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COAST Student Internships Summer 2023


NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service

Southwest Fisheries Science Center​​​​​

Deep-Water Data Analysis Internship


Host: NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) is dedicated to protec​ting 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) Santa Cruz Lab study 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 (map)

Format: Participation can be in-person, hybrid, or remote, depending on circumstances.​ ​

Internship Dates: June 1 - August 16, 2023

Stipend: $8,000

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 Habitat and Groundfish Ecology Team studies deep-water seafloor communities off the U.S. West Coast to provide sound scientific information to ensure the sustainability of marine fisheries and the effective management of marine ecosystems. We use submersible vehicles (e.g., remotely operated, human occupied, camera sleds) equipped with camera systems to conduct visual surveys to estimate the relative abundance of organisms and associated habitat types. From these data, densities of organisms and the composition of habitat types are calculated and used in analyses of distribution and abundance. The area of the transect is crucial to these calculations and is estimated from its width and length. The length of the transect is measured from the submersible’s position data.

The intern will assist fisheries researchers with evaluating how submersible position data processing (different levels of editing and smoothing) affects the length of the transect and resulting organism density estimates. GIS software (ArcGIS) will be used to plot and edit the raw position data and measure transect distances once the data are edited and smoothed. Density estimates will be calculated for different transect lengths and tested for statistical differences. 

​​Preferred Experience and Capabilities: Basic experience (i.e., plotting data) with ArcGIS is required. Some experience with basic data summaries and statistics is desired. 

Skills Gained: The intern will gain skills in GIS tools, data analysis, statistics, and written and oral communication. The intern will also gain an understanding of deep-water visual surveys, the technology involved, seafloor communities, and how the data collected are used for resource management. There will be opportunities to meet and interact with other interns and scientists, attend seminars and trainings, and learn about other research being conducted at the Santa Cruz Lab. There also may be opportunities for day trips at sea to participate in research. 

Eligibility/Requirements: The intern must be willing to work relatively 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​.​


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