ABOUT THE BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN RESEARCH INSTITUTE - BDRI -
In addition to the marine mammals research activities of the BDRI, the institute also undertakes a rigorous educational programme throughout the year. It is actively involved with volunteers, colleges and universities – providing work experience opportunities, internship positions and university project placements for Bachelors and Masters students throughout the year.
This year 2015 is BDRI's 10th anniversary. It's been an amazing journey so far, and I'm so grateful to be a part of it. People often ask if I always knew that BDRI would become what it is today. No way. Numerous people over the years have helped me get here, so there are many people I need to thank.
I remember my first days in Sardinia Island, Italy (back in December 1999) getting pizza with my friend Federico Polo one night shortly after starting the first dolphin project surveys. I told him I was excited to start our own research project with the help of our friend Luca Marini, but one day someone needed to create an international center for research and training in marine mammals science.
This dream come true, back in 2005, when I founded the BDRI as a small centre for research, conservation and training in bottlenose dolphins’ ecology and behaviour. The most rewarding part of the idea has been meeting hundred of people interested not only in seeing dolphins, but in understanding about their life, behaviour and conservation threats. Since 2014 we have opened a new facility in our original location in O Grove; on the shores of Arousa Firth, Southern Galicia in Spain. This transformation has considerably improved our ability to care for and study marine mammals, providing a collaborative work environment for staff, students and volunteers from all over the world.
In this new research Area, the BDRI take a step and increase the quality of not only the research performed, but also of the centre locals and vessels. As we have many years of experience, the quality of the research will be kept to a maximum as always, however, now we will have the opportunity to discover new waters, species and interactions. We will like all these years study the behaviour and communication of bottlenose dolphins and the interaction between these wonderful animals and human activities. However, a new area offers us to also take on new projects and a more diverse range of issues and species. Furthermore, as the Galician coastline is known for frequent strandings of various cetacean species, the BDRI will be a part of an important network for rescue and data collection from these stranded animals.
I am proud to see how it has grown in terms of quality and how important our work has become for the knowledge and conservation of dolphins. The BDRI is dedicated to this goal, having produced numerous scientific publications, and presented the work through frequent public and professional presentations. Moreover, How can we help something we do not understand? In order to spread this information, the BDRI has understood the importance of our educational programs. Hence, knowledge is directly connected to protection and conservation. I always thought this was important, providing people an in-depth, hands-on immersion into the field of marine mammal science and more particularly dolphins research. I feel so luckly to be able to share so many people's life experiences in Sardinia (Italy) and now in Galicia (Spain). I try to make the most of every day and have the biggest contribution in their careers, leaving this centre with a real perspective of dolphins life and the ability to spread the knowledge about these wonderful animals.
That's why I'm even more excited about the next ten years than the last. The first ten years were about giving shape to ideas. Now we
have the resources to increase and spread the knowledge about these wonderful animals. The BDRI would not have been possible without the help of a number of people, friends, interns, volunteers and students. To all of you, many anonymously, who have made this journey possible for me, I want to say thank you. I'm so grateful to be able to contribute to dolphins research and conservation. Thank you for letting me be a part of this journey and see you soon.
Bruno Diaz Lopez - BDRI Founder and Chief Biologist