COAST Student Internships Summer 2022

California State Lands Commission 

Marine Invasive Species Program Internship

Host: The California State Lands Comm​ission (CSLC) manages 4 million acres of tide and submerged lands and the beds of natural navigable rivers, streams, lakes, bays, estuaries, inlets, and straits along the entire coast of California and out to three miles offshore. The CSLC protects and enhances these lands and natural resources by issuing leases for use or development, providing public access, and resolving boundaries between public and private lands. Through its actions, the CSLC secures and safeguards the public’s access rights to natural navigable waterways and the coastline and preserves irreplaceable natural habitats for wildlife, vegetation, and biological communities.

The California State Lands Commission – Marine Invasive Species Program (CSLC-MISP) is a statewide program tasked with developing and implementing science-based policies to reduce the risk of introducing aquatic nonindigenous species into California waters through commercial shipping activities. The CSLC-MISP accomplishes this goal by identifying and funding targeted research, convening stakeholder discussions to inform policy development, and conducting outreach and enforcement of existing policies.

Location: Remote (we plan for remote participation because of uncertainty with our future telework policy and workplace restrictions). Depending on the location of the intern and the potential for in-person work, there may be opportunities for additional office-based or field-based projects, but these are not guaranteed and would only be in addition to the primary projects. 

Internship Dates: June 1 - August 16, 2022; start and end dates are flexible with regard to student’s academic commitments.

Stipend: $6,000. Up to $2,000 in additional funding will be available to students who must relocate to participate in the internship.​​​

Time Commitment: The internship is a full time, 11-week commitment. Over the 11-week period, the intern may take up to five days off for personal reasons, vacation, or illness. If participation is less than 100%, the stipend will be prorated.

Position Description and Responsibilities: California receives approximately 10,000 vessel arrivals at its ports every year. Each of these vessels may introduce nonindigenous species into California waters through either vessel biofouling or ballast water, or both. Biofouling refers to the organisms associated with underwater vessel surfaces (e.g., barnacles on a vessel hull). These organisms travel with the vessel wherever it trades. Ballast water is water taken up in one location for trim and stability of the vessel and then discharged in another location. This movement of ballast water also results in the movement of the planktonic community associated with that entrained water. 

The CSLC-MISP is responsible for the development, adoption, and implementation of regulations to reduce the risk of shipping-mediated introductions of nonindigenous species into California waters. 
One (1) internship is available to work with CSLC-MISP scientists on two projects (possibly three if in-person work is possible) associated with the implementation and enforcement of new ballast water management regulations:

  1. ​Collate, analyze, and summarize testing data from ballast water treatment system biological efficacy reports collected by CSLC inspectors during vessel inspections. Ballast water treatment systems are designed to reduce the concentration of living organisms in discharged ballast water tanks prior to discharge. This project will provide insight on the frequency of, and the factors contributing to, poor system performance and will help inform CSLC-MISP policies for prioritizing vessel inspections and targeted ballast water discharge sampling. 
  2. Participate in an active rulemaking action to adopt regulations outlining the process of enforcement, with penalties, of violations of ballast water and biofouling management requirements. The intern will work alongside CSLC-MISP scientists to summarize and respond to public ​​comments, complete the final rulemaking documents, and gain valuable experience on the process of regulation development and adoption.
  3. ​If in-person work is possible, the intern will trial ballast water sample analysis protocols, including the use of epiflourescent microscopy to quantify living planktonic organisms, to assess the feasibility of in-house sample analysis. ​
​​​​​​​​The intern will also interact with the CSLC Environmental Justice program and their CSU COAST intern, including participation in the CSLC Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) team meetings and planning for regional Environmental Justice outreach meetings.​​

The intern will produce a report covering the first and third (if possible) projects. The report will include a summary of the project, methods, results, and will make appropriate recommendations to the CSLC-MISP. In addition to producing the report described above, the intern will have the opportunity to present their results during informal web-based “lunch and learn” talks to CSLC colleagues in Sacramento, Hercules, and Long Beach.

Preferred Experience and Capabilities: Basic knowledge of marine biology, invasion ecology, basic statistics, and lab methods is preferred but not required. Experience with Excel and PowerPoint is a plus. The intern must be well organized and be capable of effective written and oral communication.

Skills Gained: The intern will gain a solid understanding of how shipping activities facilitate the movement of organisms around the world. The intern will gain firsthand experience working within a statewide program focused on prevention through vector management. The intern will have the opportunity to: 

  • Interact with an extensive network of state, federal, and international scientists and other stakeholders
  • Observe and participate in California’s process of developing and implementing regulations that will impact a global industry​

Eligibility/Requirements: The intern must be able to work independently and interact in a professional manner with MISP management, scientists and inspectors, and other stakeholders. Applicants are also subject to general eligibility requirements.

Return to Announcement for Applic​ation and Additional Requirements​