Internships at BDRI

The Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute (BDRI) offers an internship program, which is an opportunity to become a research assistant and obtain training in marine ecology and marine mammal research. The BDRI has a strong educational component and offers unique hands-on marine research experiences designed to foster success in both undergraduate and postgraduate fields. If you are planning to embark on a career in the field of marine biology, marine mammal conservation or field research, then an internship at BDRI would be ideal for you.


Applications are open for the 2023 & 2024 research seasons!

COVID19 update: The BDRI will normally carry out its research projects and educational programs in Galicia (NW Spain) in 2023 & 2024. In acknowledgment of the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, we have instituted safety measures. Feel free to contact us for more information.


Marine mammal research in Galicia, NW Spain Oral presentations at BDRI Research experience at BDRI Studying dolphins and whales in Spain


An internship at the BDRI offers an excellent opportunity for interested, enthusiastic and motivated people to obtain field and laboratory experience in marine megafauna (cetaceans, marine birds, and otters) field research methodology and data analysis under the mentorship of experienced marine scientists. The BDRI also offers the opportunity to interested interns (both bachelors and masters level) to carry out their thesis research projects with us.



Studying dolphins in Spain Internship in Spain Bottlenose dolphin research and conservation Laboratory work at BDRI



This internship program enables aspiring marine scientists to work alongside leading marine biologists as they undertake ground-breaking research on the charismatic marine mega-fauna in one of the most productive oceanic regions in the world (Galicia, north-western coast of Spain). The incredible diversity of cetaceans present in these waters (22 different species) allows the BDRI team to carry out several ongoing research projects focusing on the study of the ecology and behaviour of bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoises, Risso’s dolphins, common dolphins, striped dolphins, pilot whales, humpback whales, minke whales, sei whales, fin whales, and blue whales. Moreover, Galician waters are home to hundreds of species of marine birds and to the Eurasian otter, which are also part of our ecological studies.


Humpback whale in Galicia Bottlenose dolphins and aquaculture Studying whales in Spain Bottlenose dolphins in Galicia Marine bird research in Galicia Eurasian otter in Spain Common dolphins in Galicia, NW Spain Pilot whales research projects in Spain

The BDRI offers interns the chance to work through the many steps of research, from collecting the data in the field to analysing data at the lab. Interns can expect to gain a solid knowledge in marine mammal sampling methods and data analysis. While interns benefit from specialized research training, they make the most of the internship programs working side by side with the chief biologist (Dr. Bruno Díaz López), and other experienced researchers (Dr. Séverine Methion, principal investigator, marine ecologist; Ms. Olga Mosca, Ms. Nathalie Dunel Roig and Ms. Joyce Gabriela Azenha Neves, MSc, PhD candidates, marine biologists). The BDRI is a very international environment, and the everyday working language is English. Laboratory days typically last six hours and field days occur at least once a week (weather dependent). There are two days off per week (typically the weekend). While doing an internship, interns have the opportunity to carry out a personal project, which can be writing a thesis/dissertation for their university (Bachelor, Master).


With state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, interns are trained to participate in multiple research projects. Research activities at the BDRI are a combination of laboratory work (photo-identification, GIS, bioacoustics, diet analysis, diving behaviour, video analysis, database work, data transcription etc), boat-based surveys on-board our research vessel, and land-based surveys. In 2024, data collection will mainly focus on coastal bottlenose dolphins, marine birds and otters.


Training experience at BDRI Field research on cetacean ecology Studying bottlenose dolphins in the wild Land-based observations



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 needs of the institute and the intern's availability, and the position requires a minimum of 4 consecutive weeks of continuous commitment sometime between January through to November, every year. If the student intends to receive academic credit, he/she will be responsible for making all arrangements with their educational institutions.

BDRI internships are not paid and this training experience requires a tuition fee of €400 per week which is used to off-set the cost of training, use of research equipment, facilities and research vessels, shared accommodation, and other expenses (access to wifi, electricity, taxes, insurances, etc). Click here to download the internship information package to obtain more information. Successful applicants will be responsible for their own transportation expenses to and from the research centre (O Grove, Galicia, Spain).


The fee reflects the real world costs and expenses that go into making the research program possible and the "Internship" program worthwhile. The BDRI also offers the public the option to participate in other programs, such as the short-term internship program (volunteering; minimum stay of 5 days, click here for more information) or the "Researcher for a day" program (click here for more information). Unlike many other institutes, the BDRI is an independent research institute. This means there is limited external funding and that the internship fees cover the expenses derived from the interns’ participation as well as contributing to the overall operations of the institute. The primary focus of the BDRI is to carry out various scientific research projects and educational programs. This is reflected by the regular publication of scientific papers, supervision of numerous PhD, master and bachelor thesis projects every year and the collaboration with multiple universities and research institutions. The internship fee therefore does not only cover some of the expenses, but it is also a foundation that supports our ability to conduct such important research.



We are currently accepting applications for internships taking place:
- between now and November 17th 2023.
- between January 15th to November 29th 2024.


- 2023 holidays (non-working days): October 12, November 1 & 10.

- 2024 holidays (non-working days) (preliminary schedule): March 19, 28 & 29, May 1 & 17, July 15 & 25, August 15, October 12, November 1 & 8.

Apply early! Positions are open until filled!


  • For more information and details, download the Internship Information Package.
  • To apply, carefully read the Internship Information Package, choose the dates & duration of your stay and send the application form, a resume, cover letter and recommendation letters (facultative) (send files as PDF) by email to:
  • Applications are accepted on a first-come first served basis. Positions are open until filled. There is no deadline to apply.

    Feel free to send us an e-mail to: for any further information about the program.


    Note: After sending an email to, we will send you an automatic response with the instructions to apply to our internship program. If you don't receive the email in your inbox, please check your spam folder.



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