Office of the National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS), a branch of NOAA, is responsible for managing 14 special marine protected areas designated by the federal government. The West Coast Regional Office manages 15,455 square miles of marine protected areas around Channel Islands, Cordell Bank, Greater Farallones, Monterey Bay and Olympic Coast. Each of the five west coast national marine sanctuaries is a jewel unto itself. Yet each of our sanctuaries is intimately connected not only with the others, but also to the entire coast from Alaska to Baja and to the far reaches of the world ocean via ocean currents. The West Coast Regional Office coordinates programs and initiatives that affect resources within and beyond the boundaries of the five west coast national marine sanctuaries to ensure natural and cultural resources are protected while allowing uses that are sustainable.
Position Description and Responsibilities: One (1) internship is offered at the ONMS West Coast Regional Office to work side-by-side with sanctuary regional managers on a new project: “The Deep-Sea Coral Initiative”. The purpose of this new project is to improve awareness of deep-sea corals in, and their importance to, national marine sanctuary ecosystems on the west coast. The initiative includes research activities, education and outreach, and development of resource protection strategies to enhance conservation of deep-sea coral communities.
1. Assist WCRO leads with datamining existing benthic habitat maps and coral databases to identify high value targets for i) additional acoustic mapping efforts (e.g., multibeam) or ii) visual surveys using remotely operated vehicles (ROV) or autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV). The compiled information across all five west coast sanctuaries will assist with planning research surveys with partners at NOAA’s Deep-Sea Coral Research and Technology Program and Nautilus Exploration Program. There is the potential for Nautilus missions to be carried out in 2017, for which products of this effort will be utilized.
2. Work with resource protection staff at national marine sanctuaries offshore California (Cordell Bank, Greater Farallones, Monterey Bay and Channel Islands) and Washington (Olympic Coast) to develop resource protection strategies for protecting and restoring deep-sea coral habitats, while allowing sustainable uses.
3. By coordinating with the west coast education team, develop web site content for the West Coast Region website to educate the public about the importance of deep-sea corals to west coast sanctuary ecosystems.
4. Work as an effective member of the West Coast Regional Office through participation in regular meetings, and contributing to various reporting requirements (e.g., weekly accomplishment reports).
Preferred Experience and Capabilities: Skilled in environmental or biological science, environmental policies and regulations of marine protected areas; ideally experienced in marine resource management. The successful candidate must be highly organized with the ability to work independently as well as within a team setting, and able to effectively communicate (orally, in person, or on the phone, and in writing) with researchers and sanctuary colleagues. Also important is the ability to effectively manage multiple projects, and enthusiasm about marine science, stewardship and conservation. Very good writing ability is a necessity. Skilled in Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques is a plus.
Skills Gained: The intern will learn about how the United States manages its national marine sanctuaries, as well as how to incorporate complex scientific concepts into resource protection strategies. The intern will learn how to operate within a small professional office and interact with colleagues remotely.
Eligibility/Requirements: This internship is geared toward upperclass (juniors/seniors) and graduate students. Intern must be at least 18 years old and must have a valid driver’s license. The intern must be able to work independently and interact in a professional manner with WCRO and sanctuary staff and partners throughout California. Travel to sanctuary offices in Sonoma and Santa Barbara counties may be required. Applicants are also subject to additional eligibility and requirements that can be found here.