There are several Coral Health and Disease programs and projects that accept interns. If interested, please apply for Coral Health and Disease Program in your internship application, but specify one or several of the following programs or projects in your statement of interest.
Coral Health and Disease
The Coral Health and Disease Program focuses on the susceptibility and resilience of corals to major stressors such as climate change, ocean acidification, and disease. Coral disease is one of the greatest threats to reefs around the world, causing catastrophic losses when outbreaks occur. Research may include conducting wetlab exposure experiments, laboratory assays and molecular research, and computer-based data retrieval and analyses. Daily duties will include care and maintenance of wetlab space and participation in currently funded research projects. Interns will become familiar with command-driven computer programs such as R and develop basic biological statistics skills. Laboratory assays may include DNA extractions, PCR, DGGE, photophysiology, and morphometric analyses of coral health states. Opportunities to conduct field work will be minimal.
Hours are Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm, with occasional long hours and weekends.
Coral Reproduction and Adaptation at IC2R3
A major concern surrounding the survival and persistence of corals reefs is whether stony corals can adapt fast enough to keep pace with unprecedented rates of environmental change associated with climate change. Better understanding resistance and tolerance traits is important for being able to evaluate the adaptive potential of a population/species and harnessing the sexual cycle of corals allows access to a greater number of propagules and thus genetic diversity. Therefore, the objective of this research project is to investigate the genetic basis (heritability) of disease resistance in the threatened species, Acropora cervicornis (staghorn coral), by performing intraspecific controlled crosses and mesocosm experiments. Components of this project include fieldwork (diving and snorkeling), wet lab (fertilization, larval propagation, disease exposure and physiology assays), coral husbandry (larval settlement and sexual recruit rearing), dry lab (molecular analyses), and computer work (data entry and analysis). The overall goal of this work is to assist and accelerate naturally-occurring evolutionary processes for enhancing certain traits of interest and advancing resilience-based coral reef restoration strategies.
This project is based at the Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research and Restoration (IC2R3) on Summerland Key, Florida. Interested interns may have a discrete skillset (e.g. coral husbandry) and assist with a specific portion of the project or a broad skillset (e.g. field and lab experience) and be involved with multiple aspects. Interested divers should preferably be AAUS certified. This project will include working under difficult field conditions (i.e. night operations during coral spawning), as well as occasional long days and weekends. Interns will become familiar with scientific literature, evolutionary concepts, experimental design, data analysis software, as well as have the opportunity to gain professional development in the form of written/oral communication and graduate school preparation.
If interested, please specify Coral Reproduction and Adaptation in your statement of interest.