Coral Reef Ecological Processes Internship

The Coral Reef Ecological Processes internship is a new internship that provides broad, hands on training in the lab and field relating to the ecology of coral reef fauna communities.  This internship will be located at the brand-new Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research & Restoration (IC2R3) in Summerland Key, Florida.  Internships are available year-round.

The overarching goal of the CREP program is to better understand the processes that occur and structure coral reef communities.  This internship includes extensive field and lab components, and focuses more on consumers that live on coral reefs than corals themselves.  Current and potential projects include investigating the role of connectivity between seagrasses and coral reefs in shaping reef fish communities, better understanding the relationships between herbivorous fish and reef algae, evaluating the effectiveness of natural processes in controlling invasive lionfish predators, and re-establishing long-term shark fishing datasets for the lower keys.

Interns who are selected for this program will gain hands on experience on a variety of areas, including reef fish ID, construction of research field gear, experimental design, data processing and management, and more.  Some interns will undertake regular SCUBA diving to monitor experimental sites; as such, AAUS certification (or the capability to get it) is required for these positions.  Daily tasks will vary, but may include maintenance of experimental aquaria, construction of artificial seagrass units, gut content analysis, and fieldwork.  A major responsibility will be analyzing and processing video reef survey data collected in the field.  There may be opportunities for occasional forays into other research programs occurring at IC2R3, as circumstances allow.

While many of the internship responsibilities will be directly related to data collection and processing, detailed mentoring regarding experimental design, statistical methods, and best practices for undertaking ecological research will also be provided.  This includes training with reading, writing, and presenting research if interested.  Interns will therefore complete the internship with a well-rounded experience encompassing most of the research “process”, from design and construction of experiments and surveys to analysis of results.  Internships are unpaid, and interns are responsible for finding and paying for their own accommodations.  Intern-rate housing at the new IC2R3 facility may be available.

This internship may require the physical ability to lift 50 lbs to shoulder height, clean and maintain aquaria, and the ability to use computer workstations and lab stations, sometimes for prolonged periods of time.  Some internships will require the capability to SCUBA dive for long days (~8 dives per day).  Typical hours are daily from 8am-5pm, though occasional weekends or early starts on field days are possible.  If interested, please specify Coral Reef Ecological Processes in your statement of interest. 

Mentor: Dr. Robert Nowicki