The Florida Museum of Natural History and the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Complex are currently seeking an intern to assist with imperiled butterfly and seabird research and monitoring. The start date for this internship is May 1, 2017 and the internship will run through August 11, 2017 (15 weeks total). This internship may be extended pending the availability of additional funding. The exact start and end dates are flexible, but only those who can commit to at least 12 weeks will be considered. The intern will be provided with a stipend of $100 per week, and shared housing is included. Economical travel costs to and from Big Pine Key, FL will be reimbursed (up to $1,000).
The intern will have the opportunity to work closely with an endangered butterfly, the Miami blue butterfly (Cyclargus thomasi bethunebakeri). This includes assisting with research as well as ongoing monitoring efforts. The Miami blue butterfly was historically found throughout coastal south Florida but it is currently restricted to several remote, uninhabited islands in Key West and Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuges, which are accessible only by boat. We are working to learn more about the life history of this butterfly to inform population restoration efforts with the eventual goal of recovering populations of this butterfly to areas of its former range.
Additionally, occasional work will include assisting with a seabird social attraction study on Magnificent Frigatebirds within Key West and Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuges. Sites are only accessible by boat, and work involves monitoring of bird use on specific islands, as well as installation and maintenance of on-site field equipment.
Successful applicants must have a passion for working outdoors, even in challenging conditions. Summer temperatures often exceed 90°F, with high humidity, frequent thunderstorms, and biting/stinging insects. The applicant must be comfortable working on small motorboats, including in rough seas. The selected candidate may have the opportunity to complete the Department of the Interior’s Motorboat Operator Certification Course (MOCC).
The majority of the work for this internship will take place in the Lower Florida Keys and shared housing on Big Pine Key will be provided. The intern will have a private bedroom, but will share living space with other interns, volunteers and visiting researchers. The bunkhouse is air conditioned and includes laundry facilities, utilities, and internet access. A shopping center with a grocery store is located within walking or biking distance and the office where the selected candidate will report is located approximately 2 miles from the bunkhouse. Having a private vehicle is very helpful but not an absolute necessity. A vehicle will be provided for transportation between the office and field sites.
· Assist with releases of captive-bred Miami blue butterflies in the Lower and Middle Keys
· Assist with monitoring of released butterflies and immatures (eggs, larvae and pupae)
· Assist with monitoring of extant populations of Miami blue butterflies
· Assist in flight cage maintenance
· Assist with seabird monitoring and field equipment maintenance associated with social attraction study
· Help to coordinate and oversee volunteers
· Data entry using Microsoft Excel and Access
· Assist with additional projects as needed, potentially including monitoring Bartram’s scrub-hairstreak butterflies, monitoring of sea turtle nests, and public outreach/education.
· Current student or recent graduate of a Bachelor's program in Biology, Ecology or related field
· Enthusiasm for outdoor work, especially in hot and buggy conditions
· Ability to visually detect very small butterfly eggs and larvae. Training will be provided.
· Experience conducting biological fieldwork preferred
· Basic bird identification skills and ability to use binoculars
· Knowledge of Florida flora and fauna is helpful, but not required
· Experience operating or being on small boats is helpful, but not required
· Attention to detail and keen observation skills are required
· Physically fit, with the ability to hike several miles and lift 30 lbs. without assistance
· Ability to work well in a small team of researchers and volunteers
To apply, please send a cover letter, resume and contact information for three references in a single PDF document to Sarah Steele Cabrera at firstname.lastname@example.org by March 24, 2017. Applications will be reviewed as they are received.