Ethological Studies - Marine & Terrestrial

We are no longer accepting applicants to this program. Please check back to see when the next course will be offered, and remember to sign up early to avoid disappointment.

Full course dates: 20 May - 11 June 2012
Field dates: 20 - 31 May 2012
$2,450 per person (USD) (fee does not include airfare to Fort Lauderdale)
Field course location: Bimini & Blue Lagoon Island, Nassau, The Bahamas

Download the course flyer.

Course Description & Objectives

Students will be introduced to the study of animal behavior using a combination of lectures, readings, discussion, and hands-on research with both a wild dolphin group and a captive dolphin population. Lectures will focus on understanding animal behavior from an ecological and evolutionary perspective. Readings and discussion will focus on current research and methodology. Fieldwork will allow students to develop the skills necessary to conduct animal behavior research and to demonstrate these skills by participating in independent research with senior scientists at the field location.

Dolphin Communication Project

The Dolphin Communication Project (DCP) is focused on the dual goals of scientific research and education: we take results from research projects and disseminate them into educational programs for students of all ages. DCP has a team of researchers (graduated professionals, graduate students, undergraduate interns and volunteers) who work together to examine how dolphins communicate in order to shed more light on the meaning of the interactions between individuals and groups. We have 3 active field sites that include wild and captive dolphins of 3 species. DCP collaborates with vessel operators from Bimini and Dolphin Encounters to study dolphins ranging in age from a few months to more than 30 years old. Please contact us for more details.

Class Format & Attendance

The class takes place at two field locations and attendance at all lectures, activities, and training sessions is mandatory. The format of the classroom meetings will be discussion-oriented. Questions and class participation are strongly encouraged. Training sessions (at Dolphin Encounters) and research hours are also mandatory for the safety of the student and the animals.

Course Structure

Non-travel portions of this course will be completed remotely, via the free internet communication program, Skype. Exact dates and times are to be determined. Contact us for a copy of the tentative syllabus.

Daily Activities in the Field

Daily lectures and field observations will be completed. The exact schedule each day is dependent on weather and other logistics. Students will also be divided into teams which will rotate in assisting with data collection for DCP's long-term, longitudinal study on the Bimini and DE dolphins.

Lodging in the Field

On Bimini, lodging will be at Sea Crest Hotel & Marina. Lodging in Nassau is yet to be determined.

Travel to the Field

Students are responsible for their own travel to and from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Travel to Bimini from Florida and return to Fort Lauderdale from Nassau is included in the course fee. Please check with your airline at the time of booking for baggage allowances and other restrictions. US Citizens are required to travel with a valid passport. Students with other citizenship should check with their native country.

Food in the Field

3 meals a day are included in your course fee. Most meals are served family style in association with our lodging. Typical meals include fresh fruits and vegetables, rice or pasta, and a rotation of beef, chicken or fish. You must inform us of special dietary restrictions at the time of registration. Snacks or other treats are your responsibility.

Weather Conditions in the Field

The Bahamas is a tropical island with temperatures into the mid-high 80's F in thespring/summer months.

Money in the Field

The US dollar is accepted in The Bahamas. Major credit cards, traveler's checks and cash can be used to purchase incidentals.


  • 10 nights’ accommodation (triple or quad occupancy)
  • 3 meals/day
  • 4 dolphin boat trips from Bimini for research
  • Lectures & instruction by Drs. Kathleen Dudzinski and Rebecca Singer (Georgetown College, KY)
  • Gratuity on Bimini (hotel, cook, boat crew)
  • Airport/hotel transfers in The Bahamas
  • Certificate of completion (upon request)

Total: $2,450* per person course fee which includes round trip flight between FL and The Bahamas.

*air travel to Florida is NOT included

*mask, fins, snorkel and wetsuit can be rented on Bimini. Associated fees are not included in the course fee.

* Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.?%0A%0ASubject=RIMSFieldCourse" mce_' + path + '\'' + prefix + ':' + addy63459 + '\'>'+addy_text63459+'<\/a>'; //--> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for details on paying by check. Credit card payments received at the link below.

We require a minimum of 8 students, maximum of 16 students. You must be at least 18 years old to participate.

Who can participate?

Anyone fluent in English and over 18 years old can participate. However, students currently enrolled in a degree-seeking program are given first-priority. Registration for non-matriculated students will open, space available, 1 January 2012.


Payment options include PayPal or U.S. currency check issued by a U.S. bank. A non-refundable deposit of 20% is required at the time of booking. Full payment is required by 28 February 2012. Contact DCP for details on our refund policy.


DCP’s Director, Dr. Kathleen Dudzinski via our contact page.

Dolphin Communication Project
P.O. Box 711
Old Mystic, CT 06372-0711

Contact Us

Write to us via snail-mail at:

Dolphin Communication Project
P.O. Box 7485
Port St. Lucie, FL, 34985

Email us:

info {at} dcpmail {dot} org

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