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Dr. Defran and theMarine Mammal and Protected Resources (MMPR) Program in Charleston, South Carolina sponsor one or two Dolphin Photo-identification Internship positions for the Spring, Summer and Fall of each year. The MMPR is organized within NOAA’sNational Ocean Service and is located at theCoastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research (CCEHBR) laboratory in Charleston, SC.  The intern position involves a commitment of 20 hours per week extending over a 15 week period. The intern will participate in the field and laboratory activities of the Charleston Dolphin Abundance and Distribution Project (CDAD). Two useful sources of information about the CDAD project are: 1) Zolman, E. 2002.  Residence patterns of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiopstruncatus) in the Stono River estuary, Charleston County, South Carolina.  Marine Mammal Science 18:879-892; and 2)The Charleston Dolphin Abundance and Distribution (CDAD) Project: Standard Operating Protocols (SOP) for Field and Photographic Analysis Procedures.

The CDAD project carries out boat-based photo-identification surveys in the coastal and inland waterways of the Charleston SC area. This research is designed to provide an understanding of the population characteristics of Charleston dolphins as part of a comprehensive health assessment of Charleston area Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. The internship offers an excellent opportunity for qualified and motivated individuals to obtain field and laboratory training in photo-identification methodology and analysis under the mentorship of experienced dolphin researchers.

There is no compensation for this internship position and the successful applicant will be responsible for their living and transportation expenses during the time of the internship.  The interns must have a personal vehicle to allow them to travel to and from the laboratory and to some of the local field sites in the Charleston area.

Ideal internship applicants will be advanced undergraduates or a recent graduate of a scientifically oriented university program in the behavioral or biological sciences.  A typical applicant should have a strong interest in the scientific study of cetacean behavioral ecology, have potential interests in future graduate study in marine mammal science, and is an individual who seeks extensive and intensive exposure to the field work, data analysis techniques, and the research literature in this field. Preference will be given to the selection of an intern with well developed computer skills and boat-based field experience. The internship application will consist of a letter of interest, transcripts of university coursework and two letters of recommendation from professors or research supervisors who are familiar with your scholarship, research skills and work habits.  Interested applicants should correspond with Dr. Defran by email before preparing and submitting application materials.

Interested applicants should correspond by email to:

Dr. R.H. Defran


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