COAST Student Internships Summer 2023

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 and Format: This internship will be completely remote and can be done from anywhere in CA. However, there may be opportunities for office-based or field-based projects if the intern is located near Long Beach or within the greater San Francisco Bay Delta region. 

Internship Dates: June 1 - August 16, 2023

Stipend: $8,000

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 attached to underwater vessel surfaces (e.g., barnacles on a vessel hull). This is one mechanism by which species can move to a new location. Another mechanism is the discharge of ballast water. Ballast water is water taken up in one location for vessel stability and then discharged in another location. This may result in the introduction of nonindigenous species to a new area.

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 three projects:

  1. ​The intern will use an existing risk assessment model to prioritize arriving commercial vessels for boarding and inspection. The intern will use ballast water and biofouling sampling results to test the model’s predictions and refine the model if necessary. Depending on the intern’s location, they may be asked to participate in the sample/survey events in Long Beach and the San Francisco Bay Delta region over the summer. 
  2. The intern will assist with revising the CSLC-MISP global ports database to improve how we categorize different ports. The intern will research several different systems for classifying port regions (for example, by location or other similar qualities) and provide a list of advantages and disadvantages of each to help MISP staff select an appropriate system. The intern will then use the selected classification system to update the ports in the MISP global ports database.
  3. Joint project with the CSLC Environmental Justice program and their CSU COAST intern to create GIS maps showing the extent to which disadvantaged communities might experience impacts from invasive species along the California coast. The interns will use vessel-mediated nonindigenous species distribution data from the CDFW Cal-Nemo database and CalEnviroScreen data to create multi-layered GIS maps. The interns will also work together to create descriptive summaries of the maps created.

The intern will produce a summary report covering the first and second projects. The report will include a summary of the project, any methods used or results produced, and any 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.

Preferred Experience and Capabilities: Basic knowledge of marine biology, invasion ecology, basic statistics, GIS, 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 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 gener​al eligibility requirements​.

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