[MARMAM] Killer whale conservation internship

Katherine Ayres kla5 at u.washington.edu
Sun Jan 25 17:05:02 PST 2009

  We are looking for enthusiastic and motivated individuals for an  
unpaid Internship in Killer Whale Conservation Research
Program: University of Washington, Center for Conservation Biology
Location: San Juan Island, Washington.
Duration: 1 month minimum between May 15th, 2009 and October 15th,  
2009 (priority will be given to applicants that can commit longer  
than 1 month).

Project Summary

The “Southern resident” killer whale (SRKW) community of the Pacific  
Northwest experienced an unexplained 20.4% decline between 1995-2001,  
resulting in their listing as an endangered population. The UW-  
Center for Conservation Biology uses noninvasive hormone measures of  
stress, nutrition and reproductive condition in feces to investigate  
three potential threats to the SRKW: 1.) Disturbance from private and  
commercial whale-watching vessels, 2.) Nutritional deficits  
associated with decline in SRKW primary prey, Chinook salmon and 3.)  
Endocrine disruption from toxins such as PCBs, PBDEs and DDT/DDE. We  
also use specially trained scat detection dogs to help us attain the  
sample sizes needed for this multivariate study.  Use of dogs also  
allows us to acquire samples at greater distances from the killer  
whales allowing us to acquire valuable information from the scat  
while minimizing any potential impact of our research vessel on the  

1. Minimum of 20 hours/week working for the Center for Conservation  
Biology either assisting with killer whale scat collections on the  
boat, data entry, boat/equipment maintenance, scat detection dog  
care, proposal writing and/or sample processing in the lab.   
Activities will depend on killer whale presence and the current needs  
of the project.

2. Minimum of 1 day/week working for our collaborators informing the  
public about laws pertaining to marine mammals and recording data for  
various killer whale research projects.

-The ability to spend long days on a small research vessel.
-Arrange for your own housing on San Juan Island, Washington.
Katherine (the team leader) will assist in finding the most  
affordable housing in any way possible. If you are at all interested,  
contact Katherine ASAP and she can help you apply for housing at  
Friday Harbor Labs.

-Your own transportation to and from the Island as well as to and  
from the Harbor.
-Flexibility is really important as well as a positive attitude and a  
willingness to learn!

Competitive Bonuses that are not required:
-Field and/or lab research experience
-Experience operating and/or maintaining an outboard motor boat
-First aid certification

This internship is extremely intensive; however, you will come away  
with invaluable research experience from 2-3 different killer whale  
research projects.  If interested please send a CV and cover letter  
to Katherine Ayres at kla5 at u.washington.edu. Feel free to contact  
Katherine with any questions! 
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