Application Deadline: March 1

Applications will be accepted year-round with a deadline of March 1 for the internships available during the subsequent tagging season, May 15th - July 31.

Period

May 15th through July 31st

Location

Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota, FL

Monitoring/Tagging conducted on 4.2 miles of beach on Casey Key, Nokomis FL

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.

Duties

Tagging Interns participate in the nighttime monitoring/tagging of nesting sea turtles. Each evening presents different training opportunities as there will be nights when no turtles are encountered and there will be nights when numerous turtle activities are taking place simultaneously. In general, Tagging Interns will be trained to do the tasks listed below:

  • Operate an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) at night, to patrol the beach in search of nesting sea turtles.
  • Check nesting turtles for existing external flipper tags and internal Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags, and apply new tags when none are present.
  • Take standard sea turtle measurements.
  • Record all required data on applicable forms and validate data upon entry into database.
  • Utilize handheld Tag Finder device and associated software.
  • Collect data/samples for other projects approved by governing agencies.
  • Organize/Store collected samples according to established protocols.
  • Assist in the attachment/deployment of satellite transmitters or data loggers used to monitor sea turtle activities.
  • Maintain field equipment.
  • Replenish tagging supplies.
  • Educate the public about sea turtles, the hazards they face, and the proper actions humans should take when turtles are encountered.

Tagging Interns participate in nighttime patrols from approximately 9pm-5am each day (including weekends), but will have two consecutive days off during the week. Nighttime monitoring/tagging can be complicated by insects, heat, humidity and inclement weather.

Requirements

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

  • MUST HAVE A VALID DRIVER’S LICENSE AND DEPENDABLE VEHICLE. Tagging interns are responsible for transporting themselves and field equipment in their own vehicles.
  • A commitment to participate in nighttime monitoring/tagging for 10 weeks.
  • A background or degree in Marine Science/Biology/Ecology or related field preferred.
  • Research field experience preferred, but not required.
  • Ability to handle high temperatures, humidity, and insects and carry up to 30 lbs.
  • Basic computer proficiency.

Benefits/Costs

There is no compensation for the STCRP Tagging Internship position. Interns will be responsible for their own transportation to and from Sarasota and living expenses during the time of the internship.

Scholarships are available from Mote Marine Laboratory through a competitive application process.

Additional Instructions

If you are interested in applying for a Tagging Internship with the STCRP please:

  1. Complete and submit an internship application which can be found on the Mote Marine Laboratory College Internship page. On the application, when asked for your first choice program, choose Sea Turtle Conservation and Research - Tagging.
  2. 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.).
  3. Send a brief email to the STCRP Intern Coordinator (Melissa Bernhard <mbernhard@mote.org>) stating your name, contact information, and exact dates/duration of your availability for an internship.

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 <mbernhard@mote.org>.