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Coastal Ecology Research supporting Ecosystem-Based Management

Summary / Description

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The Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve (Wells NERR) is part of the NOAA NERR system.  We promote research, education and stewardship to support ecosystem-based restoration and management of estuarine and coastal environments.  We are seeking interns (up to 4) to work as research team members during the 2014 field season.  Interns may choose to focus on one or two projects, in consultation with Wells NERR Research staff prior to their arrival.  They will have the opportunity to participate in other projects too, depending on their interests and project needs.

  1. Nekton Larval Community Dynamics – ongoing monitoring of larval fish and zooplankton species diversity and abundance in the Reserve’s WebhannetRiver estuary. Weekly sampling with plankton net and sample processing and ID back in the lab.
  2. Wading Bird Salt Marsh Indicator Survey – ongoing monitoring of top-predator wading birds as indicators of salt marsh ecological health; individual birds (herons, egrets, ibis) are identified and mapped at high tide throughout the Reserve’s salt marshes 2-4 times weekly.
  3. Marine Invasive Species Monitoring- Ongoing monitoring of marine Invasive species as part of the Marine Invader Monitoring and Information Collaborative (MIMIC). Monthly sampling at three distinct habitat types; Rocky Intertidal, Docks, and tidepools, for Presence and Abundance of 24 targeted marine invasive species.
  4. Effects of the Invasive Green Crab on Salt Marsh Geomorphology- We will be conducting research on the impacts of the invasive European Green Crab in two Maine estuaries. We will be assessing crab populations through a variety of sampling methods (traps, Fyke Nets, etc.) while assessing the impacts of crab burrowing and feeding on salt marsh erosion.
  5. Groundwater Hydrology and Marsh Geomorphology- We will be conducting research and monitoring to investigate groundwater processes and their effects on salt marsh erosion/accretion.
  6. Land use Classification and Habitat Mapping and Change- The reserve is looking for a student with experience and interest in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to work with our GIS special to assist in a Habitat Mapping and Change initiative, as well as a number of spatial analysis projects in support of various research and monitoring activates.
  7. Assessing Diadromous Species Population Structure and Movement- Students will work with WNERR researchers to identify diadromous fish species utilizing the Branch Brook estuary as a migratory pathway during spring and summer spawning periods, track anadromous life history through isotopic analysis, and track the movements of select species through the use of Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tagging.
  8. Community Based Water Quality Monitoring- Students will work with WNERR staff and community volunteers to collect water quality measurements in the Mousam and KennebunkRivers as part of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection Volunteer River Monitoring Program.

Skills Required

Academic background should be in natural science (i.e. biology, chemistry or allied discipline). We expect earnest interest and basic scientific skills (independent thinking, following protocols, attention to detail, and ability to collect, document and manage data) but no specific training for these internships. Interns must be prepared for the physical challenges of field work in marsh-estuarine, rocky intertidal, and stream habitats.

Other Information

Internship Location: NOAA/Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, Wells, Maine.

We are located on the Southcoast of Maine (www.wellsreserve.org), not far from Portsmouth, NH and Portland, ME. Our 200-acre campus is located adjacent to 2000 acres of protected salt marsh and estuary, and 67 square miles of coastal watershed (Little, Webhannet, Ogunquit Rivers), that provide many of our study sites. Comfortable on-site accommodations with cooking, dining, common and study space are available free of charge as part of our internships.

Intern Supervisor: Dr. Kristin Wilson / Number of slots available: 4

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