*Unique research internship with the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program*
The Chicago Zoological Society's Sarasota Dolphin Research Program (SDRP), based at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida, is the world's longest-running wild dolphin research program. 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 SDRP 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 SDRP, please visit: http://www.sarasotadolphin.org/
The SDRP is in the process of selecting volunteer interns for the spring 2009 internship program (a minimum of 2 months of participation during 5 January - 24 April).
The successful candidate(s) will have the unique opportunity to participate in three diverse research projects:
1) *Dolphin population monitoring project*
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-identification of dolphins, computer data entry, dolphin dorsal fin identification catalog maintenance, equipment maintenance and other duties (approx. 40% time);
2) *Dolphin prey and habitat use project*
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 (approx. 15% time);
3) *Sea bird ecology project*
This study will look at the abundance, distribution and habitat use of sea birds in Sarasota Bay and the effects of red tide on those sea bird communities. In the field, this work will consist of boat-based point-count surveys of sea birds in four habitats. Behavior, distance, species, and environmental data will be recorded for each station (approx. 45% time).
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: $75/week).
Scholarships are available from Mote Marine Laboratory through a competitive application process.
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 by navigating to Mote Marine Laboratory's website http://www.mote.org/ and following the education links to the college intern page. Be sure to select "Center for Marine Mammal & Sea Turtle Research" as your first choice and then type in "Sarasota Dolphin Research Program" as the specific program;
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 SDRP's Lab Manager (Jason Allen, 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 October 15th will be given first priority.
Applicants may contact Jason Allen
(941-388-4441 ext. 452, email@example.com) in the SDRP with any questions.
Lab Manager, Field Coordinator
Sarasota Dolphin Research Program
Chicago Zoological Societyc/o
Mote Marine Laboratory
1600 Ken Thompson Parkway
Sarasota, FL 34236
Tel: 941.388.4441 ext. 452