Sea Turtle Conservation & Research: Nighttime Tagging Internship

Mote Marine Laboratory’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program (STCRP) has monitored sea turtle activity for over three decades. The program supports conservation of primarily loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green turtles (Chelonia mydas) along the Gulf Coast of Florida through the collection of fundamental biological data about the nesting, hatching, foraging, and migrations of sea turtles in Sarasota County. The STCRP is made up of a morning patrol team and a nighttime tagging team. The morning patrol consists of 3-4 staff members, 10-15 interns, and approximately 300 volunteers who monitor 35 miles of beach (Longboat, Lido, Siesta, Casey and Venice) for sea turtle activity. The nighttime tagging team consists of 2 staff members and 3-4 interns and monitors ~4 miles of beach on Casey Key.  The STCRP also works with agencies throughout the state to support conservation efforts for these federally protected marine turtles.

Internship Period

May 15th through August 10th (flexibility with start and end dates)


Interns will report to Nokomis Public Beach, 115 South Casey Key Road, Nokomis, FL for tagging field work.

Occasional office work at the Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program office at Mote Marine Laboratory, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL.

Intern Duties

Tagging Interns participate in the nighttime monitoring/tagging of nesting sea turtles. Each evening presents different training opportunities as there will be nights when no turtles are encountered and there will be nights when numerous turtle activities are taking place simultaneously. In general, Tagging Interns will be trained to do the tasks listed below:

  • Operate an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) at night, to patrol the beach in search of nesting sea turtles
  • Check nesting turtles for existing external flipper tags and internal Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags, and apply new tags when none are present
  • Take standard sea turtle measurements
  • Record all required data on applicable forms and validate data upon entry into database
  • Utilize online database to locate tag records
  • Communicate professionally with other STCRP personnel through phone and email
  • Collect data/samples for other projects approved by governing agencies
  • Organize/store collected samples according to established protocols
  • Assist in the attachment/deployment of satellite transmitters or data loggers used to monitor sea turtle activities
  • Maintain field equipment
  • Replenish tagging supplies
  • Educate the public about sea turtles, the hazards they face, and the proper actions humans should take when turtles are encountered

Tagging Interns participate in nighttime patrols from approximately 8pm-5am each day (including weekends), but will have two consecutive days off during the week. Tagging interns will primarily report to a field station on Casey Key and not to the Mote campus. Nighttime monitoring/tagging can be complicated by insects, heat, humidity and inclement weather.


College students or recent graduates that are responsible, adaptable, hard working, motivated to learn and have an attention to detail are encouraged to apply. Maturity and professionalism are necessary when working with the public, other STCRP staff members and STCRP volunteers. Specific requirements follow:

  • MUST HAVE A VALID DRIVER’S LICENSE AND DEPENDABLE VEHICLE; tagging interns are responsible for transporting themselves and field equipment in their own vehicles
  • A commitment to participate in nighttime monitoring/tagging for 10 weeks
  • A background or degree in Marine Science/Biology/Ecology or related field preferred
  • Research field experience preferred, but not required
  • Ability to handle high temperatures, humidity, and insects and carry up to 30 lbs
  • Ability to remain alert and focused during overnight hours
  • Ability to work closely with a small team
  • Basic computer proficiency.


There is no compensation for the STCRP Tagging Internship position. Interns will be responsible for their own transportation to and from  Nokomis and Sarasota and living expenses during the time of the internship.

Scholarships are available from Mote Marine Laboratory through a competitive application process. Scholarship applications can be found on the Mote Internship Application webpage (referenced below).

Additional Instructions

If you are interested in applying for a Tagging Internship with the STCRP please:

  1. Complete and submit an internship application which can be found on the Mote Marine Laboratory College Internship page. On the application, when asked for your first choice program, choose Sea Turtle Conservation and Research – Tagging.
  2. Read over the application carefully and provide all the required materials to the Mote Intern Office (statement of interest, current college transcript, letter of recommendation, resume, etc.).

Incomplete applications may not be considered. Applicants may contact Gina Hodsdon at (941) 388-4441, ext. 269 or with any general questions related to Mote internships. Specific questions related to Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program internships can be directed to Dr. Jake Lasala.