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Sea Turtle Nesting Research (Melbourne)

The Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) Sea Turtle Nesting Program is seeking up to four detailed-oriented interns each term (preference might be given to interns interested in two consecutive terms) to assist with field work, lab work and data processing components of various research projects on sea turtle nesting ecology. Projects may include research related to nesting, hatching, and emergence success, phenology, and sex ratio related to climate change. The research will support population and nesting trend analyses and conservation status assessments.

These positions are located in Melbourne, on the central-east coast of Florida. The summer and fall terms will be largely field-based but will also have a considerable laboratory component and some data processing. The winter term (January-April) will focus on data processing.

Internship requires a minimum of three-months commitment, although a six-month commitment is preferable. Applicants should be available to work 30-40 hours per week. Start and end dates are somewhat flexible.

Successful candidates will be task-oriented individuals that can work independently and in a team in a field and/or laboratory setting. The primary responsibilities of the interns will be assisting with research tasks, which may include:

  • Field work on nesting beaches night and daytime (marking sea turtle nests, monitoring hatchling emergence, conduct post-emergence nest inventories)
  • Sea turtle nest identification and monitoring
  • Nest inventories
  • Collection of field data and measurements
  • Field equipment use and maintenance
  • Preparation of biological samples (mostly unhatched sea turtle eggs and skin samples and dissection of hatchlings)
  • Use of different types of microscopes
  • Proof of data accuracy
  • Sample organization and cataloguing
  • Pick-up of samples from collaborators at various Florida locations
  • Data entry, processing, and analysis

There may be occasional opportunities to assist with additional nesting program activities or research.


  • You must be a current undergraduate student or recent graduate in the following (or related) scientific disciplines: Biology, Environmental Sciences, and Oceanography/Marine Science.
  • You must be willing to work on the beach in adverse conditions (heat, rain, bugs), sometimes at night (with a partner) and on weekends, if needed.
  • You must be willing to work with often smelly and rotten sea turtle eggs.
  • You must be willing to work with deceased hatchling and conduct dissections.
  • You must have working knowledge of Microsoft Office suite and be comfortable using mobile apps.
  • Prior sea turtle nesting experience is preferred but not required.
  • Prior experience with trailers and ATVs is beneficial but not required.
  • A valid driver’s license is required.

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 résumé (or curriculum vitae) describing your relevant training and experience
  • Current academic transcripts
  • Names and contacts 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:

Internship Coordinator
FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
100 Eighth Avenue SE
St. Petersburg, FL 33701-5020