The Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute (BDRI) is a marine science center dedicated to research, education, and conservation of marine mammals and birds.


The mission of the BDRI since 2005 has been to study marine biodiversity and to educate scientists, students, decision-makers, and the public on scientific research and how to contribute to marine conservation. BDRI scientists conduct research across a wide range of subject areas such as the link between marine predators (cetaceans, otters, and marine birds) and their environment, cetacean society and population dynamics, the interaction between marine megafauna and human activities, and cetacean behaviour and acoustic communication.


Whales research and conservation Dolphins research and conservation Bottlenose dolphin research Marine birds research


The incredible diversity of cetaceans present in our study area (Galicia, NW Spain) allows the BDRI team to have several ongoing research projects focused on the study of the ecology and behaviour of common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena), Risso's dolphins (Grampus griseus), short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis), Risso’s dolphins (Grampus griseus), striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba), long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas), killer whales (Orcinus orca), sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus), beaked whales (3 different species), humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), sei whales (Balaenoptera borealis), fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus), and blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus). Moreover, Galician waters are also home to hundreds of species of marine birds, sharks and to the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra), which are also included in our studies. A variety of conservation issues affect the species in these waters, many of which are related to human activity, such as the interaction with fisheries (a significant cause of mortality), overfishing, aquaculture activities, oil spills, pollution, the effects of shipping noise, military activity, and tourism.



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Join the BDRI team

One of the aims of the BDRI is to train future marine mammal scientists by offering a wide range of programs and opportunities for students at all stages of their career. In addition to the marine research activities, we have rigorous educational programs providing work experience opportunities: internship positions, volunteering, training courses, and university project placements for bachelor and master students throughout the year.


Internship in marine mammal science Volunteering with dolphins and whales Marine mammal research courses


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 scientific research, boat-based field work, intensive training while having fun and meeting people from all over the world, then these are the programs for you.


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The BDRI performs systematic surveys to monitor marine mammals and marine birds along the Galician coast (Atlantic waters, NW Spain), as it is a place with a great array of research questions to be answered regarding these animals and their environment. Surveys are carried out both from the coast and on-board the BDRI's research vessels in coastal and pelagic waters of Galicia.


Humpback whale in Galicia Bottlenose dolphins and aquaculture Blue whale in Galicia Studying whales in Spain


BDRI’s reputation and success rest solidly on its ability to publish multiple scientific studies in prestigious scientific journals. BDRI members seek to contribute to the understanding and conservation of marine mammals and marine birds, expand the public's knowledge and concern for our marine environment, and add to the scientific knowledge through the publication of scientific articles from our own field data.


BDRI's scientists work collaboratively with various research institutions in order to advance knowledge of the marine environment and highlight the importance of marine biodiversity conservation. At the same time, they also train future generations of marine scientists and are committed to understanding and reducing the impact of human activities on the marine ecosystems. All research at the BDRI is conducted under a special Research Permit delivered by the Spanish Government.


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