Field Research Courses in Marine Mammal Science

Field Research Courses (FRC) provide an in-depth, hands on immersion into the field of marine mammal science. These academically intensive training courses are developed with varied curricular designs and varied instructional strategies in order to meet specific learning goals. This program surveys an extensive amount of knowledge, theories and ongoing investigations concerning bottlenose dolphins, their environment and related subjects. The research courses are specifically designed for students (undergraduate and postgraduate) seriously interested in pursuing a career in marine mammal science. Courses are participatory in nature and are designed to stimulate inquiry and active learning. The exclusive FRC learning model helps students to connect the conceptual material presented in each course to case studies. Students learn field research techniques, collect and analyse field data, and develop holistic and critical thinking skills.

 

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COURSES DESCRIPTION

The field research courses are run in two standard forms: (i) a 10-day educational placement (field-work and classroom course) and (ii) an intensive 3-day educational placement (classroom course). As a trainee with the BDRI you will learn and apply the principles of field research design (accompanied by structured lectures and practical tuition) and gain a personal understanding of the conservation issues which drive the research and conservation activities of this marine research institute. With state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, students are trained to participate in multiple research projects related to the topic of the course.

 

Students will be trained during each FRC in a wide range of areas including scientific data collection, field research concepts and methodology, computer orientation, use of statistical analysis, reports and presentation of findings, and much more. The aim of each FRC is to give the participants sufficient knowledge to apply the appropriate specialized non-invasive dolphin research techniques, analyse and give an interpretation of the results, and a final presentation. The courses are offered to a limited number of students to ensure individualised instruction, so that the courses provide an opportunity for students to interact closely with the course instructor and BDRI' Director (Dr. Díaz López), and to collaborate with other students who share the same interests.

 

Research courses can be used for academic or vocational purposes, but students are solely responsible for making all arrangements for receiving relevant credit(s) as a result of completing the training course. The program is intensive and highly structured. However, if you choose to enrol in two or more consecutive courses, please contact the BDRI as dates can be arranged to suit your requirements. Course syllabus, course text(s), software(s) and other educational materials will be furnished by the BDRI within 10 days after the student´s acceptance.

 

While the BDRI is a very international environment, and the standard language of the courses is English, it is possible to organize tailor-made courses in Spanish and Italian. The tuition and program fee includes tuition, accommodation in O Grove, Galicia, lectures, certificate of attendance, educational materials, and all associated field (boat based and land based surveys, etc) and lab costs. If you choose to enrol in two or more consecutive courses, please contact the BDRI to receive information about tutition fee and dates available. Participants will be responsible for their transportation to and from the research centre in O Grove, Galicia, Spain. At the BDRI, students live and work with other students. This provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate leadership, good communication, teamwork, and other group-dynamics skills.

 

Research courses can also be offered to groups (scientists, university students), and it is possible to arrange special requirements regarding location, language, and dates to suit the different groups.

 

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Field Research Courses for a 10-day placement

Each 10-day placement course combines exclusive lectures, hands on boat-based and computer exercises, assignments and tests.

 

  • FRC1001.MONITORING COASTAL BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN POPULATIONS . This training course provides an in-depth, hands-on immersion into the field of marine mammal science and more particularly bottlenose dolphin research. This FRC surveys an extensive amount of information, theories and ongoing investigations concerning the different methods available to characterise the status of a coastal bottlenose dolphin population. This course also contains various hands-on boat-based and computer exercises. The variety of subjects approached in this course offer a broad view of applied dolphin field research whilst providing students with the tools and practical experience needed for a greater understanding of coastal bottlenose dolphin populations and their conservation, as well as deeper insight into behavioural research concepts and methodology. Lecture topics include: Biology, Anatomy & Physiology of Bottlenose dolphins, Sighting methods (boat-based surveys, line transect surveys, land-based surveys), Mark-recapture methods, Bioacoustic methods, Behavioural sampling and records (states vs events), Conservation of bottlenose dolphins, Stranded cetaceans, BDRI’s Current Research, Statistical analysis, computer orientation (use of GIS, fin-recognition software packages, sound analysis software, and databases), and guidelines for creating scientific posters and presentations.

    Course Fee = 1300 Euros.
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  • FRC1002. SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS AND COMMUNICATION IN A FISSION-FUSION SOCIETY. This advanced course provides in-depth, hands-on immersion into the field and laboratory methods for behavioural ecology and communication of bottlenose dolphins. This training course aims to provide specialization in behavioural methods, focusing in particular on bottlenose dolphin social behaviour and communication, achieving an integrated approach to the understanding of the behavioural complexity of this species. This course contains two modules. The first module will introduce students to the main type of field and analytical methods concerning social relationships and communication of wild bottlenose dolphins. In the second module, course attendants will apply all methods on case studies, and perform analyses of example data. The first module contains various hands on boat based and computer exercises. As a result of successful completion of this specialization course, attendants will gain a deeper insight into behavioural research concepts and methodology, underlying social dynamics and communication. In addition, course attendants will gain experience in using bioacoustical methods via computer practical sessions involving classification and analyses of bottlenose dolphin vocalizations. Lecture topics include: Review of bottlenose dolphin field studies, Anatomy & Physiology, Life history & Reproduction, Population dynamics, Closed Mark-recapture methods, Association patterns, Hinde's framework, Bioacoustic methods, Vocal production & repertoire, Whistle acoustic features, Signature whistles, BDRI’s Current Research, statistical analysis and computer orientation.

    Course Fee = 1500 Euros.
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  • FRC 1003. CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT OF BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN POPULATIONS. A science-based response to the conservation problems created by interactions between human activities (fisheries, aquaculture and tourism) and dolphins depends critically on accurate knowledge of the impacts caused by the interactions. This advanced course provides in-depth, hands on immersion into the field and laboratory methods available to study these interactions. This field research-oriented course surveys an extensive amount of knowledge and ongoing investigations concerning marine mammal conservation, achieving an integrated approach to address human-bottlenose dolphin conflicts and advice on mitigation. This course contains two modules. The first module will introduce students to some of the methods available to assess the impact of human activities (fisheries, aquaculture and tourism) on bottlenose dolphin populations. In the second module, course attendants will apply all methods on case studies, and perform analyses of example data. The first module contains various hands-on boat-based and computer exercises. As a result of successful completion of this specialization course, attendants will gain a deeper insight into the various factors influencing the incidental capture of bottlenose dolphins, and explain the importance of local, national, and international policies that aim to protect bottlenose dolphin populations. Lecture topics include: Biology and Conservation of Bottlenose dolphins, Threats to cetaceans, Overview of methods used to quantify by-catch and damage, Aquaculture industry, Gill-net fisheries & Trawlers, Mark-recapture methods, Foraging behaviour (Predation & Depredation), Incidental captures & By-catch, Boat traffic & Acoustic disturbance, Stranded cetaceans, Anti-predator nets, Acoustic deterrent & harassment devices, BDRI’s Current Research, Statistical analysis and computer orientation.

     

    Course Fee = 1500 Euros.

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    Field Research Courses for a 3-day placement

    These exclusive class-room courses also contain computer exercises.

     

  • RESEARCH METHODS IN MARINE MAMMAL RESEARCH. This class-room course provides an in-depth, hands-on immersion into the field of marine mammal science. The variety of subjects approached on this course offer a broad view of applied marine mammal field research whilst providing students with the tools and practical experience needed for a greater understanding of marine mammal populations and their conservation, as well as deeper insight into field research concepts and methodology. Lecture topics include: Biology, Anatomy & Physiology of Bottlenose dolphins, Sighting methods, Mark-recapture methods, Conservation of cetaceans, Stranded cetaceans, BDRI’s Current Research, Statistical analysis, computer orientation and guidelines for creating scientific posters and presentations.

     

    Course Fee = 450 Euros

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  • GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS (GIS) concepts, tools, and functionality in marine mammal ecology, behaviour, and conservation. To study Ecology, Behaviour and Conservation of animal species inherently concerns  understanding the species distribution and habitat use. The Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute (BDRI) is aware of the importance of using GIS in field research projects, and therefore has created this new training course to provide valuable information about the use of GIS in biology and conservation. The course will include PowerPoint lectures with computer based practical sessions where participants work through real GIS field data (collected from research projects that  ongoing at the course location) illustrating the use of open-source GIS (Quantum GIS) for everyday mapping tasks. Quantum GIS (also known as QGIS) provides a user-friendly, open-source, free alternative to commercial GIS software packages, and it is becoming increasingly widely used in research centres and Universities worldwide. The course is  designed for students and researchers just starting to use GIS in their careers and who have little or no existing knowledge of this subject area. This is a great chance for students and professionals to boost their career skills using learning materials usually only available to students and staff at the Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute (BDRI). Courses are participatory in nature and are designed to stimulate inquiry and active learning. The learning model helps students to connect the conceptual material presented in each course to case studies. Participants will only need to bring their own laptop.

    Course Fee = 450 Euros
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  • BIOACOUSTICS AND DOLPHINS COMMUNICATION. The BDRI team is aware of the importance of behavioural research concepts and methodology in field research projects, and therefore has created this advanced course to provide in-depth, hands-on immersion into the field and laboratory methods for cetacean bioacoustics and vocal communication of bottlenose dolphins. This training course aims to provide specialization in behavioural methods, focusing in particular on the analysis of dolphin vocal communication, achieving an integrated approach to the understanding of the behavioural complexity of this species. The course will include PowerPoint lectures with computer based practical sessions where participants work through real field data illustrating the use of software for bio-acoustical analysis. This course is a great chance for students and professionals to boost their career skills using learning materials usually only available to students and staff at the Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute (BDRI). The exclusive learning model helps students to connect the conceptual material presented in each course to case studies. Participants will only need to bring their own laptop.

     

    Course Fee = 450 Euros

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    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

    The program is open to applicants 18 years of age or older. Individuals with an  academic background in biology, veterinary or natural science, coupled with motivation and interest in marine research make the most qualified individuals. Start and end dates are flexible depending on the availability. If the student intends to receive academic credit, he/she will be responsible for making all arrangements with their educational institutions.

     

    HOW TO APPLY

  • For more information and details, please visit the page HOW TO APPLY and download the Courses Information Package and the application form.
  • To apply, carefully read the Courses Information Package, select the duration of your stay and send the application form, a resume, cover letter and recommendation letters (facultative) by email to: info@thebdri.com
  • Applications are accepted on a first-come, first serve basis. Positions are open until filled. There is no deadline to apply.
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    Feel free to send us an e-mail to: info@thebdri.com for any further information about the program.

     

     

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