[MARMAM] Bottlenose Dolphin Photo-ID Internship Position for Summer 2021

Jessica Taylor jessarah19 at yahoo.com
Tue Jan 5 13:08:54 PST 2021

Bottlenose DolphinPhoto-ID Internship Position for Summer 2021

The Outer Banks Centerfor Dolphin Research (OBXCDR)/Nags Head Dolphin Watch are currently acceptingapplications for the 2021 summer season. The research season is May 3rd-October22nd. Three internship positions are available for the followingdates: May 3rd-September 20th, May 10th-August15th, May 17th-October 22nd. Start/end datesare flexible but successful applicants must be able to commit for the entireinternship period. 

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. 

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

§  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 recordingsighting data), organize opportunistic data for inclusion in thephoto-identification catalog, and assist in general maintenance of fieldequipment.  For additional 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. This work will becompleted in our lab space at the local Coastal Studies Institute. (40% oftime)


§  Boat-basedphoto-identification: The intern willassist with dedicated boat-based photo-identification surveys to examine abundances,site fidelity, and progression of skin lesions of bottlenose dolphins inRoanoke Sound.  Responsibilities include operating a small vessel duringtransect surveys and sightings, assisting with photo-identification, collectingsighting data for dolphin groups, and general maintenance of field equipment.(10% of time)


This internshiprequires a minimum commitment of 36 hours per week, consisting of eco-tours,lab photo-identification, and dedicated surveys. The intern will carry out mate/naturalistduties and opportunistic photo-identification aboard the Nags Head DolphinWatch for 3-4 days per week throughout the field season while 1-2 days per weekwill be spent conducting photo-identification in the lab. Abundance surveyswill be conducted 2-3 times per month from May through October.

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 12th 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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