Online Training Courses in Marine Mammal Science

The Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute (BDRI) offers unique Online Training Courses designed for participants to increase their knowledge and learn new skills in marine mammal ecology and behaviour.


Our Online Training Courses provide an in-depth immersion into the field of marine mammal science and cover an extensive amount of knowledge, theories and ongoing investigations concerning cetaceans and their environment (you can find our course topic descriptions below).


The courses are offered as structured live lectures to a limited number of students to ensure high-quality instruction, providing an opportunity for students to easily interact with the course instructor.


The aim of each Online Training Course is to provide the participants with the necessary theoretical knowledge (research techniques, data analysis using specialised software and statistical tools, interpretation of results) and practical skills in marine mammal research.


By participating in our exclusive courses, students will gain an understanding of the conservation issues driving the research activities and will contribute to the study and conservation of cetaceans, as 100% of the registration fee will go towards BDRI projects.


Our courses are designed by Dr. Bruno Díaz López, BDRI founder and director. Bruno is an internationally renowned scientist with more than 100 scientific articles in specialized journals, conferences and books on the ecology, bioacoustics and behavior of cetaceans (you can find a list of our publications here). He has extensive teaching experience as he has supervised numerous doctoral, masters and undergraduate theses from European, American and Asian universities and has given several public lectures on the study and conservation of cetaceans around the world. In addition, Dr. Díaz López is a member of the International Cetacean Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as well as a reviewer for some of the most important journals of ecology, animal behavior, marine biology and conservation. You can find more information on his Google Scholar and ResearchGate accounts.

🎓 The large number of master and doctoral theses conducted at our center, in addition to the agreements with some of the most prestigious universities in the world, make the BDRI an internationally recognized center for the study of marine mammals. You can find the list of PhD, Master and bachelor theses previously carried out at the BDRI here.


Increase your cetaceans knowledge from home thanks to the BDRI!


Marine mammal research in Galicia, NW SpainBottlenose dolphin research and conservationResearch experience at BDRI Studying dolphins and whales in Spain



The BDRI currently offers 3 Online Training Courses, that can also be tailor-made (see below). These Online Training Courses are available to be taken "on demand".


Each Online Training Courses consist of two recorded 45-min online lectures. Students receive a link to download the lectures, supplementary material (e.g. sounds, videos, data and scientific articles) and free software for practical exercises to be completed any time after the class (when applicable). Upon completion of the course, students receive a personalized certificate of participation.

- (AC1) Cetacean bioacoustics - Introductory course on the study of dolphin, whale and porpoise communication

This introductory course to the world of cetacean bioacoustics aims to provide information on study methods and the analysis of the vocal communication of dolphins, whales and porpoises. This course is a great opportunity for inexperienced individuals, students and professionals alike to further their skills in the study of bioacoustics using learning materials normally only available to students and staff of the Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute (BDRI). The course is specially designed so that people without previous knowledge can get started in this exciting world of bioacoustics. Similarly, it will allow people with previous knowledge to acquire new knowledge about sound production and the use of software for the study of communication in dolphins, whales and porpoises.

(Available anytime "on demand", in English and Spanish)


- (GIS1) Geographic Information Systems (GIS): concepts and tools adapted to marine mammal ecology, behaviour, and conservation

The study of the ecology, behavior and conservation of biodiversity is inherent in understanding the spatial distribution of species. The BDRI team of researchers is aware of the importance of the use of GIS in field research projects, and therefore has created this new training course to provide valuable information on the use of GIS in biology and conservation of marine biodiversity. The course is specially designed so that people without previous knowledge can get started in the use of geographic information systems (GIS). In the same way, the course is designed for students and researchers who are starting to use GIS in their career and who need to increase their knowledge of this subject. This is a great opportunity to increase your GIS skills using material that is normally only available to BDRI students and staff. Quantum GIS (also known as QGIS) offers a free, open source, easy-to-use alternative to commercial GIS software packages, and is increasingly used in research centers and universities around the world.

(Available anytime "on demand", in English and Spanish)


- (ECO1) Introduction to coastal cetacean ecology

This training course provides extensive information on the techniques and methodology used in the study of populations of marine mammals and, more specifically, in the investigation of the ecology of cetaceans. This online course will introduce participants to the design and selection of the most appropriate methods to characterize the state of a cetacean population. This course also contains practical material and bibliographic information. The wide variety of topics covered in this course offers a wide vision that goes from field research techniques applied to cetaceans to notions about the biology of species, providing students with the necessary notions for a greater understanding of studies on cetaceans.

(Available anytime "on demand", in English and Spanish)



We are currently in the process of developing the following courses. Although these courses are not yet accessible on demand, they can be specifically customized and conducted live. Contact us for details regarding fees and further information.


- (AC2) Cetacean bioacoustics 2 - Advanced course on the study of dolphin acoustic signals

This specialized course is offered exclusively for those who previously participated in the introductory course on cetacean bioacoustics. During this course and under the supervision of the instructor, participants will acquire the theoretical-practical notions necessary to begin a bioacoustic study on communication in cetaceans that include the classification and analysis of the vocalizations of cetaceans. The course also includes information on the use of passive acoustic detection methods (PAM), their applicability and limitations as well as on the impact of noise pollution on cetaceans.


- (BEH1) Cetacean behaviour: Research methods and techniques

This course introduces participants to the study of ethology. This includes notions about the sampling methodology and research techniques used in the study of the behavior of marine mammals, and more particularly of cetaceans. The variety of topics covered in this course offers a broad overview of the behavior characteristics of dolphins, whales and porpoises as well as a detailed overview of the concepts and methodology of field research. This training course aims to provide a specialization in behavioral methods, focusing in particular on the main behavioral patterns as well as the sampling of associated behavioral events. Course participants will receive complementary material to put into practice the knowledge acquired with a global and integrated approach to understanding the complexity of behavior in cetaceans.


- (PID1) Photo-identification and the study of cetacean social systems

This advanced course provides detailed information on photo-identification techniques for non-invasive tracking of individuals (tagging and recapture) of cetaceans. This course is designed for participants of different levels of experience (from passionate people who want to know how social life is identified and studied to professionals who want to increase their knowledge and improve sampling techniques). The course includes notions that introduce students to the social life of different species of cetaceans as well as practical aspects to take into consideration in the samplings to make estimates of abundance, habitat, and social relations of cetaceans. As a result of participating in this course, attendees will obtain a deeper vision of the concepts and methodology associated with the use of photo-identification for the study of the social life of these species.


- (CON1) Conservation and management of cetacean populations

A science-based response to conservation problems created by interactions between human activities (fisheries, aquaculture, and tourism) and dolphins critically depends on accurate knowledge of the impacts caused by the interactions. This course provides the information necessary to study these interactions and make appropriate decisions for the conservation of the species. This course provides a wealth of knowledge and information from ongoing research related to marine mammal conservation, achieving an integrated approach to addressing human-cetacean conflicts and advice on their mitigation. This course will introduce students to some of the methods available to assess the impact of human activities on cetacean populations. Similarly, attendees will gain a deeper insight into the various factors that influence the incidental capture of cetaceans, and will learn about the importance of local, national and international policies that aim to protect these species.


- (STAT1) Introduction to wildlife research statistics

Statistics is a fundamental pillar in the process of scientific research. Despite this, people who study wildlife often have problems understanding and applying statistical knowledge. The objective of this course is to bring statistics in a simple and applied way to all those students and professionals who want to increase their knowledge on the subject and thus be able to apply it in their studies. This course has been designed taking into account the shortcomings and "fears" of students and professionals when using statistics in their studies thanks to the experience of the instructor acquired in the follow-up of more than 100 masters and doctorates from different universities worldwide. The course includes theoretical lessons accompanied by practical exercises with real data on animal populations and in particular with examples on cetaceans that help participants understand the knowledge necessary to apply the appropriate statistical techniques. This course is a great opportunity for inexperienced people as well as students and professionals to boost their skills in the use of statistics for the study of wildlife.


Feel free to contact us to receive the course outline (


Dolphin research courses Studying dolphins in Spain Marine mammal research and conservation courses



Tailor-made Online Training Courses

In addition our courses, the BDRI can provide tailor-made online training courses to groups or individuals upon request. Personalized courses can be organized for individuals (scientists, university or high-school students...) or groups (e.g. schools, universities and organizations) on a wide range of marine mammal research topics, from basic to advanced levels. Additionally, teaching strategies, language and dates can be adapted to suit individual requirements and learning goals.


"On Demand" Courses

As of January 2024, the following three courses are now available to be taken online "on demand" (in English and Spanish):

AC1, ECO1 and GIS1

Feel free to contact us at to register.



Our Online Training Courses are delivered in English and Spanish.


Course Fee

€50 for each available Online Training Course. Each Online Training Course consists of two 45-minute theoretical online lectures (including lectures, certificate of attendance and supplementary educational materials).



Several of our Online Training Courses are now available "on demand" (AC1, GIS1 and ECO1).



Within two weeks of the end of the course, all attendees receive a certificate of attendance. Each certificate bears the official BDRI stamp with the instructor's signature and the participant's name.


The training courses are open to anyone willing to learn about marine mammal science.

Anyone intending to receive academic credit for these courses will be responsible for making all arrangements with their educational institutions.



Send us an email at to sign up and be part of our online course mailing list. Once signed up, you will receive information about any upcoming courses, including course topic and content, dates, languague and payment options.


For any additional questions related to our courses, feel free to contact us at:


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