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Ornithology Exchange
  • Research in marine bird ecology

    Melanie Colón
    • Employer: Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute
      Location: Galician waters
      Country: Spain
      Last Date to Apply: No value
      Open Until Filled: Yes

    The Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute (hereafter BDRI) offers a limited number of independent studies to advanced undergraduate and graduate students (bachelor and master students). 

    The BDRI invites applications for thesis projects in a dynamic, international, and competitive research environment (i.e. we use the term “thesis” synonymously with “dissertation” and “report”). The main research topics of the BDRI include marine mammal ecology, ethology, ecological modelling and bioacoustics (on dolphins, porpoises, baleen whales and otters in Atlantic waters) in different parts of the world, as well as marine bird ecology. Highly motivated bachelor and master students in the fields of zoology, marine biology, veterinary and related disciplines are invited to apply for a thesis project at the BDRI. 

    We do not confer degrees but rather provide a research environment including a fully equipped and staffed laboratory, accommodation, and training in the field under the mentorship of experienced marine scientists. The BDRI offers to the students the chance to work through the many steps of research, collecting the data on the field, and analysing the data at the lab.

    To carry out a project with the BDRI means that our students will concentrate on and analyse specific data from our already-existing long-term research dataset. Students will participate in the data collection of our on-going marine mammal and marine bird research program in Galician waters (Spain) and will receive supervision from Bruno Díaz López, PhD (Director and Chief Biologist) and Séverine Methion, MSc (Principal Investigator and Marine Ecologist). The BDRI office is located in a pleasant research centre located in O Grove, Galicia (Spain). The institute and research vessel are equipped with the state-of-the-art technology, and the study area has especially good conditions for marine mammals and marine birds research. The BDRI is a very international environment, and the everyday working language is English. 

    Below you can see a list of the project topics that will be offered in 2019 at BDRI’s headquarters in Spain:

    (modified from original post to only include bird-related research)

    MARINE BIRD ECOLOGY. These projects include spatial analysis and creation of models from data about marine birds recorded in Atlantic waters (Galicia, Spain). Outcomes of these studies will provide more information about marine bird distribution (seagulls, cormorant, shag, waders, auks and more) and the impact caused by human activities. Applicants should have a strong interest in GIS or modelling.

    Many other projects can also be developed such as impact of human activities on marine environment, dolphins’ society, ecological modelling and more. Consult with the BDRI to explore the possibilities (info@thebdri.com).


    Students writing a thesis project will be undertaking normal intern activities (6 working hours per day / 5 days per week). All participants will contribute to the ongoing BDRI research projects being carried out by the institute during their stay. This allows for simultaneous use of equipment and better supervision and guidance. Any project analysis and thesis writing will be done on their own personal time (lunch time, afternoons, and week-ends).  The BDRI provides all the material, research equipment, tuition, and supervision when a student comes to write a thesis. The design of data collection is already done and specific topics are proposed to students depending on their background and preferences.


    To apply, read the Internship Information Package and thesis document, and send the application form, a resume, cover letter, and recommendation letters (facultative) by email to: info@thebdri.com

    BDRI internships are not paid and this training experience requires a tuition fee which is used to off-set the cost of training, use of research equipment, facilities and research vessels, accommodation in an apartment with other participants, and other expenses (access to wifi, kitchen utensils, electricity, taxes, insurances, etc) and a project fee. This fee covers added supervision, tuition, and guidance, the paperwork associated, as well as the use of BDRI resources. Successful applicants will be responsible for their own transportation expenses to and from the research centre (O Grove, Galicia, Spain). Students carrying out these projects are encouraged to try for extramural or university funding to offset these costs. 


    If the student intends to receive academic credit, he/she will be responsible for making all arrangements with their educational institutions.


    There is no deadline to apply. However, approved applications are accepted on a first-come, first serve basis. Apply early!  


    Once accepted as an intern, we can discuss potential specific projects and you will be expected to produce a suitable project proposal prior to your arrival. We look forward to your participation and a successful research experience at the BDRI and we thank you for your interest.


    Feel free to send us an e-mail to: info@thebdri.com for us to provide you further information about the program.


    The internships information information package can be donwloaded here: <https://www.thebdri.com/resources/downloads/internships.pdf>


    The thesis information document can be downloaded here: <https://www.thebdri.com/resources/downloads/thesis.pdf>


    A list of the thesis carried out at the BDRI can be consulted here: <https://www.thebdri.com/research/thesis.html>


    Some of our ex-interns shared their BDRI internship experience at: <https://youtu.be/UAuO2XasBnw> 


    For regular updates with photos and videos about our programs and research activities feel free to visit <https://www.facebook.com/thebdri/>


    Best regards,


    Bruno Díaz López Ph.D

    Chief biologist and Director

    The Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute BDRI

    Avenida Beiramar 192, O Grove 36980, Pontevedra, Spain


    0034 684248552

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