COAST Student Internships Summer 2019

​C​alifornia State Lands Commission 

Marine Invasive Species Program 

Vessel Patterns Analysis and Data Visualization Internship​

Host: The California State Lands Commission – Marine Invasive Species Program (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 (map); occasional travel to CSLC offices in Hercules (San Francisco Bay area) and Long Beach.  

Internship Dates: June 3 - August 16, 2019; 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 (necessary for many functions related to the trim, stability, and maneuverability of vessels) brought over from other parts of the world. 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. In addition, all these vessels have the potential to introduce many more organisms from all over the world to California ports through vessel biofouling (attachment of organisms to ships’ hulls and wetted surface areas). Once these organisms arrive to a new place, they can become established, adversely impacting the local environment, human health, and the economy. 

The CSLC-MISP collects data from the vessels arriving at California ports using vessel-submitted reporting forms. Using these data, MISP staff analyzes vessel arrival patterns (e.g. vessel types, vessel profiles, last port of call, frequencies, spatial trends) and vessel behavior (e.g. ballast water exchange locations, discharges, management practices, residency periods). These data are also used to assess the risk of species introductions based on environmental matching during vessel voyages.

One (1) internship is available to work with MISP scientists in Sacramento on a project associated with the analysis and visualization of vessel-reported data. In collaboration with the CSLC GIS team, the intern will develop a set of questions about vessel arrival patterns and vessel behavior in California using vessel-submitted information and public data. To answer those questions, the intern will extract data from the MISP database using MS Access, process it for analysis with MS Excel and/or R-software, and prepare for visualization in a new web-mapping application using GIS. The intern will identify the best ways to integrate and visualize the data in this application developed by the CSLC GIS team. In order to maximize the use of this web-mapping application, the intern will conduct an initial assessment to identify potential uses and users of the application both internally (within the CSLC) and externally (stakeholders (e.g. ports, scientists, shipping industry) and interested parties). 

At the end of the internship, the intern will produce a report including introduction, methods, results, and discussion sections, and will make recommendations to the MISP staff regarding the best ways to display different sets of data collected by the MISP. 

In addition to producing the report described above, the intern will have the opportunity to present their results during informal brown bag talks to CSLC colleagues in Sacramento, Hercules, and Long Beach.

Preferred Experience and Capabilities:  Basic knowledge of MS Access, MS Excel and data manipulation is necessary. Experience in marine biology, invasion ecology or related field, is preferred but not required. Knowledge of GIS and R-Software is a plus. The intern must be well organized and be capable of effective oral and written communication.  

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
  • Gain experience working with data sets and data analysis using different platforms and be part of the process to develop a new interactive tool to make data accessible to the public and interested parties.

​Eligibility/Requirements: The intern must be able to work independently and interact in a professional manner with MISP management, scientists and inspectors, and other stakeholders. The intern must be able to climb temporary stairs/gangways to board ships. Travel to offices in Long Beach and Hercules (SF Bay) may be required. Applicants are also subject to general eligibility requirements.

Return to Announcement for Application and Additional Requirements​