Dolphin Communication Project

DCP has a number of opportunities in the USA and Bahamas for volunteers, interns and people wishing to help with our marine conservation research and education efforts.

 

Volunteering

DCP has a number of opportunities available for volunteers wishing to help with our research and education efforts. We offer volunteer positions throughout the year either ‘on-site’ (i.e., at the DCP office in Port St Lucie, Florida), or ‘remote’ volunteers. Remote volunteers have the opportunity to help DCP by either assisting us over the internet, or by participating in DCP inspired activities in their local communities. Please note: we DO NOT offer volunteer opportunities for field  work: only Fieldwork Internships involve a field component. See our internships page for more info. For those interested in learning more about dolphins in the field, we encourage you to sign up for one of our eco-tours at either Bimini Island in The Bahamas, or Roatan in Honduras .

A strong attention to detail and an interest in dolphin behavior and conservation are a must for all volunteers, however prior experience is not. On site volunteers’ schedules vary on a case-by-case basis, although most volunteers consistently commit a minimum of ½ day per week for a minimum of 6 months. Inquiries for volunteers are generally accepted year-round, however, please see Current Openings below to learn what positions have already been filled. All volunteer positions with DCP are UNPAID. At this time, we cannot offer lodging to on-site volunteers. Volunteers are responsible for their own transportation between their housing and the DCP office and should be advised that there is little to no public transportation in the area. For this reason, many of our on-site volunteers are from the South Florida area. On-site volunteers must be at least 16 years old.

All volunteers who will be working with DCP at our offices are required to complete a Volunteer Training Session which will be held at regular intervals at the DCP office in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Training sessions are scheduled as needed on a bi-monthly or quarterly basis. Email DCP for information on the next session planned (info {at} dcpmail {dot} org).

 

Internships 

The Dolphin Communication Project (DCP) offers internships for college students during fall, spring, and summer semesters on a revolving basis. We offer two types of internships: Office Internships and Fieldwork Internship (see below for more info). Each of the two internship positions involves a data processing component which is conducted at the DCP office located in the USA. Interns must be at least 18 years old at the start of their internship. 

 

School Credit

Many universities offer course credit for internships. Credit for internships must be arranged by each intern individually and independently with their school. Please contact your college's Intern Program Coordinator or your advisor for information on arranging credit. DCP can provide documentation of a completed internship once the intern has finished the program.

 

Lodging and Logistics

All intern positions with DCP are UNPAID. At this time, we cannot offer free lodging to interns. Once an intern is confirmed for a particular semester, we will do our best to assist that intern with finding contact information for local property managers and college housing offices; however the responsibility ultimately lies with the applicant to find and secure lodging during their internship. We strongly encourage incoming interns to make lodging considerations BEFORE committing to the internship with DCP. Because DCP’s office is located in a relatively small town, finding affordable short-term housing can be challenging. Interns are also responsible for their own transportation between their accommodations and DCP. All interns should be advised that there is no public transportation in the area. For this reason, all interns have their own vehicles and many live within a 50 mile radius.

 

Office Internships

Office Internships with DCP are generally offered to college students who are willing to spend a semester (8 – 12 weeks) working with us on data processing. Weekly commitments vary depending on the student's school schedule and requirements. Interns gain skills and understanding in data processing, including but not limited to photo-identification, focal follows and event sampling for behavioral analyses, and acoustic analyses of dolphin sounds (whistles & echolocation clicks). Interns learn about statistical applications as well. Interns may be required to develop a project or research question of their own for a formal school report - often these reports lead to conference presentations or papers.

Interns are given access to Dudzinski's reprint and book library and encouraged to debate topics and hypotheses with other DCP volunteers, interns and research associates when available. Interns may also assist as needed with the development of education programs for secondary schools and the general public as well as presentation materials for dissemination of results through DCP via classes or the Internet. As a general rule, academic-year internships will see the intern in the office for ~15 – 20 hours per week, whereas the summer internships average 25-35 hours per week. Office internships positions are UNPAID.

 

Fieldwork Internships

Each summer, DCP fills an average of 2 internships with both office and field components. Fieldwork Interns spend 4 - 8 weeks learning and assisting with data analysis and other responsibilities at our US office (see Office Internship description for task details). The office portion of this program is required. Interns will then spend 3-4 weeks assisting DCP researcher Kelly Melillo Sweeting (check out Our Team in the "About" menu) at our Bimini field site (check out Research Sites in the "Research" menu), studying wild Atlantic spotted and bottlenose dolphins and completing necessary data related tasks. Fieldwork internship positions are UNPAID, require a fee ($1,000) to cover field expenses (room & partial board) and do not include costs for any airfare (to/from CT or Bimini, to/from your home town and CT or Bimini) or lodging during the office component. Fieldwork internships are limited on average to two spaces per summer at the Bimini field site, and the application process is therefore highly competitive.

Current enrollment in a degree-seeking program, background in science and/or animal behavior and experience on boats and/or with photo-identification are all desired, but not necessarily required. The successful candidates will be comfortable on a boat for several hours at a time in varying conditions (including intense heat). They will also be proficient swimmers with the desire to improve free-diving skills. They will be able to work as a team both at the office and in a fairly remote and isolated field setting.

Required Qualities (office and field):

  • An interest in biology, marine biology, animal behavior and/or conservation
  • Strong written, speaking and computer skills (Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • Strong attention to detail and good organizational skills
  • Ability to work both independently and in team settings

 

Tours

DCP regularly offers ecotours for those interested in learning more about the wild spotted dolphins that live around the beautiful island of Bimini. Although we may not be able to offer a formal ecotour, this does not mean we do not welcome our supporters in Bimini!

DCP has had the support of Bimini Adventures since 2006. Bimini Adventures donates space on their wild dolphin trips to DCP researchers each summer. We encourage our supporters to join a dolphin trip or dolphin week package with Bimini Adventures - we'll look forward to seeing you there!

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