IMG_08474 Internship positions for the Humpback Whale Project
Puerto Rico, USA
December 29, 2014 – May 01, 2015

Four full time internships are available for the winter of 2015 to assist in the long term research project focusing on humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) wintering off Puerto Rico.

General description:
Research for this project includes seasonal occurrence patterns and social behaviors of humpback whales. We anticipate a minimum of 1-3 days/week of vessel based data collection, 2-3days/week land based data collection, and 1-2 days/week at the field house analysing data. Acoustic data will be analyzed during days when field excursions are not practical or possible. There may be opportunity for aerial survey experience. Days off are infrequent but we will find time to let interns do some sight-seeing!

Interns will work hard during the season and can expect to gain a solid foundation in marine and coastal ecology, humpback whale ecology with a focus on behavioral ecology, and an excellent mastery of field equipment related to this project. We work from land and vessel platforms with occasional aerial reconnaissance. Interns may have the opportunity to learn aerial survey skills in addition to set up and work with a theodolite. Boat work includes data collection using hydrophones.

Commitment:
Interns must be available full time from December 29, 2014 until May 01, 2015. You will have a bunk at the fieldhouse and must be prepared for very long days. We typically rise well before the sun and finish well after sunset each day. This is a low density area for humpbacks. The ability to maintain land based observations for hours (or even a full day) without seeing a whale requires commitment and patience. Vessel based data collection will be from a small boat and is dependent on a team that is able to work well in close quarters. Commitment and dedication should be applied to computer tasks as they can become monotonous. Day to day tasks will include posting updates to FaceBook, updating the MCERC website, and other tasks as needed.

Some training will take place in December via meetings over the internet prior to arrival in Puerto Rico. Interns must be willing to dedicate effort from home, including reading publications and installing required software.

Responsibilities:
Interns are fully involved in this project!
You will work with students to make our research team effective. You will be coached in teaching methods to facilitate mentoring students, and assist in surveying and data collection. Tasks include- Demonstrating equipment and providing instruction to students, preparation and maintenance of equipment, leading and participating in roundtable discussions of peer reviewed publications, interacting with the public and peers, overseeing household chores and field house living expectations.

You will be working on continually updating our humpback whale catalogue, photo identification, fluke matching, and acoustic analysis. You will be taught to use bioacoustics software and databases. Neatness and attention to detail is key.

Provisions & Accommodations:
You will be provided with a place to sleep at the fieldhouse, food, training, required software, and transportation to all field sites from the research station at no cost. Interns will pitch in for internet access and basic amenities (details are discussed in interviews). Please review the website for more information on the research site and accommodations available.

Travel:
Interns are responsible for transportation to and from San German, Puerto Rico, USA. Residents of Puerto Rico are required to live at the fieldhouse with the team during their internship. International interns are responsible for determining and acquiring all necessary travel documents to the USA.

Qualifications:
Priority is given to students with an upbeat, hardworking and positive attitude. The ability to take direction and live in close quarters with up to 10 people is a key to a successful field season. A stellar academic average is a plus, but is not a requirement and should not discourage interested people with less than perfect academic scores from applying. A strong desire to learn new skills, mentor other students, and promote a positive attitude towards stewardship is essential for candidates. Please be self-motivated, energetic, patient, and enthusiastic! You must enjoy working with a group from around the globe and be respectful of cultural differences.

Candidates for internships must complete 3 interviews via Skype or in person prior to being accepted for a position for the 2015 field season. Interns must bring their own snorkel gear and laptop with windows (and be willing to load the required programs) to the project.

Applications are being accepted until August 22, 2014. Interns for the 2015 season will be notified in Early September and will need to book and confirm travel immediately after notification as a confirmation of acceptance.

Interested applicants seeking to gain experience in marine biology/ecology are highly encouraged to look over the website and Facebook page (for photos of the field house and field sites) and email a letter of interest, CV, and availability on a single Microsoft Word document to mithriel@marine-eco.org