I participated in the BDRI´s program in August 2017 as an intern and it was an incredible experience that I seriously recommend to everyone.
This has been my first experience studying cetaceans in the wild and I have learned a lot.
If the weather was Ok we usually went out on the boat where we were looking for dolphins and almost everyday we saw a lot of them and right after leaving the harbor. Depending on your position on the boat (the front, back or top) you had to do different things. However during the day the positions on the boat were rotated so we had the opportunity to perform all different tasks during boat based surveys. Every 20 mins it was survey time and we had to collect different data.
When we were on presence we studied their behavior.
We did not just studied the behavior of Bottlenose dolphins, also of all the cetaceans we saw, like harbour porpoises and common dolphins.
Moreover, we did Land based field work in Rons, which is similar to boat surveys, but in land with scopes and binoculars. In every survey we had to count and identificate all the birds species (L,Lf,Lr,P,Ss...), boats etc.
At the lab we usually worked on Photo ID, transcribing all the data, working with GIS or in acoustics! Here in the lab we usually worked in pairs and for me that´s better because you learn to work with different people and it is also helpful because, for instance, in photo ID if you don't identificate one individual your partner can do it, so 4 eyes see more than 2.
Also in the lab they tried to change the people we worked with so we could get to know everyone and they tried to put us in different tasks everyday so that we learnt how to do everything, so at the end of the internship you have worked al least once in everything. In the lab everything was very well organized, so it was very easy to continue with the work that other people had started. I've learned a lot about being organized with my work.
At the end of the internship we had to do a presentation about a topic related with cetaceans and it was a good chance to learn doing research and also while listening to the others. Mine was related with my thesis, and I have to thank Bruno for all his help with the statistics and everything.
All the BDRI staffs very profesional, and you learn a lot from them. They don't hesitate to answer all your questions and if you are very interested in something and you ask, they usually let you do it.
We usually had the weekends off and we used them to relax and visit other places like Cies or Ons islands, going to the beach... On the free time there are plenty things you can do in O Grove like going surfing to La Lanzada or going into the catamaran to try mussels and wine that is a lot of fun!
Another thing that I found very interesting about this experience is that I feel I have grown as a person, because I haven't learned just about dolphins, also about life. It has been my first time living outside and for example I learned to cook and many more things! I've also met people from all over the world and I've learned things from different cultures and I´ve improved my english talking with them. I made a lot of new friends that I will never forget and for sure I will keep in touch with them.
I want to thank all the "Literns" because this time without them wouldn't have been the same, and to Séverine and Bruno for all their help and sharing all their knowledge. And, of course, the intern coordinator Oriol for all his patience, teaching us the birds and how to clean, and helping us with everything.
It was an incredible experience and I hope to be able to go back soon! Doing this internship also have helped me to know that I want to orientate my future to the marine biology!