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Internship Opportunity

Detecting fungal pathogens in cetaceans and seawater (WA)

Posted on: 03/22/2017
Research Area(s): Internships / Research

Summary / Description

Marine mammals are often considered sensitive indicators of oceanic ecosystems and seawater quality. In the Salish Sea of the northeastern Pacific Ocean, fungal infections classified as mucormycoses are increasingly reported in cetaceans such as harbor porpoises and the endangered population of Southern Resident Killer Whales. One approach in understanding the epizootiology of this disease is to assess the distribution of the fungal pathogens in the marine waters inhabited by these mammals. The intern will be involved in molecular identification of fungi from affected animals, developing and testing a molecular assay to detect the pathogens, and applying the detection assay to tissues and environmental samples. By the end of the internship, the student will have experience in conducting an epizootiological investigation and will have improved understanding of molecular detection of pathogens. The research environment includes a group of scientists with expertise in microbiology, toxic microalgae, and molecular biology.

Skills Required

The candidate should have fundamental knowledge and skills in molecular biology, particularly with nucleic acid sequencing and PCR. A background in microbiology is desirable. Familiarity with Microsoft Office (especially spreadsheets) and database use is extremely helpful. Enthusiasm for pathogen detection and ability to work with colleagues is essential.


Northwest Fisheries Science Center, 2725 Montlake Boulevard East, Seattle, WA 98112

Other Information

Intern Supervisor:
Linda D. Rhodes
Number of Slots Available:
Is free housing available:
Can the student be placed:

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NCCOS delivers ecosystem science solutions for stewardship of the nation’s ocean and coastal resources, in direct support of NOS priorities, offices, and customers, and to sustain thriving coastal communities and economies.

National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
1305 East West Highway, Rm 8110
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: (240) 533-0300 / Fax: (301) 713-4353
Email: nccos.webcontent@noaa.gov