COAST Student Internships Summer 2012

PRBO Seabird Diet Research Internship

Host: PRBO Conservation Science (PRBO;
PRBO Conservation Science (PRBO) is a non-profit organization founded in 1965 as Point Reyes Bird Observatory. PRBO conducts bird ecology research, creates management tools, leads field science training programs, and develops and delivers bird science education programs to advance biodiversity conservation in the west on land and at sea.

Location: Petaluma

Internship dates: June 1 – August 30, 2013; start and end dates flexible with regard to student’s academic commitments

Stipend: $2,500.00

Time Commitment: The intern must work 30 hours per week for 10 weeks (minimum of 300 hours) to receive the full stipend. Ideally, the intern will work 7.5 hours per day for four days per week.

Position Description and Responsibilities: One (1) internship is available to work with biologists in collecting data on seabird diet samples collected from different seabird colonies in Central and Southern California. The intern will work in the PRBO laboratory with PRBO biologists to analyze cormorant regurgitated pellets, dropped fish collected at a least tern colony, and least tern fecal samples to understand the species and sizes of fish being consumed by seabirds. Tasks include: sorting through regurgitations and fecal samples; cleaning and drying dropped fish; extracting otoliths (fish earstones) and other identifiable fish parts; identifying otoliths, dropped fish, and other fish parts; enumerating the number of each species in the regurgitation or fecal sample; measuring otoliths and dropped fish; recording all data on a datasheet; and entering data.

Preferred Experience and Capabilities: Experience with microscopes, ocular micrometers, microscope cameras, and imaging software a plus, but not required. Knowledge of California marine ecology, fish, and using identification guides a plus. Experience with Excel is necessary. Intern should enjoy working independently and have plenty of patience for long hours spent looking through a microscope, looking through samples, and identifying otoliths.

Skills Gained: The intern will gain knowledge of different fish species common to Central California waters and their importance in the marine ecosystem. Specific skills include knowledge about different fish species, important anatomical features of fish, and how to use identification guides and common laboratory equipment.

Eligibility / Requirements: Internships are geared toward upperclassmen (juniors/seniors) and science graduate students. Valid California State driver’s license and must have your own vehicle since transportation is not provided. Interns must be 18 years or older. Intern must have education/training in biology, ecology, and laboratory research techniques.