Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute BDRI

O Grove, Spain, Europe
The Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute (BDRI) is a marine science center dedicated to research, education, and conservation of marine mammals (dolphins, whales and porpoises) and birds

Volunteering Activities

Conservation Work

What We Need

One of the aims of the Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute is to train future marine mammal scientists by offering a wide range of programs and opportunities for students at all stages of their careers.

These programs enable aspiring marine scientists to work alongside leading marine biologists as they undertake ground-breaking research on marine mega-fauna (cetaceans & marine birds) in one of the most productive oceanic regions on the world (Galicia, North-western coast of Spain).

Our educational programs aim to prepare students for a professional career in the research of marine mammals and marine birds research and conservation of the marine environment. This is a great opportunity for marine mammal enthusiasts to gain an insight on hands-on research with dolphins, whales, and porpoises along the Galician coast, in North Western Spain.

The volunteering program is dedicated to those who are interested to learn about marine mammal research and conservation. No specific experience is required to participate as a volunteer with the BDRI. This is a unique opportunity for you to step right into and experience what real life cetacean research means, it is an incredible experience that will not only set you apart from the crowd on your resume, but will also allow you to develop an array of valuable skills beyond that of typical volunteering.

Working with a mentor, volunteers and interns gain field and laboratory experience using various scientific methods. Volunteers work with other interns and volunteers, side by side with experienced researchers in order to collect different types of data, using various scientific methods, and help in the field and in the lab in general. Volunteers are trained to participate with multiple projects involving a combination of boat-based and land-based surveys. Volunteers participate in the transcription of the collected data, with the database work, use various software, perform photo-identification analysis, and more.

Benefits of a bottlenose dolphin research volunteering:
- Develop valuable skills beyond that of a typical internship
- Gain experience in fieldwork and lab work, obtain general knowledge about bottlenose dolphins, their conservation and the marine environment
- Learn about different research instruments and techniques
- Take responsibility for your work and become a part of a research project
- Meet, work and live with people from all over the world
- Enjoy the outdoors of beautiful Galicia, Spain

When & Who

The project runs from January to November every year.
Yes, we require a minimum of 5 Days
You can join this project as a volunteer a minimum of 5 days, and as an intern for a minimum of 30 days, with no maximum stay.

What we Provide

Types: Volunteer House

The research base is located in the beautiful town O Grove, in the Galician region on the north-western coast of Spain. The BDRI provides accommodation for the staff, interns and volunteers to be able to live close to the BDRI research lab, harbour, supermarkets, beaches, bank, and pharmacies. The accommodation is a fully equipped apartment with several bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and a living room.

Each participant shares a room with up to 3 other people. Basic bedding is provided (bed sheet, pillow and pillowcase, thin duvet and duvet cover). Participants can bring an extra blanket/sleeping bag, especially during cold and cool months. The BDRI does not provide bath towels, personal toiletries etc. The kitchen has a full set of cooking utensils, a microwave, an oven, a kettle and a toaster. There is a washing machine located in the apartment. The apartment has a television and a reliable supply of 220-volt electricity with a standard European plug. There is free WIFI available at the apartment.
Interns are responsible for their own food preparation, cleaning and free-time activities. There are several supermarkets and pharmacies very close to the apartment. There are many local restaurants and bars in O Grove that offer seafood, fast food, roast dinners and vegetarian foods. Galician specialties and other fresh groceries can be found in many small delicacy shops. All the vegetables that are consumed in O Grove come from the Salnés valley. Every season, they cultivate these products traditionally, in vegetable gardens and greenhouses. Lettuce, tomato, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, potatoes, onions and all kinds of greens, are frequently found at the market of O Grove. There is also a fish market, open from Monday to Saturday year-round, where fishers sell many different species of local fish daily.
The hospital, post office, and police station are also located very close to the apartment.

Wifi & Satellite
Hot Water
Laundry Service
Purified Drinking Water

Our Fees

$110 daily

The costs to join the Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute as a volunteer vary depending on how long you would like to stay:

For a stay between 5 and 29 days: USD 110 (100 Euros) per day
For a stay of 30 days or more: USD 55 (50 Euros) per day

The program is open to applicants 18 years of age or older. Individuals with an academic background in biology, veterinary or natural science, coupled with motivation and interest in marine research make the most qualified individuals. Start and end dates are flexible depending on the needs of the institute and the participant´s availability, but the position requires a minimum of 5 days of continuous commitment sometime between January through to December, every year.

BDRI volunteering and internships are not paid and this training experience requires a tuition fee which is used to off-set the cost of training, use of research equipment, facilities and research vessels, shared accommodation, and other expenses (access to wifi, electricity, taxes, insurances, etc). Successful applicants are responsible for their own transportation expenses to and from the research centre (O Grove, Galicia, Spain).

The fee reflects the real world costs and expenses that go into making the research program possible and this volunteering program worthwhile. Unlike many other institutes, the BDRI is a self-funded research institute. This means there is no external funding and that the internship fees cover the expenses derived from the interns’ participation as well as contributing to the overall operations of the institute. The primary focus of the BDRI is to carry out various scientific research projects and educational program. This is reflected by the regular publication of scientific papers, supervision of numerous PhD, master and bachelor thesis projects every year and the collaboration with multiple universities and research institutions. The internship fee therefore does not only cover some of the expenses, but it is also a foundation that supports our ability to conduct such important research.

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More Services we Offer

May have additional fees
Pretrip Assistance
Social Activities

Contact Person

Bruno Diaz
Avenida Beiramar 192, O Grove, Spain.
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Additional Info about Us

Up to 5 people

Located in the coastal town of O Grove in Galica, Spain, volunteers and interns will have the opportunity to contribute to bottlenose dolphin, whale & porpoise conservation whilst gaining hands on field and laboratory experience.

In addition to the marine mammals research activities of the BDRI, the institute also undertakes a rigorous educational programme throughout the year. It is actively involved with volunteers, colleges and universities – providing work experience opportunities, internship positions and university project placements for under and post-graduate students throughout the year.

BDRI members seek to contribute to the understanding and conservation of dolphins, expand the public's knowledge and concern for our marine environment. Using study techniques that neither harm nor seriously disturb the animals, BDRI's researchers are engaged in the conduction of a long term study about the ecology and behaviour of a bottlenose dolphin population, as well as collecting detailed information about their environment.