Application Deadline: March 1

Applications wil be accepted year-round with a deadline of March 1 for all three internship time frames available during subsequent nesting season (April-October).

Internship Period

There are three internship time frames available:

  • April-August (17 weeks).
  • May-September (17 weeks).
  • August-October (10 weeks).

Location

Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota, FL

Field work is conducted on Longboat Key, Lido Key, Siesta Key, Casey Key and Venice.

Background Information

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 the marine turtles (Caretta caretta and Chelonia mydas) of the central 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 a community-based program consisting of 3-4 staff members, 6-10 interns, and approximately 300 volunteers who monitor 35 miles of beach for sea turtle activity. The STCRP also works with agencies throughout the state to support conservation efforts for these federally protected marine turtles (read more about the program at www.mote.org/seaturtles).

Duties

Sea turtle season on the Gulf Coast of Florida begins on May 1st and runs through October 31st. During early morning (dawn) beach surveys, volunteers report findings to staff and interns who respond by documenting the sea turtle activities. Once field work on the beach is completed, staff and interns return to Mote Marine Laboratory to perform office duties such as data entry; preparations for the next day; required communication with state and federal agencies; and contacting STCRP volunteers for problem resolution and feedback. Interns also assist in educating the public about sea turtles, the hazards they face, and the proper actions humans should take when turtles are encountered. Specific field work activities are dependent on the time of the season, the degree of turtle activity and environmental factors, but in general, interns will be trained to do the tasks listed below:

  • Respond to new turtle activities.
  • Identify false crawls.
  • Verification of nests (digging to locate eggs).
  • Marking of new nests.
  • Completion of required data forms.
  • Respond to depredations, washovers/washouts, or other activities that negatively impact nests.
  • Conduct nest inventories after storm events.
  • Respond to adult and/or hatchling disorientation events.
  • Excavation of hatched nests (inventorying of nest contents).
  • Operate an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) to patrol the beach in search of nesting activities.
  • Placement/Retrieval of equipment on/from beaches.
  • Office tasks as previously described above.

Interns will receive background training via manuals, videos and slide shows reviewed prior to the start of the internship. Once at Mote, interns will receive one-on-one training in the field and office.

Field work can be strenuous, may require walking long distances in soft sand, and is conducted every morning of the season despite inclement weather. Hot, buggy, sandy or wet conditions can be expected.

A typical day begins at dawn and can exceed 8 hours, as each day presents variable conditions (such as storms) that can impact the workload. Interns work with staff on weekends, but they will have two consecutive days off during the week. Obtaining a second job during the internship is not recommended due to the variability of the schedule.

Requirements

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

  • MUST HAVE A VALID DRIVER’S LICENSE AND DEPENDABLE VEHICLE. Interns are responsible for transporting themselves and field equipment to the various beaches and Mote.
  • A commitment to participate in the program for 17 or 10 weeks (depending on internship selected).
  • A minimum of 18 years of age and engaged in or recently completed undergraduate studies.
  • A background or degree in Marine Science/Biology/Ecology or related field preferred.
  • Field research experience preferred, but not required.
  • Ability to walk long distances in soft sand; handle high temperatures, humidity, and insects; withstand exposure to intense sunlight; and carry up to 30 lbs.
  • Basic computer proficiency in Microsoft Office.

Benefits/Costs

There is no compensation for the STCRP internship position. Interns will be responsible for their own transportation to and from Sarasota and living expenses during the time of the internship. Cell phones will be provided for work related calling. Reimbursement will be provided for documented/approved mileage incurred on the intern’s personal vehicle while performing internship duties.

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

Application/Contact Information

If you are interested in applying for an internship with the STCRP please:

  • Complete and submit an internship application which can be found on the Mote Marine Laboratory College Internship webpage. On the application, when asked for your first choice program, choose Sea Turtle Conservation and Research.
  • 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.).

Applicants may contact Gina Santoianni at (941) 388-4441, ext. 269 or intern@mote.org with any general questions related to Mote internships. Specific questions related to Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program internships can be directed to Melissa Bernhard at mbernhard@mote.org.