if any). Thank you for your cooperation.

More information about the MARMAM mailing list