Sea Turtle Research Nighttime Tagging Internship: Florida
Mote Marine Laboratory's Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program
Interns will report to Nokomis Public Beach, 115 South Casey Key Road, Nokomis, FL for tagging field work. Occasional office work at the Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program office at Mote Marine Laboratory, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL.
Interns will be responsible for their own transportation to and from Nokomis and Sarasota and living expenses during the time of the internship. A small stipend may be available dependent upon funding. Scholarships are available from Mote Marine Laboratory through a competitive application process. Scholarship applications can be found on the Mote Internship Application webpage. The STCRP is not involved in the scholarship review process.
Mote Marine Laboratory’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program (STCRP) has monitored sea turtle activity since 1982 with rising numbers observed in recent years. The program supports conservation of the marine turtles (primarily Caretta caretta and Chelonia mydas) nesting on the central Gulf Coast of Florida through the collection of fundamental biological data about nesting and hatching of sea turtles in Sarasota County. The STCRP is a community-based program consisting of 5-7 staff members, 10-20 interns, and approximately 300 volunteers who monitor 35 miles of beach for sea turtle activity. The STCRP also works with agencies throughout the state to support conservation efforts for these federally protected marine turtles.
The nighttime tagging team consists of 2 staff members and 3-4 interns and monitors ~4 miles of beach on Casey Key, Nokomis, Florida in pairs via All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV). Tagging Interns participate in the nighttime monitoring/tagging of nesting sea turtles. Each evening presents different training opportunities as there will be nights when no turtles are encountered and there will be nights when numerous turtle activities are taking place simultaneously. In general, Tagging Interns will be trained to do the tasks listed below.
• Operate an ATV, at night, to patrol the beach in search of nesting sea turtles.
• Check nesting turtles for existing external flipper tags and internal Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags, and apply new tags when none are present.
• Take standard sea turtle measurements.
• Record all required data on applicable forms and validate data upon entry into database.
• Utilize online database to locate tag records.
• Communicate professionally with the staff via phone or text or Slack.
• Collect data/samples for other projects approved by governing agencies.
• Organize/Store collected samples according to established protocols.
• Assist in the attachment/deployment of satellite transmitters or data loggers used to monitor sea turtles and nests.
• Maintain field equipment.
• Replenish tagging supplies nightly.
• Educate the public about sea turtles, the hazards they face, and the proper actions humans should take when turtles are encountered.
Tagging Interns participate in nighttime patrols from approximately 8:00 pm to 5:00 am each day (including weekends), but will have two consecutive days off during the week. Tagging interns will primarily report to a field station on Casey Key and not to the Mote campus. Nighttime monitoring/tagging can be complicated by insects, heat, humidity, and inclement weather.
College students or recent graduates that are responsible, adaptable, hard working, motivated to learn, and have an attention to detail are encouraged to apply. Maturity and professionalism are necessary when working with the public, other STCRP staff members, and STCRP volunteers. Specific requirements follow.
• MUST HAVE A VALID DRIVER’S LICENSE AND DEPENDABLE VEHICLE. Tagging interns are responsible for transporting themselves to the tagging beach.
• A commitment to participate in nighttime monitoring/tagging for at least 10 weeks.
• A background or degree in Marine Science/Biology/Ecology or related field preferred.
• Research field experience preferred, but not required.
• Ability to handle high temperatures, humidity, insects and carry up to 30 lbs.
• Ability to walk in soft sand for at least 2 miles.
• Ability to remain alert and focused during overnight hours.
• Ability to work closely with a small team.
• Basic computer proficiency.
If you are interested in applying for an internship with the STCRP:
• Complete and submit an internship application which can be found on the Mote Marine Laboratory College Internship webpage. On the application, when asked for your first choice program, choose Sea Turtle Conservation & Research: Nighttime Tagging.
• Read over the application carefully and provide all the required materials to the Mote Intern Office (statement of interest, current college transcript, letter of recommendation, resume, etc.). Incomplete applications may not be considered.
Applicants may contact Gina Hodsdon at (941) 388-4441, ext. 269 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any general questions related to Mote internships. Specific questions related to Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program Tagging internship can be directed to Kristen Mazzarella.