The Ecotoxicology Program has two available positions. If interested, please apply for Ecotoxicology Program in your internship application, but specify one or both of the following positions in your statement of interest.

Ecotoxicology - Patricia Blum

The Ecotoxicology Program examines the origin and fate of toxic substances in the marine environment. Interns in this program would be involved in red tide and pesticide effects research projects. The red tide study involves accumulation of brevetoxins in clams and whelks and the persistence of neurotoxic shellfish poisoning in these organisms. The pesticide study includes toxicity tests with coral and lobster larvae as well as field monitoring pesticide applications. The intern would have the opportunity to be involved with red tide monitoring cruises, shellfish maintenance and would learn techniques of aquatic toxicology in areas of natural biotoxins as well as pesticides. College interns with good laboratory skills and chemistry background preferred, as their duties include sample preparation and extraction, instrument analysis and data entry and management.

Hours are Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm, with possible long hours on occasion.

Ecotoxicology - Aileen Maldonado

The Ecotoxicology Program studies the impact of natural toxins and human pollutants on marine organisms. Interns in this program will be involved with research on red tide mitigation, sunscreen, pesticides effects on fish, bivalves and other invertebrates. Our program uses analytical chemistry to isolate natural toxins and pollutants from water and tissue and measure them on LCMS/MS. Our ECOS laboratory is set up to conduct exposures on fish, mysid, corals, oyster, clams, etc. A project we are currently working on is to identify a compound to mitigate red tide and assess the impact that mitigation might have on the environment through tradition and innovative EPA ecotoxicology exposures.

Another project we are focused on addressing the impacts of red tide and pollutants (e.g sunscreens and pesticides) on corals by looking at molecular endpoints and sublethal effects on corals. Coral reefs are in decline due to climate and other human impacts. The hope of this research is to address the local issues that are impacting corals to help them better survive for future generations.

The unseen communication by marine organisms is happening all around us in the water, via chemical cues.  In the marine world, chemical cues have a very strong influence on deciding if an organism will eat, fight with, run from, or mate with the organism next to them. Scientists have been studying how organisms interact for centuries but only recently do we have the tools to understand the chemical signaling that is often responsible for these interactions. These cues can be so powerful that male crustaceans will guard, carry, and attempt to mate with golf balls if these have been treated with the correct pheromone (Asai et al. 2000, Hardege et al. 2002, Breithaupt & Thiel 2008). The projects currently being conducted to assess chemical communication are looking at the impact of red tide toxins of fish movement and predation. Another project is assessing butterflyfish chemical communication with coral health.

Hours are Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm, alternating weekends and holidays (for animal husbandry) with possible long hours on occasion.