Are you looking for an MSc project in Marine Mammals Science?


The Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute (BDRI) invites applications for dissertation/thesis projects in a dynamic, international, and competitive research environment. The main research topics of the BDRI include cetacean’s ecology, ethology, ecological modeling and bioacoustics, with focus on bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoises, and other coastal cetacean species. Highly motivated master students in the fields of zoology, marine biology, veterinary and related disciplines are invited to apply for a thesis project at the Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute (BDRI).


Below you can see a list of the thesis topics that will be offered at BDRI’s headquarters in O Grove, Spain.


The thesis is often seen as the culmination of graduate work, and it is the formal product. To carry out a thesis with the BDRI means that you, as a part of one of our long-term research projects (that will be assigned to you) will extract your thesis work. You will collect data in the field and analyse and interpret it in the lab. The main parts of your thesis should be ready before leaving the research station. You will during all the work be under direct supervision of the chief biologist and director Bruno Diaz Lopez.


The BDRI has an already developed methodology for data collection in the field, we collect different types of variables that will be used to answer questions regarding the studied animals and their surroundings. It is very important to understand that it is ultimately the student’s responsibility for making adequate progress toward completion of his or her thesis and for producing high quality work. Remember, the thesis project should be the result of work that is independently conducted. Our centre understands the importance of giving the participant the responsibilities and experience which give an insight and reflect the ones of a true future job in the field of marine mammal science. Hence, you will be expected to think for yourself and work hard in order to apply the theory you have learnt in university, but also to learn new things through the process of performing your work. The role of the BDRI supervisor is to guide you during your thoughts and work. Helping to shape, refine and direct you in your choices and different steps of your dissertation.


Thesis projects.


BIOACOUSTICS. These projects will include analysis of bioacoustical and behavioural data recorded from two study areas characterized by different levels of anthropogenic impact (Mediterranean Sea from 2005 to 2013 and Atlantic waters from 2014 to 2016). These project will explore the use of social vocalizations in different geographic populations and different contexts looking for geographic and contextual similarities in social sound use. Outcomes of these studies will provide more information on the function of specific social vocalisations and influence of the environment. Applicants should have a strong interest in bioacoustics, and previous experience in acoustic analysis techniques (preferred).


BEHAVIOUR. These projects will include analysis of behavioural data recorded from two study areas (Mediterranean Sea from 2005 to 2013 and Atlantic waters from 2014 to 2016). Outcomes of this study will provide more information on the impact of human activities on dolphins behaviour. Applicants should have a strong interest in ethology, and previous experience in behavioural data collection techniques (preferred).


ECOLOGY. These projects will include spatial analysis and creation of models from data recorded in Sardinia, Italy (from 2005 to 2013) and Galicia, Spain (from 2014 to 2016). Outcomes of this study will provide more information on the impact of human activities on cetaceans distribution. The Galician firths (Rías) on the North western coast of Spain have been identified as an area of year-round presence of bottlenose dolphins and harbor porpoises and are thus a suitable area for exploring the location of possible special areas of conservations (SACs) under the EU Habitats Directive. Applicants should have a strong interest in GIS and/or modelling, and previous experience in GIS use (preferred).


SOCIETY and MARK-RECAPTURE. These projects will include analysis of mark-recapture data recorded from two study areas (Mediterranean Sea from 2005 to 2013 and Atlantic waters from 2014 to 2016). Outcomes of this study will provide more information about dolphins society and the impact caused by human activites. Applicants should have a strong interest in photo-identification and social studies, and previous experience in photo-identification techniques (preferred).


Students will participate in an on-going, long-term research program dealing with marine mammals’ research in the Arousa Firth (NW Spain). The student is involved in planning, set-up, data collection, and data analysis of the project with supervision of Bruno Diaz Lopez (BDRI’s Director and Chief Biologist).

Many other projects can also be developed dealing with such things as mark-recapture techniques, impact of aquaculture, dolphins’ society, and ecological modeling. Consult with the BDRI Director to explore the possibilities.


We look for persons who are highly motivated, eager to learn, and have a positive attitude.

The BDRI is located in a pleasant, recently renovated research center sited at 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 bottlenose dolphin research due to the existence of a resident population. The BDRI is a very international environment, and the everyday working language is English.


The internships application written in English should include a cover letter explaining the applicant’s motivations, CV, copies of relevant certificates/diplomas, and if possible reference letter.

The application labeled ‘Application Thesis Project’ should be submitted via email at the Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute (

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


The BDRI is a private and self-funded centre, hence, there is no compensation for the internship positions. The tuition fee includes the tuition, accommodation in an apartment, and other expenses derived of your participation (housing, use of equipment, field trips by car, use of research vessel). There is financial aid available to students who need help paying for the internships. Successful applicants will be responsible for their own transportation expenses to and from the research centre (O Grove, Galicia, Spain).

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


Please download the internships and thesis general information here:


InternshipsThesis work


Send the application form, resume, recommendation letters, and cover letter by email to:

For more information about BDRI's research and conservation work, please visit our Facebook page.


Swim with us on Facebook


See you on site!

Programs <<


So, if you want to be a part of this unique experience and are a person who is interested in going abroad and obtaining hands-on experience in dolphins research, boat based field work, intensive training while having fun and meeting people from all over the world, then you should consider to participate in one of our programs.


Swim with us on Facebook