The manatee photo-identification program is based in St. Petersburg, Florida at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI). FWRI is the research arm of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), a state agency. For more information about FWRI, please visit: https://myfwc.com/research/. FWRI’s manatee photo-identification research focuses on long-term monitoring of Florida manatees in southwest Florida. The program’s primary goal is to document individual manatees, which allows us to estimate annual adult survival and reproductive rates and to model population dynamics for state and federal assessments of Florida manatee status and recovery. Photo-identification data also provide insight regarding manatee movements, site fidelity, habitat use and behavior.
Interns will primarily assist staff members with photographing manatees and collecting behavioral and environmental data at sites around Tampa Bay. Interns will also be responsible for a number of lab-based photo-identification tasks, such as downloading images, entering information into databases, scanning data sheets and matching images to known animals. Interns often collect data independently in the field, thus responsible, detail oriented applicants are encouraged to apply. Most field work is land-based; however, during the winter session opportunities are available to assist with boat-based manatee photo-identification. Other responsibilities may include but are not limited to data entry, assisting with manatee genetics research, special projects and outreach activities. This internship provides a great opportunity to gain valuable field and lab experience at a government agency.
Two positions are available each year: one in winter (November to March) and one in summer (May to September). Start and end dates are flexible; however, a minimum commitment of four weekdays per week for four months is required. Work hours are typically 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is no compensation for these internship positions and successful applicants will be responsible for their own housing and transportation to and from the institute. Positions are open until filled, and priority will be given to candidates who can commit for longer periods.
If you are interested in applying for an internship with the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, the following information is required:
• A cover letter describing the internship you are applying for; area(s) of academic/research interest; and the dates, days, and hours of availability.
• A resume (or curriculum vitae) describing your relevant training and experience.
• Current academic transcripts. (unofficial are sufficient)
• Names and contact information for three references.
Please submit application items as an e-mail attachment to:
If electronic submission is not possible, hard copies can be mailed to:
FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
100 Eighth Avenue SE
St. Petersburg, FL 33701-5020
Applicants may contact FWRI’s Manatee Photo-identification Project Manager, Kari Rood, (Kari.Rood@MyFWC.com, 727-502-4737) with questions regarding the internship.
• Computer proficiency; Microsoft Access literacy preferred.
• Working knowledge of SLR digital cameras, filters and lenses preferred but not required.
• The ability to lift approximately 50 pounds of equipment.
• A valid U.S. Driver’s License.
• Enthusiasm and willingness to learn field and lab based research methods.