*Dolphin Research and Conservation Institute Internships*
The Chicago Zoological Society’s Dolphin Research and Conservation Institute (DRCI), based at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida, conducts the world’s longest-running study of a wild dolphin population.
The program’s goal is to contribute to a better understanding of the structure and dynamics of populations of small cetaceans, as well as the natural and anthropogenic factors that impact them. The DRCI uses an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach in conducting studies of bottlenose dolphins within Sarasota Bay, Tampa Bay, Charlotte Harbor, and the Gulf of Mexico coastal waters. For more information about the DRCI and the individual projects listed below, please visit:www.sarasotadolphin.org
The DRCI is in the process of selecting volunteer interns for the summer 2010 internship program (a minimum of 10 weeks of participation during 17 May - 30 September). The successful candidates will participate in at least two research projects:
1) *Dolphin population monitoring project* (approx. 80% time) This study will continue to monitor the resident bottlenose dolphin community in Sarasota Bay. Duties in the field will include assisting with boat-based photographic identification surveys for dolphin groups.
Behavioral, location, individual, and environmental data will be recorded for each dolphin group. While in the lab, work will generally involve photo-id of dolphins, computer data entry, dolphin dorsal fin identification catalog maintenance, equipment maintenance, and other duties;
2) *Dolphin prey and habitat use project* (approx. 20% time) This study will use the Sarasota dolphin community and fish populations to study predator-prey interactions and bioacoustics, specifically helping us to understand relationships between distributions of dolphins and their prey and factors that affect fish community ecology, such as red tide.
While in the field, work will involve sampling of fish communities through purse seining techniques, recording of fish sounds via hydrophone, and collection of other environmental data.
There is no compensation for these internship positions, and successful applicants will be responsible for their own living and transportation expenses during the time of the internship. Shared housing opportunities
near Mote Marine Laboratory may be available (cost: $85/week). A few
scholarships are available from Mote Marine Laboratory through a competitive application process (US citizens only).
Applicants would ideally have the following qualifications:
• Minimum of 18 years of age and engaged in or recently completed undergraduate studies;
• A background or degree in Biology, Marine Biology, Ecology, Zoology or a related field;
• Basic computer proficiency in Microsoft Office programs (especially Excel and Access);
• Some field research experience preferred but not required;
• Must be able to swim;
• Enthusiasm and desire to learn a variety of field and lab based research methods;
• A willingness to spend a minimum of 2-3 months working full time with our program.
To apply for a Sarasota Dolphin Research Program internship, interested persons should:
1) Fill out an application form at Mote Marine Laboratory’s website (www.mote.org/interns). Be sure to select “Dolphin Research and Conservation Institute” as your first choice;
2) Complete and provide to Mote’s intern office all other application materials including: a statement of interest, current college transcript, letter of recommendation, and curriculum vitae;
3) Send a brief email to the DRCI’s Intern Coordinator (Katie McHugh,
firstname.lastname@example.org) stating your name, contact information, exact dates available and that you have provided all of your application materials to the Mote intern office, as detailed above.
All applications will be reviewed; those received by March 15th will be given first priority. We are seeking 4-6 interns for the summer of 2010, depending on scheduling. Applicants may contact Katie McHugh (941-388-4441 ext. 375, ) in the DRCI with any questions.