Mote’s Sea Turtle Care, Training and Research program is responsible for the aquarium's four non-releasable sea turtles (two Caretta caretta, one Chelonia mydas and one Lepidochelys kempii). Routine care involves daily feeding, implementation of environmental enrichment, tank maintenance, water chemistries, exhibit upkeep, as well as involvement in husbandry and research training. These turtles provide a valuable opportunity to study many aspects of sea turtle biology that are difficult to understand in wild animals. Currently, staff scientists are studying hearing abilities through trained behavioral responses. There is also the opportunity to conduct independent research projects and gain valuable experience in the field of animal care and sea turtle research. During summer the Sea Turtle Care team is also responsible for the hatchling hospital. Approximately 1,000 hatchlings pass through the hospital each year with varying levels of care needed. Interns will help with care and release of these animals.
Duties and Responsibilities:
- Diet preparation and feeding of animals in sea turtle exhibit.
- Maintenance of exhibit tanks: includes daily cleaning, checking and regulating water chemistries and maintaining the filtration systems.
- General cleaning and upkeep of the entire public display area.
- Assist in daily research and husbandry training with all resident turtles, including an ongoing research project to determine hearing abilities in adult loggerhead turtles.
- Public interaction: provide accurate information to visitors about sea turtles in general and the resident turtles in particular, including narrating any training sessions to better educate the aquarium visitors.
- Maintaining accurate daily logs and entering records into a database.
- Extra projects are encouraged to further involve and educate the public and to provide extra enrichment for the turtles.
- Assist with care, rehabilitation and release of sea turtle hatchlings during hatching season (June to October). Interns must provide their own reliable transportation during season so that they can assist with hatchling releases.
- Students must be enrolled in an accredited university or college program at the undergraduate or graduate level, or be a recent college graduate.
- Most of the work is conducted in front of the visitors, so good presentation and public speaking skills are a must.
- Able to tolerate humid Florida weather.
- Ability to work well in a team but also independently.
- Experience in animal care and/or training is beneficial but not essential.
- Current SCUBA certification is not required but is encouraged and may be acquired during the internship.
- International students must speak English fluently.
- Able to commit to 40 hours, or 5 days per week.