INTERNSHIPS

INTERNSHIPS2019-02-28T11:30:50-07:00

Mentor(s): Prof. Erika Zavaleta; Ph.D. student Tim Brown

Dates: June 14-Aug 23
Number of positions available: 3

Background
The most vulnerable wildlife on Earth to climate change includes migratory, mountaintop animals. We focus on the Sierra Nevada Rosy-finch (Leucosticte tephrocotis dawsoni) to answer two critical questions: what limits its breeding distribution to extreme elevations, and how does understanding these limits inform its conservation under climate change? California’s Sierra Nevada subspecies is the southernmost Rosy-finch breeding population left in North America. In summer 2019, our team will survey breeding Sierra Nevada Rosy-finches and their environments throughout the high Sierra, mainly by hiking and backpacking to ~20 different breeding sites over the summer to survey vegetation, insects, birds and habitat variables like snowfields, cliff nesting areas, and talus. https://zavaleta.eeb.ucsc.edu

Internship duties
Interns will survey Rosy-finch breeding sites as described above, and capturing, measuring and banding birds at three sites and drawing blood samples for genetic and genomic analyses. Their work will include data collection and recording, data entry and exploration, and opportunities for analysis of data subsets to generate final projects or posters. The position is full-time in the true sense – with long field days and with days off taken partly while in the field and partly while in a town. Interns will contribute to field logistics (team meals, menu planning and resupply) and will rotate involvement in the different data streams (e.g. bird point counts, plant identification and vegetation sampling, insect sampling). In the final week(s), interns will work with their mentors to develop research posters/talks (either jointly or individually) and present findings from the summer. The internship is physically demanding, calling for backpacking with a loaded pack (40-70 lbs.) on trails for up to 8-10 miles, to sites at 10,000-14,000’ in elevation, and camping and working for up to several days at a time in settings that can be cold or hot, windy, and exposed to intense sunshine. The sites will be stunning from start to finish, and the project provides a chance to become part of a tightly knit team in the mountains and to contribute to the conservation of wild vertebrates endemic to this corner of the world.

Qualifications
Candidates should be registered UCSC students and must have field research experience in ecology (e.g. plants, wildlife, or related surveys or studies) obtained through coursework and/or jobs. Candidates must also be physically able to work, hike and carry a pack at high elevations and in rough terrain, including off trails and for up to several hours at a time. Finally, candidates must have a positive attitude, desire to work closely with a team, and desire to combine the physical challenges of work in the mountaintops with the intellectual challenges of wildlife science. Bird skills (point counts, identification, banding experience) and plant ID skills are desirable, but not required. Most camping and backpacking equipment and travel from Santa Cruz will be provided.

Contact:
Tim Brown: timbrown@ucsc.edu

Mentor(s): Dr. Pete Raimondi and research specialist, Christy Bell

Dates: flexible
Positions available: 2

Background
Summer internship in marine ecology. This position will be involved in interdisciplinary studies focusing on questions in marine ecology, conservation of nearshore species, and oceanographic drivers of ecological processes. Successful candidates will participate in a large-scale rocky intertidal and/or subtidal monitoring program along the west coast.

Internship Duties
General responsibilities include: Help plan and organize logistics and prepare supplies for local and remote field missions; survey rocky intertidal sites (*and possibly subtidal).

Qualifications
Position requires travelling and working on multiple overnight trips often camping and working in adverse weather conditions and working very early mornings. The position also requires the ability to do technical hiking with a heavy load as well as considerable time bending and kneeling in the field. The ideal candidate will have strong interpersonal, communication, and decision-making skills; will be self-motivated and have the ability to work well independently and as part of a diverse team. *Subtidal work is a possibility if candidate is AAUS scuba certified.

More information about the monitoring program at https://www.eeb.ucsc.edu/pacificrockyintertidal/index.html

Contact:
Christy Bell: bell@ucsc.edu

Mentor(s): Dr. Mark Carr and research specialist, Dan Malone

Dates: flexible throughout the summer
Positions available: 3

Background

Summer internship in kelp forest ecology. In kelp forests along the central coast of California, active sea urchin grazing has shifted a once continuous kelp forest landscape to underwater ‘sea urchin barrens’ that are void of kelp and associated species. Our current research focuses on the processes responsible for these shifts from forested to barrens states and the recovery (i.e. resilience) of the forested ecosystem. We explore sea urchin grazing behavior that have led to widespread kelp forest loss and how factors such as predators, disease, and disturbance might contribute to sea urchin population control and the recovery of kelp forest ecosystems.

Internship Duties
For students who are not AAUS SCUBA certified: In the field, students will primarily participate in boat-based crab trapping surveys. These surveys will be conducted in Monterey, California and are designed to characterize the population size and distribution of these important sea urchin predators. Students will assist in daily deployment and retrieval of crab traps from UCSC research vessels and will be trained and directly responsible for gear preparation and maintenance, recording the crab catch, and data management. In the lab students will participate in mesocosm (300 gal tank) experiments designed to investigate the effects of crabs and algae on sea urchin behavior. Students will be directly responsible for constructing and maintaining experimental systems, collecting data, and data management. For students who are AAUS SCUBA certified: In the field students will primarily participate in diver-based mesocosm experiments in Monterey, California designed to evaluate the effects of predators on sea urchin grazing behavior and mortality. Students will assist in constructing, maintaining, and monitoring underwater experiments. In addition, the students will conduct kelp forest surveys using high-resolution camera quadrat sampling to assess predator and urchin abundances.

Qualifications
Candidates for this position should have a strong personal motivation to conduct field or lab research, follow instructions well with attention to details. Students need to have taken and passed an introductory biology series (e.g. 20A, 20B, 20C). The position requires working on research vessels both in and out of cold water and spending a considerable amount of time in the field. Knowledge of local kelp forest invertebrate and algae identification are preferred, but not required. SCUBA divers must have an active AAUS certification and CPR/O2/First aid at the time of placement and for the duration of the summer.
More information about our program is available at: https://research.pbsci.ucsc.edu/eeb/rclab/

Contact:
Dan Malone: dmalone@ucsc.edu

Mentor: Patrick Robinson, Director Año Nuevo Reserve

Dates: June 24 – Aug 16
Positions available: 1

California sea lion demography
This project involves two or three trips to Ano Nuevo Island each week to search for and photograph California sea lions with tags or brands (part of a large demographic study run by NOAA’s Marine Mammal Lab).  The intern will take photographs of tagged sea lions for later identification and data entry.  During the lab-based days, the intern will have the opportunity to conduct an independent project using the field data and assist with a variety of related projects, including:  public outreach, data entry, drone-based censuses, etc.

Qualifications
Due to the frequent use of small boats, this work is physically intensive and interns will need to be comfortable lifting up to 50 lbs and must know how to swim. Previous experience with DSLR cameras and with small boats is desirable.

Contact:
Patrick Robinson: patrick.robinson@ucsc.edu

Mentor(s): Dr. Dan Costa and Post-Doctoral Researcher, Roxanne Beltran

Positions available: 1

Dr. Dan Costa’s lab focuses on the physiology and ecology of large marine vertebrates. We use a combination of field research, biologging deployments, and mathematical modeling to determine how these animals make a living both in the ocean and on land. This summer internship will help a student develop quantitative ecology skills through analysis of existing data. Potential projects include: (1) Quantifying behavior of captive seals from video recordings; (2) Counting and measuring seals, sea lions, and sea birds in drone photos from Año Nuevo Natural Reserve; and (3) Analyzing diving and tracking data from elephant seal pups during their first ocean migration. Depending on interest and time, the student is welcome to select the project of their choice. The student may also assist with elephant seal or sea lion fieldwork at Año Nuevo up to one day per week.

Applicant should be a registered UCSC student, with a preference for students that might be interested in continuing to work in the Costa lab and/or producing a senior thesis during the following academic year. Applicant should be interested in data analysis and programming (MATLAB or R), although no experience is necessary.

Contact:
Roxanne Beltran: rsbeltra@ucsc.edu

Mentor: A. Marm Kilpatrick Lab, Ph.D. student, Christa Seidl

Positions available: 1

Background
Here at the Kilpatrick Lab, we investigate the ecological intricacies of wildlife disease. We use a combination of field research, empirical lab studies, and mathematical modelling to uncover host-vector-pathogen dynamics and how they can change over time and space. Our current research focuses on avian malaria in Hawaiian birds, a parasitic disease rapidly driving many of Hawaii’s endemic and charismatic native species toward extinction. We are examining differences in virulence of Plasmodium relictum strains using a non-native invasive bird species, the Japanese White-eye (Zosterops japonicas) and host infectiousness to Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes. http://kilpatrick.eeb.ucsc.edu/research/

Mosquito behavior and infectiousness is of great scientific interest. Mosquitoes vector some of the world’s most devastating human (Malaria, Dengue, Zika, Chikungunya) and wildlife diseases (avian malaria, West Nile, Japanese encephalitis), and thus a better understand of what affects mosquito behavior and survival is crucial to informing disease management. Furthermore, mosquito rearing provides excellent opportunities to test basic biological and ecological constraints on animal development. Questions of ecological and epidemiological interest include but are not limited to: how does quality, type, and access to food resources affect development time to adulthood? What host characteristics (e.g. smell) affect biting preferences? How does water quality affect juvenile rearing success?

Qualifications
We are looking for 1 responsible and motivated student interested in acquiring animal care and disease ecology skills. This student will be asked to help with daily animal care responsibilities at Thimann Labs including but not limited to: assisting with food/water/cage cleaning for captive birds, mosquito rearing and feeding trials, biological sample collection, preparation, and storage, and data entry. This student will be expected to keep regular hours, with occasional weekend work.

What will the student learn?
The student will learn how to apply the scientific method and gain valuable practical laboratory skills, applicable to ecology, epidemiology, and a range of other professional biological research fields. They will learn how to take, process, and store blood samples used for parasite quantification, PCR, and genomic analyses. The student will learn how to care for and raise both wild vertebrate (birds) and invertebrate (mosquitoes) organisms, experience highly desirable in many graduate research programs. The student will also have the opportunity to use the mosquito colony to ask and test their own research questions.

Contact:
Christa Seidl: cseidl@ucsc.edu

Mentor: Prof. Jarmilla Pittermann, Ph.D. student Ryan Salladay

Positions available: 1

Background

Wildfire in California is of great concern, as we have seen increases in frequency, size and intensity of fires over the past decade. Alongside fire, severe drought poses a threat to forest communities throughout California. Trees are adapted to withstand fire with traits such as thick bark. However, there are likely lesser known traits influencing post-fire resilience. There has been recent evidence demonstrating the role of physiology in the resilience of tree species following fire. Our lab is interested in how xylem (water transport) in trees is impacted by extreme heat. This summer we will be visiting field sites in California that have burned recently, spanning from the coast to the Sierra. The goal of this project is to identify California tree species that are most resilient to fire and subsequent drought.

Internship Duties

Interns will work primarily in the field, interspersed with shorter trips back in the lab at UCSC. Field work will consist of collecting physiological trait data, including leaf water potential, hydraulic conductivity, stomatal conductance, and photosynthetic rates. The lab portion will include controlled burns of small branches and measuring xylem cavitation. The students will play a central role in data collection, entry and analysis. At the end of the summer they will be responsible for presenting their work in the form of a poster.

Qualifications

We are looking for a motivated and enthusiastic student to gain skills in plant physiology methods. Fieldwork will require many consecutive nights camping, often with very early mornings (pre-dawn measurements are common). Applicants should feel comfortable camping and spending long days in adverse weather conditions. While direct experience in plant physiology is not required, a passion for plant science is highly encouraged. Knowledge of native California plant identification is desirable.

Contact:
Ryan Salladay, rsallada@ucsc.edu

Mentor: Terrie M. Williams, ICE Lab, with Traci Kendall and Beau Richter

Positions available: 1

Background
The Williams Integrative Carnivore EcoPhysiology (ICE) Lab (Williams.eeb.ucsc.edu) is dedicated to studying the comparative ecophysiology and exercise physiology of humans and the largest, most endangered mammals to walk on land and swim in the oceans. Specifically, Dr. Williams and her students investigate the energetic, thermal, cardiovascular, neural and biomechanical biology of human athletes and apex predators including African lions, pumas, tropical dolphins and seals, sea otters, and polar-living wolves, whales, bears and seals. By examining the functional relationships between humans, animals and their environment, we strive to understand the ecological significance of a species and the physiological adaptations necessary for survival in a constantly changing world. Using a lab-to-field approach, we determine how animals are biologically built and then examine how these species-specific traits are challenged in the wild. Our current project is evaluating the physiological effects of anthropogenic noise on cetaceans.

Elements of the Internship
This internship will take place from mid-June to August 2019 at our marine mammal facility on the Coastal Biology campus of UCSC. The student will learn about husbandry and veterinary procedures for the care of marine mammals such as dolphins, seals and sea otters. They will also participate on research projects examining the metabolic and cardiovascular responses of marine mammals during exercise and diving. In addition, the student will learn to analyze physiological data (i.e. heart rate, stroke frequency of wild marine mammals) by working with Excel and customized programs to evaluate the inter-relationships between behavior and the energetic costs of diving. During this internship, the student will also join our educational team to develop outreach programs with K-12 visitors to the lab.

Contact:
Traci Kendall (tkendall@ucsc.edu)
Beau Richter (brichter@ucsc.edu)

Mentor: Carlos Garza, Research Genetic

Positions available: 2

Background
I use population and molecular genetic methods to provide biological inference regarding a broad range of questions in ecology, evolution, conservation and management of marine and aquatic species. Much of this work is with salmon and rockfishes but we also have collaborative projects on other fishes, pinnipeds, otters and cephalopods. I am involved in a large number of research projects that span topics as diverse as 1) the eludication of patterns of distribution and abundance of Chinook salmon in the coastal ocean of North America, 2) the evaluation of patterns of population structure and multiple paternity in the rockfishes, 3) the estimation of genomic parameters from DNA sequences and sequence polymorphism in salmon and trout, 4) the evaluation of novel release strategies for reintroduction of endangered salmon, 5) development of genetic markers in salmon and trout and their application to map genes involved in life history variation, and 6) development and implementation of intergenerational genetic tagging methods in salmonids and rockfishes with applications to harvest management, evaluation of hatcheries and estimation of dispersal rates.

Qualifications
Experience and understanding of biochemistry and molecular biology esp. DNA extraction and PCR is a plus.

Contact:
Carlos Garza, carlosjg@ucsc.edu

Mentor: Dr. Kristy Kroeker, Ph.D. student Lauren Bell
Dates: mid-June to early September
Positions available: 1
* Note: this position is in Sitka, Alaska

Background

The Kroeker Lab investigates the emergent effects of global change in coastal marine ecosystems from Baja California to Southeast Alaska. We are currently gearing up for our 2019 summer field season in Sitka, Alaska, where we have an extensive research program underway that will require a team of 4-5 students/technicians. For this multi-year project, we are combining seasonal subtidal field work with laboratory experimental systems to: 1) understand the structure and function of high-latitude kelp forest ecosystems, and 2) test the direct and indirect effects of rising temperatures and ocean acidification on organism physiology and species interactions.

Internship duties                                          

The student will assist with a large-scale experimental mesocosm (20+ tank system) that will be used to test how changes to seawater temperature, pH, light, and nutrients will affect macroalgae growth, physiology, nutritional quality, and chemical defenses. The student will be trained and gain expertise managing/troubleshooting mesocosm software and hardware, taking water samples for carbonate chemistry analysis, processing macroalgae samples for carbon and nitrogen content, measuring algal photophysiology, performing data analysis, and much more. If the student is not AAUS SCUBA certified, there will be opportunities for the student to join team members in the field as a dive tender. If the student is AAUS SCUBA certified, the student will also have the opportunity to assist with subtidal field work over the course of the summer. We are happy to support students interested in also pursuing their own project during the summer that can be developed for presentation at a scientific meeting or turned into a senior thesis project.

Qualifications

Candidates for this full-time position should be highly motivated to conduct lab and field research for 2+ months in a relatively remote but beautiful location. Sitka is a town of 8,000 people on an outer-coast island facing the Gulf of Alaska, with incredible opportunity for outdoor exploration and wildlife viewing. The student must be self-sufficient, communicative, and comfortable sharing housing with other UCSC students on the field team. The ideal candidate for this position will be willing to work hard (and sometimes long hours) with the team, will keep a good attitude, will pay attention to detail, and – most importantly – will consistently take initiative in their work. Our team has a lot of fun working over the summer together, and we strive to balance our hard work with time to enjoy the benefits of long summer days in temperate paradise!

Contact:
Lauren Bell laebell@ucsc.edu

Please contact Judy Straub: jstraub@ucsc.edu with any general questions about the program.
If you have specific questions about one of the research projects, please email the researcher directly.