I study Animal Sciences at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in the United States. When I first started my remote internship, I thought it would be like learning like I am at the university. I was extremely wrong where I had the freedom and flexibility to customize my remote internship – how I learn, how I work, and how I thrive.

I was very excited by all the information given to me and had the option to choose which study I wanted to focus on. For example, doing a photo-identification study of the short-beaked common dolphin, Delphinus delphis, population in the Mediterranean or a behavioral study using software to watch and log different common behaviors of the dolphins.

Both options were very enticing to me! If I were to study the behaviors of cetaceans, I would become well-versed in software involving behavior monitoring, and connected to many people who I could work for. If I were to start the photo identification project, I would get experience in population monitoring, which can increase my skills related to marine mammal populations across the world, as well as deciphering between different individuals. With either of these experiences, it can set me up perfectly for a job with other marine scientists after I graduate from college.

For my remote internship, I chose to focus on the behaviors of the short-beaked common dolphin in the Mediterranean. I reviewed boat survey footage of dolphin encounters, to analyse their behavior within the pod. It was so much fun! This benefited the Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation in the short term, by progressing their studies and data analysis. Long term, my study efforts contribute toward the efficacy of boat surveys and drone surveys, to normalize dolphin behavior monitoring.

The data collection was a highlight for me, as I loved watching the dolphin videos every day and trying to learn what they are doing and how the pod behavior affects individuals. It was so much fun watching the dolphins swim right next to the boat – that it made me want to go to Greece and collect the video data myself!

My most significant learning points of the remote internship were time management and communication. In the beginning, it was a bit challenging, but once I got into a routine, everything started flowing and I got more and more excited about my data until it became all I wanted to talk about or work on. For communication, I became more proactive when asking questions and contributing my thoughts. This made me feel more confident and heard in a big organization.

I feel more empowered in my field because now I have experience in behavior analysis, which can set me apart from other job applicants. Dolphin behavior studies are very few, so being a part of a big picture with a large organization is awesome! This internship also allowed me to become even more excited to jumpstart my career, plus opened my eyes to even more job opportunities.

It is widely known that for a person in marine science to get a “good job,” they must complete internships and boost up their resume. With this internship, I was able to expand my experience in marine-related science, as well as increase my knowledge of how marine populations are surviving in this world.

Taylor Peterson
Student of Animal Sciences at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA
Remote intern at Archipelagos’ Marine Mammal Research Team