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Cognitive & Behavioral Marine Mammal Research - Dolphin Lab Adult Focused Career Series Course

Course Information

Cognitive & Behavioral Marine Mammal Research is part of our focused career series DolphinLab programs. The course is a seven-day program that provides an in-depth, hands-on immersion into the field of marine mammal science.

Cognitive & Behavioral Marine Mammal Research surveys a wide-range of knowledge, theories and ongoing research concerning dolphins.

By working with staff on actual DRC research studies, students gain a greater understanding of the cognitive abilities and social behavior of these amazing animals, as well as deeper insight into research concepts and methodology. As they are introduced to DRC and its resident dolphin population, students learn to respect each dolphin as an individual through observation of their unique behavioral and physical characteristics.

The course includes a unique blend of seminars, observation time and hands-on activities and proves that learning about research is not only fascinating, but also fun! Class sizes average six to fourteen students to ensure individualized instruction.

Seminars Include:

  • Marine Mammal Training Techniques
  • Physiological Research
  • Research Project Design
  • DRC’s Current Research
  • Marine Mammal Cognition
  • Marine Mammal Research Law Requirements
  • Behavior & Ecology
  • Acoustics & Communication
  • Career Pathways & Requirements

Hands-On Activities Include:

  • Assist research staff in conducting current research sessions
  • Learn to conduct independent observation sessions
  • Participate in additional research activities
  • One Dolphin Encounter
  • One Play with a Dolphin session
  • A dock side signal session

Additional Activities Include:

Daily informal discussions with research staff and informal observational time with the dolphins.

College Credit:

Students may elect to receive college credit for attending this course. Credit is available through the Florida Keys Community College for an additional fee. In order to receive credit, students must successfully complete all course activities and pass an end of course exam. College credit details.


The cost of Cognitive & Behavioral Marine Mammal Research is $1800.00 ( US). Tuition includes all seminars, activities, meals, lodging, and photographs of your dolphin interactions throughout the week.  The cost of course also includes transportation to and from the Marathon Airport or Marathon hotels at pre-established times that will be provided after you are a confirmed student.


Students must successfully complete Basic DolphinLab before attending Cognitive and Behavioral Marine Mammal Research. Applicants are expected to have a strong interest in marine mammal science, careers in the field and be able to participate in an academically and physically rigorous schedule. The course is available to all students ages 18 and up.

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Our Mission - Through education, research and rescue, Dolphin Research Center promotes peaceful coexistence, cooperation and communication between marine mammals, humans and the environment we share with the well being of DRC's animals taking precedence.
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