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COAST Student Internships Summer 2018

​​National Marine Fisheries Service 

West Coast Region Protected Resources Division 

Abalone Conservation Internship


Host: NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation's living marine resources through scientific research, fisheries management, enforcement, and habitat conservation. The West Coast Region of NMFS administers a variety of programs along the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California; and in the vast inland habitats of Washington, Oregon, California and Idaho. We work to conserve, protect, and manage resources under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Marine Mammal Protection Act​, and sustainably manage West Coast fisheries as guided by the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation Act.

Location: Based in Long Beach (map) at the NMFS West Coast Regional Office; occasional travel to captive abalone facilities and field sites throughout southern California, as needed.

Internship Dates: June 4 - August 17, 2018; start and end dates are flexible with regard to student’s academic commitments and project implementation schedule.

Stipend: $5,000

Time Commitment:  The internship is a full time, 11-week commitment.  Over the 11 weeks, the intern may take up to five days off for personal reasons, vacation or illness.  If participation is less than 100%, the stipend will be pro-rated.

NOTE: Scientific diving is NOT required for placement in this internship. However, if you are a current AAUS-certified scientific diver, you may have the opportunity to participate in NOAA-led dives as part of this internship.  

Position Description and Responsibilities: NMFS works in collaboration with many partners to protect and conserve abalone species along the U.S. West Coast by monitoring and evaluating the status of species, developing and implementing protections, and carrying out on-the-ground conservation efforts. Currently, white abalone and black abalone species are listed as endangered under the federal ESA, and green abalone, pink abalone, and pinto abalone species are listed as NMFS Species of Concern (SOC). One (1) internship is offered to work with NMFS scientists on a number of projects that support NMFS and its partners in achieving conservation goals for abalone. The intern will be expected to contribute to or take leadership in a number of ongoing NMFS activities as well as develop and implement new ideas.  

Duties may include
- Reviewing and analyzing time-lapse images of white and pinto abalone to extract ecological and behavioral data; 
- Assisting with development and roll-out of the recovery plan for black abalone; 
- Evaluating the status of ESA-listed and SOC abalone species in southern California and Baja California; 
- Assisting with captive breeding programs at local aquaria; 
- Participating in field surveys and field/lab studies to inform abalone conservation; 
- Reviewing and synthesizing monitoring and experimental data, including assisting with the development of databases; and 
- Developing and participating in education and outreach programs to the public on abalone conservation. 

Specific duties will be discussed and established at the start of the internship, based on the intern’s experience and interests and the Regional Office’s needs. 

At the end of the internship, the intern may be expected to provide the following to NMFS, based on the specific duties and projects assigned: 
- An organized time-lapse camera database and metadata on data included in the database; 
- A summary of the ecological and behavioral patterns observed in white and pinto abalone based on camera footage and monitoring efforts; and/or 
- Draft outreach and education materials for the black abalone recovery plan, such as web stories, video clips, summaries, and visual presentations to share information with the public and our partners.


Preferred Experience and Capabilities: This internship will require excellent verbal, written, and organizational skills. Experience with data management (MS Office, Access Database, ArcGIS) is desired. Experience with outreach and education, dive experience, and previous experience working with abalone conservation, monitoring, and/or captive rearing and propagation is a plus. Intern must have the ability to multitask in a team-oriented process while taking initiative and working independently.  

Skills Gained:  The intern will gain perspective on science, management, and policy issues related to NMFS, the ESA, and abalone conservation. The intern will gain experience working with a small team and working independently to gather, evaluate, and synthesize information. The intern will also gain hands-on experience working with a dynamic group to implement field and lab studies and on-the-ground abalone conservation efforts. The intern will learn how to operate in a professional office and interact with NMFS colleagues and partners at conservation organizations, universities, and state and federal agencies. The intern will be able to contribute to abalone conservation efforts in southern California.

Eligibility/Requirements:  Applicants must be able to work independently and interact in a professional manner with the project partners, the public, researchers, and other NMFS staff. Intern must be able to keep excellent notes and organize various streams of information into a coordinated or concise message. Travel may be required to abalone facilities throughout southern California and aboard research vessels as needed to execute this project. ​A Federal background investigation, to include fingerprints and character references, is required. Applicants are also subject to general eligibility requirements.

Scientific Divers: Applicants who wish to participate in SCUBA diving operations must include with their application: 1) a letter of reciprocity from their university’s dive safety officer (DSO) indicating that they are certified and authorized as a scientific diver (and will be for the duration of the internship) and 2) a short paragraph detailing their diving experience in temperate kelp forest conditions. They must also meet the following requirements: 

-Current AAUS certified Scientific Diver 

-DAN Insurance 

-Current AAUS-approved medical exam with physician approval

-Current First Aid, CPR, and Emergency Oxygen Administration training

-Minimum of 50 dives in cold water kelp forest environment

-A minimum of 4 dives within the past 6 months

-Excellent underwater navigation skills

-​Scuba equipment serviced by an authorized technician within the last 12 months

-Swim test and check-out dive

-Ability to transport self and gear to office, lab and boat sites

-Valid CA driver’s license


Return to Announcement for Application and Additional Requirements