[MARMAM] Bottlenose Dolphin Photo-Identification Internship Opportunity for Summer 2020

Jessica Taylor jessarah19 at yahoo.com
Wed Jan 1 09:02:15 PST 2020

Bottlenose DolphinPhoto-ID Internship Positions for Summer 2020

The Outer Banks Centerfor Dolphin Research (OBXCDR)/Nags Head Dolphin Watch are currently acceptingapplications for the 2020 summer season. Three internship positions will beavailable. One position will last from May 2nd – September 11th;the second position will last from May 15th through August 21st;the third position will last from June 6th- October 10th.Successful applicants must be able to commit for each entire season. 

The Outer Banks Centerfor Dolphin Research is a 501 c(3) non-profit organization dedicated to theconservation of bottlenose dolphins in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Ourprogram’s goal is to gain an understanding of the population dynamics, movementpatterns, and behavioral ecology of coastal bottlenose dolphins in the soundsand coastal waters near the Outer Banks. The OBXCDR conducts a long-term photo-identificationmonitoring study of bottlenose dolphins in Roanoke, Croatan, Albemarle, Pamlicoand Currituck Sounds. Data is collected via dedicated small boat surveys aswell as opportunistically from a local dolphin watch. Information from themonitoring study is used to examine annual population trends, habitatutilization, social associations, and ecology of the dolphins as well as aid inefforts to examine bottlenose dolphin stock structure and movement patternsalong the U.S. Atlantic coast. Interns will gain experience in field datacollection, photo-identification of dolphins, and environmental education. Formore information about the OBXCDR, please visit: obxdolphins.org. 

Each internshipposition will consist of bottlenose dolphin photo-identification,opportunistic/dedicated field research, and environmental education. Responsibilitiesinclude:

§  Mate/naturalistduties aboard the Nags Head Dolphin Watch: This involves the implementation of educational programs,including public speaking aboard the eco-tours (using a microphone andone-on-one) to educate others about local dolphin biology and marineconservation, as well as additional mate duties. The mate/naturalist will alsocollect opportunistic photo-identification data aboard the eco-tours(photographing dorsal fins, measuring environmental parameters, and recording sightingdata), organize opportunistic data for inclusion in the photo-identificationcatalog, and assist in general maintenance of field equipment.  Foradditional information about the Nags Head Dolphin Watch, please see www.nagsheaddolphinwatch.com (50% of time)


§  Photo-identificationof dolphins in the lab:This includes photo sorting, grading, and matching, sighting data entry, andassisting in maintenance of the long-term OBX catalog using the MS Accessdatabase FinBase.  Additional time willalso be spent completing an independent project in which the intern will matchthe OBX catalog to the Mid-Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin Catalog (MABDC) toexamine seasonal movement patterns. The MABDC is a long-term collaborativeeffort to gain a greater understanding of the stock structure and movementpatterns of bottlenose dolphins along the U.S. Atlantic coast. This independentproject should be completed within the span of the internship. The finalproduct of this project will be a final project report (40% of time)


§  Boat-basedphoto-identification: Each intern willassist with dedicated boat-based photo-identification surveys to examine abundances,site fidelity, and prevalence of skin lesions of bottlenose dolphins in RoanokeSound.  Responsibilities include operating a small vessel during transectsurveys and sightings, assisting with photo-identification, collecting sightingdata for dolphin groups, and general maintenance of field equipment. (10% oftime)


This internshiprequires a minimum commitment of 36 hours per week, consisting of eco-tours,lab photo-identification, and dedicated surveys. The intern will carry outmate/naturalist duties and opportunistic photo-identification aboard the NagsHead Dolphin Watch for 3-4 days per week throughout the field season while 1-2days per week will be spent conducting photo-identification in the lab. Dedicatedphoto-identification surveys will be conducted 1-2 times per month in April,May, September, and October, and 6-8 times per month from June through August.

Salary:  Thisinternship is a paid position. Applicants will receive an hourly salary for thenaturalist position on the dolphin watch. Tips aboard the dolphin tours areexpected, but not guaranteed. 

Housing: Although housing is not provided, we will assist you in finding housingaccommodations in the Outer Banks. Interns are responsible for their owntransportation to and from the Outer Banks as well as to and from the fieldsites and lab.

The successfulapplicant would ideally have the following qualifications:

§  Minimum of 18 years of age and recentlygraduated with an undergraduate degree in marine biology, biology, zoology, orrelated field

§  Strong interest in the marine environment andconservation

§  Ability to swim

§  Basic proficiency in MS Access, Word, Excel,and Picture Manager as well as digital photography

§  Enthusiasm, attention to detail, responsible, independent,focused, and dedicated

§  Works well in a team environment as well asindividually

§  Experience in boating and marine field datacollection

§  Experience in environmental outreach preferred

§  Experience in photo-identification preferred 

§  First AID/CPR certification preferred

§  Due to employment aboard the dolphin eco-tours,all candidates must be U.S. citizens


NOTE: The UnitedStates Coast Guard requires all passenger vessels to be drug free workenvironments. In order to work aboard the dolphin eco-tours, the intern will berequired to pass a pre-employment drug test and to participate in random drugtesting during the period of the research season.

Application Process:

Please submit coverletter, resume, and contact information for 3 references via email to:obxcdr at hotmail.com Use “Dolphin photo-id internship” in thesubject line of the email. Applicants must apply by February 22nd tobe considered for this position. Applications will be reviewed in the orderreceived.


Jessica Taylor

Executive Director,Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research

P.O. Box 7721

Kill Devil Hills, NC27948



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