Mentor & Lab: Nikka Malakooti –Kilpatrick Lab & Kroeker Lab

Positions: Up to 3 interns, possibility of projects available for non-divers

Tentative dates: July through September 2024, exact dates TBD

Project Location: Coastal Campus with trips to LA county and likely Sonoma/Mendocino counties

Project Background: How do disease and climate change impact sea urchin populations and thus kelp forest ecosystems? Help us find out by conducting SCUBA surveys or laboratory experiments! Field surveys will attempt to track black spot disease and population density in purple and red urchins over time in one or more coastal CA rocky reefs. In the lab we will manipulate water temperature and urchin crowding to understand factors leading to mass mortality in these important grazers.

Intern duties: Field duties will include preparing for dive trips and conducting surveys of urchin density and disease status. We will travel within California for up to a week at a time (we will cover accommodations and transportation). Interns will also assist with data entry for these surveys and data analysis.

It is possible that duties will include assisting with lab work: maintaining sea urchins (feeding, cleaning tanks), assisting with measurements (weight, lesion photography/measurements with calipers and/or ImageJ), and assisting with data entry and data analysis.

Intern qualifications: We are looking for AAUS certified scientific divers who are curious, enthusiastic, great communicators, and comfortable asking questions and owning up to mistakes. Passion for spiky invertebrates and infectious disease ecology is a plus, but we can work on that together!

Do you recommend the intern(s) volunteer in your lab during Spring quarter?
That would be great, but it’s not required.