[MARMAM] Internship Announcement - Please Post

Danielle Storz danni at graywhalescount.org
Fri Feb 8 10:03:10 PST 2013

INTERNSHIP ANNOUNCEMENT - seeking two volunteer Research Assistants for research on Gray whales and Gray whale calves.

Gray Whales Count (GWC) is seeking Research Assistants to assist in the annual survey of Gray whales and Gray whale calves as they migrate north through the nearshore Santa Barbara Channel.

The 2013 survey begins February 11 and continues every day until the last day of the Count, May 19, from 9am to 5pm Monday through Sunday. As such, we are looking for interested individuals who would be available as soon as possible. A minimum commitment of 30 days is required to participate.

GWC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization for research and education. The goals of the research are to estimate the number of Gray whales and Gray whale calves migrating northbound through our corridor and to share our data to complement similar sampling-studies along the California coast. Goals of education are to teach the process of scientific research to Counters and to give them the opportunity to conduct a meaningful study, to experience marine mammals in their natural environment, and to share this process and their enthusiasm with publics through outreach and various media.

The Research Assistants will take part in data collection during the land-based fieldwork. Applicable skills learned and achieved include:

-          Detailed data entry

-          Ability to identify a multitude of marine mammal species from a distance, including but not limited to: Gray whales, Humpback whales, Bottlenose dolphins, Common dolphins, Pacific white-sided dolphins, Harbor seals, California Sea lions, Sea otters, etc.

-          Identify behaviors of these marine mammals

-          Learn about marine mammals in their natural environment and the forces that affect them, both natural and anthropogenic.

-          Identify vessels and vessel operations.

Because of the training required, applicants must be willing to commit full-time to the project for the time period involved (minimum of 30 days, which can be extended to encompass the entire Count - i.e. fourteen weeks). This will entail up to 8 - 9 hours of work a day for at least 5 days a week. The Count is 7 days a week and an intern may commit more time to the Count as desired. The more time you can put in, the more you will get out of your experience. 

Priority will be given to those candidates with relative experience and are able to participate for an extended period of time.

This is a unique opportunity to gain extensive knowledge of marine mammal behavior in a short period of time. This position provides an excellent opportunity for individuals interested in a career in the field of marine mammal research and behavioral ecology.


-          Be able to withstand harsh weather conditions. Field work can be physically and mentally demanding at times, however you will have the opportunity to observe and gain hands-on experience in marine mammal observation, data collecting and databases, and identifying behaviors and interactions with the natural and anthropogenic world.

-          Willingness to work long hours.

-          Experience with a camera and digital asset management a plus.

-          Commit for a minimum of 30 days, full time (minimum five days per week).

-          Enrolled in or completed a degree in biology, marine science, zoology, environmental science, animal behavior or a related field.

-          Previous field experience with marine wildlife and observation is highly recommended but not required to apply.

-          Ability to work in a team environment

-          Be enthusiastic and possess a positive attitude and a desire to learn.

-          Be adaptable and patient as fieldwork is highly weather dependent - wind and fog can shut us down.

-          Be prepared to work long days in a team of two to five individuals with varying experience.

This is a volunteer position and interns will be responsible for their own transportation to and from Santa Barbara/Goleta, California. Also, costs for room and board will be the intern’s responsibility. (Note: Gray Whales Count will attempt to assist in the process.) GWC will award a $500 stipend [prorated on fourteen weeks] upon successful completion of the internship as agreed.

To apply: Please send a cover letter and resume to the Project Coordinator, Michael Smith, michael at graywhalescount.org and to the Operations Manager, Danielle Scott, danni at graywhalescount.org.  In the cover letter, please address why you wish to participate with Gray Whales Count and what you hope to achieve in your experience.

Inquiries can be emailed to Danielle Scott, Operations Manager at Danni at graywhalescount.org.

There is no deadline to apply, but please apply ASAP as the Count begins February 11 and time will be necessary to secure room and board. We will accept qualified candidates for a minimum of thirty days after the Count starts.

Danielle Scott
Operations Manager

Gray Whales Count
nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation
for research and education

1 Fellowship Circle
Santa Barbara, CA 93109

(805) 698-9462 (mobile)
danni at graywhalescount.org

project-collaborators include:
Cascadia Research Collective, Olympia, Washington
NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center, La Jolla
Scripps Whale Acoustic Lab, SIO / UCSD, La Jolla
UCSB's Coal Oil Point Reserve, Goleta

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