COAST Student Internships Summer 2022


NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service

Southwest Fisheries Science Center​​​​​

Coastal, Marine, and Natural Resource Social Science Research


Host: NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation's living marine resources through scientific research, fisheries management, enforcement, and habitat conservation. The Southwest Fisheries Science Center​ (SWFSC) provides scientific information to support fisheries management and conserve protected species in the California​ Current, throughout the Pacific Ocean, and in the Southern Ocean off Antarctica. The SWFSC’s Fisheries Ecology Division (FED) studies California demersal and anadromous fishes, their fisheries, and their habitats. Demersal species under study include rockfishes, flatfishes, Pacific whiting, sablefish, and lingcod. Anadromous species include coho and chinook salmon, steelhead, and green sturgeon. Results of this research are used by the Pacific Fishery Management Council to manage fisheries and by NOAA Fisheries to manage threatened and endangered species and their habitats. 

Location: Santa Cruz; planning for in-person participation but hybrid or remote participation may be offered or required based on circumstances.

Internship Dates: June 1 - August 16, 2022; start and end dates 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 weeks, 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: The Fisheries Economics Team is a program within the Fisheries Ecology Division that conducts social science research on issues important to the management of fisheries, protected spe​cies, and ecosystems. The team focuses on three areas: water quality and allocation issues that affect protected fish habitat, use and economic value of ocean and coastal resources, and economic and social dynamics of fishing fleets and communities with an emphasis on groundfish and salmon fisheries.

One (1) internship is offered to work with the Fisheries Economics Team on a project within one of the following areas based on their interests: 

Water resource economics

  • Evaluation of impacts of changes in surface water allocation on economic and social outcomes (such as agricultural employment and production);
  • Evaluating and tabulating water and crop production subsidies associated with irrigated agriculture for use in cost benefit and environmental justice analyses of water allocation and habitat protection programs; or
  • Evaluation of the effects of land use decisions on water use and instream flow for salmonid habitat.

Salmon habitat restoration

  •  Characterization and tabulation of costs of salmon restoration on the West Coast; or
  • Cost effectiveness analysis of habitat investments (such as hydropower relicensing and dam removal decisions, floodplain restoration, land and water purchases).  

Seafood demand

  • Meta-analysis of the current scientific literature on seafood ecolabels and their influence on consumer purchasing behavior; 
  • Review of seafood traceability technology including blockchain (e.g., “bait to plate” traceability) and its use in verifying the origin of seafood we consume; or 
  • Evaluation and description of economic and cultural values associated with the California live fish fishery for groundfish or Tribal and Indigenous fisheries in California. ​

Science communication

  • Creation of a StoryMap (see this for an example) or R Shiny app to communicate coastal, marine, and natural resource science to the general public, with an emphasis on social science research. The StoryMap would focus on one of the following topics: salmon habitat restoration in California; how resource economics and other social sciences can inform the conservation and management of salmon or groundfish species in the Central Valley or Delta; commercial and/or recreational fisheries that target salmonids and groundfish species, and how their activities contribute to coastal and inland communities; or how Indigenous and Tribal science and cultural perspectives complement West Coast salmonid management.​

​​Preferred Experience and Capabilities: Intern must be interested in social science (e.g., economics, political science, geography, sociology, psychology, anthropology) and marine or coastal fisheries or endangered species issues. Some experience with data analysis or statistics (R or other statistical software) is preferred but not required. However, the intern must be interested in working with data sets and learning data analysis and programming skills. Interest in reading scientific literature, specifically environmental and resource economics literature, is also strongly preferred. Coursework in economics, statistics, quantitative or qualitative research methods, and/or other social science coursework is preferred but not required. 

Skills Gained: The intern will develop data management, quantitative analysis, and written and oral communication skills while also contributing to research that informs natural resource management. The intern will learn firsthand how social science research integrates with natural science research (e.g., fisheries biology, ecology, molecular biology) in understanding social-ecological systems and about policies and scientific research to conserve and sustain coastal, marine, and natural resources in California. The intern will gain experience and increase their proficiency in data analysis, statistics, and science communication to technical audiences and the general public.

Eligibility/Requirements: The intern must be willing to work independently in a friendly, team-oriented environment and interact with a diverse range of colleagues in a professional and courteous manner. The intern must be a U.S. citizen and must pass a federal background investigation, including fingerprints and character references. ​​​Applicants are also subject to gener​al eligibility requirements.


Return to Announcement for Application and Addition​al Require​ments​​​