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COAST Student Internships Summer 2017

​C​alifornia State Lands Commission 

Marine Invasive Species Program 

Ballast Water Management Internship​


Host: California State Lands Commission – Marine Invasive Species Program (CSLC-MISP) 

The CSLC-MISP is a statewide program tasked with developing and implementing science-based policies to reduce the risk of introducing aquatic nonindigenous species into California waters through commercial shipping activities. The CSLC-MISP accomplishes this goal by identifying and funding targeted research, convening stakeholder discussions to inform policy development, and conducting outreach and enforcement of existing policies.​

Location: Sacramento or Hercules; potential for travel to ports around the San Francisco Bay Area, and one trip to CSLC offices in Long Beach. 

Internship Dates: June 5 - August 18, 2017; start and end dates are flexible with regard to student’s academic commitments.

Stipend: $5,000

Time Commitment: The internship is a full time, 11-week commitment. Over the 11-week period, 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.

Position Description and Responsibilities: California receives approximately 9,000 commercial vessel arrivals to its ports every year. While in California, many of these vessels will discharge ballast water brought over from other parts of the world. Ballast water is necessary for many functions related to the trim, stability, and maneuverability of vessels. As ballast water is transferred from one port (source) to another (recipient), so are the millions of organisms taken into the ballast tanks along with the water. Once discharged to a new place, these organisms can become established, adversely impacting the local environment, human health, and the economy.

California has adopted ballast water discharge performance standards to strengthen the protection of California water from vessel ballast water discharges. Those discharge standards will be implemented January 1, 2020. CSLC-MISP scientists are in the process of: 1) assessing the availability of ballast water treatment technologies to meet those standards; 2) developing ballast water discharge compliance assessment protocols; and 3) testing hand-held tools for rapid compliance assessment. 

One (1) internship is available to work with CSLC-MISP scientists on a project associated with the development of strategies to implement California’s ballast water discharge performance standards and investigate methods to assess vessel compliance with those standards. Duties will include:

1. Investigating, reviewing, and documenting the status of ballast water treatment technologies. Primary tasks for this project include:

​​​​- ​​​​​​​​​​​Collecting data, reports, or any available information on existing or emerging technologies.

- Preparing a summary report on the capabilities and limitations of those technologies.​

​​​2​. ​Collecting and processing ballast water samples from vessels that arrive at California ports. Primary tasks for this project include boarding vessels at San Francisco Bay Area ports, taking ballast water samples, using microscopy and hand-held rapid assessment tools to quantify the concentration of organisms in those samples. If desired, and under supervision, the intern will have the flexibility to design additional survey components to answer research questions of interest.

The intern will be required to produce a report focused on the data collected and analyzed during the internship and will present these results during informal brown bag talks to CSLC colleagues in Sacramento, Hercules, and Long Beach.

Preferred Experience and Capabilities:  Experience in marine biology or related field is necessary. Basic knowledge of invertebrate taxonomy, invasion ecology, chemistry, microscopy, and basic statistics is preferred but not required. Experience with Excel, PowerPoint, and Access is a plus. The intern must be well organized, capable of effective oral and written communication, and able to work independently.  

Skills Gained: The intern will gain a solid understanding of how shipping activities facilitate the movement of organisms around the world. The intern will gain firsthand experience working within a statewide program focused on prevention through vector management. The intern will have the opportunity to: 

-​Interact with an extensive network of state, federal, and international scientists and other stakeholders.

​-Board commercial ships and interact with international ship crews.

​-Examine ballast water samples to determine concentrations of organisms.

-​Observe and participate in California’s process of developing and implementing policies/regulations that will impact a global industry.

​Eligibility/Requirements: This internship is geared toward upperclass (juniors/seniors) and graduate students. The intern must be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license. The intern must be able to work independently and interact in a professional manner with MISP management, scientists and inspectors, and with other stakeholders. The intern must be able to climb temporary stairs/gangways to board ships, and must be eligible to obtain a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC​) to gain access to ports. Travel to San Francisco Bay Area ports may be required. The intern is also subject to additional eligibility and requirements that can be found here​.


Return to Announcement for Application and Additional Requirements