2018 Summer Internship: Whale Museum Soundwatch Boater Education Program (Friday Harbor, WA)

Note that this is a time-intensive (essentially 12 weeks, full-time work) and unpaid, but a fabulous opportunity for students interested in marine mammals and environmental outreach/education. See below for details:

The Whale Museum’s Soundwatch Boater Education Program: 2018 Summer Internships Available!

Soundwatch is a successful and internationally acclaimed education and monitoring program working to reduce vessel disturbance to orcas and other marine wildlife in the Salish Sea region of Washington State (USA) and British Columbia (Canada). Soundwatch needs interns to help conduct seasonal vessel patrols, educate boaters on regional/federal guidelines and regulations, and collect data while monitoring vessel activities around whales. Data from this critical program characterizes vessel activity trends around endangered orcas and other marine wildlife. The data is used to promote better boater compliance and to inform marine mammal management strategies such as state and federal vessel laws and guidelines. The Soundwatch program is operated by The Whale Museum (TWM), a not-for-profit organization located in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island in Washington state.

Interns Must:

  • Commit to at least 12 weeks between May and September (with possible extension)
  • Be able to work approximately 35-40 hours per week, Mon-Sun
  • Perform a variety of tasks both in the field on the boat and in an office setting
  • Have a strong sense of responsibility, work ethic and attention to detail
  • Produce high quality research efforts and exhibit strong interpersonal skills
  • Field days: Interns must be able to spend many hours on the water sometimes in extreme seasonal conditions. Field days typically exceed eight hours and occur at least three or four times a week.

Internship is located in Friday Harbor, Washington.  Interns are responsible for finding their own housing and having a mode of transportation. Once accepted, TWM staff will be able to assist Interns in suggesting suitable housing options and locations.

Applicant requirements: At least 18 years of age, physically fit (able to lift 40 lbs), must be able to swim, not easily susceptible to seasickness, and familiar with database spreadsheets. Preference will be given to undergraduates or recent graduates in the marine or wildlife sciences. Interns will need a valid US passport or an enhanced driver’s license, CPR/First Aid certification. A state boater license/or equivalent safe boating card, not required, but is encouraged.


Please send a letter of interest, a resume, and contact information for three references. Be sure to include what dates you can start/end.

 Applications accepted until March 20, 2017.
Decisions will be made by April 14, 2017.


Soundwatch Coordinator
P.O. Box 945
Friday Harbor, Washington 98250
Or email (preferred) to: soundwatch@whalemuseum.org

Please visit The Whale Museum’s Web site for more information on Soundwatch:  http://www.whalemuseum.org/programs/soundwatch/soundwatch.html


[seminar]: Modeling the Distribution and Abundance of Ice-Associated Seals in the Arctic

Modeling the Distribution and Abundance of Ice-Associated Seals in the Arctic

Paul B. Conn
Research Statistician
Marine Mammal Laboratory, NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, WA, USA

Affiliate Associate Professor
School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

Thursday, November 2, 2017 4:00 PM
Fishery Sciences Building, Room 102

info session for undergraduate academic programs related to marine & aquatic sciences hosted upstairs in FSH 203 from 3:00 – 4:00 pm

Abstract: Negative trends in seasonal Arctic sea-ice extent have prompted concern for the viability of ice-associated marine mammals.  For instance, bearded, ribbon, spotted, and ringed seals all depend on sea ice for molting, pupping, and rest; concerns about declining habitat have played prominently in recent listing decisions under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.  To better understand the distribution and abundance of these species, NOAA scientists, in cooperation with Russian counterparts, have recently conducted wide ranging aerial surveys in the Bering, Chukchi, and Okhotsk Seas.  These surveys use infrared technology to detect heat signatures of seals basking on ice, and coordinated digital photographs to provide information on species identity.  Counts from these surveys provide information on distribution and abundance, provided that information on the detection process is taken into account (e.g. species misclassification, detection probability of the sensors, corrections for animals that are in the water).  In this talk, I summarize recent research in estimation of abundance and distribution of ice-associated seals using these, and other (e.g. satellite tagging), data.  Importantly, statistical modeling must take into account the spatial shifts in distributions that occur when surveys are conducted over long periods.

Bio: Paul holds a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Grinnell College, a Master’s degree in biomathematics from North Carolina State University, and a PhD in wildlife biology from Colorado

[UW Today] Study shows high pregnancy failure in southern resident killer whales; links to nutritional stress and low salmon abundance

from UW Today, June 29, 2017. Note: Deborah Giles from the Center for Whale Research teaches the FHL 375: Marine Mammals of the Salish Sea course at Friday Harbor Labs in spring quarter.

orca breaching
A southern resident killer whale in 2010.

A multi-year survey of the nutritional, physiological and reproductive health of endangered southern resident killer whales suggests that up to two-thirds of pregnancies failed in this population from 2007 to 2014. The study links this orca population’s low reproductive success to stress brought on by low or variable abundance of their most nutrient-rich prey, Chinook salmon.

The study, published June 29 in the journal PLOS ONE, was conducted by researchers from the Center for Conservation Biology at the University of Washington, along with partners at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center and the Center for Whale Research. The team’s findings help resolve debate about which environmental stressors — food supply, pollutants or boat traffic — are most responsible for this struggling population’s ongoing decline.

“Based on our analysis of whale health and pregnancy over this seven-year period, we believe that a low abundance of salmon is the primary factor for low reproductive success among southern resident killer whales,” said lead author Sam Wasser, a UW professor of biology and director of the Center for Conservation Biology. “During years of low salmon abundance, we see hormonal signs that nutritional stress is setting in and more pregnancies fail, and this trend has become increasingly common in recent years.”

Southern resident killer whales typically feed from May to October in the Salish Sea, and spend winters in the open Pacific Ocean along the West Coast. Unlike transient orca populations that feed on marine mammals, more than 95 percent of the diet of southern resident orcas consists of salmon, with Chinook salmon alone making up about three-quarters of their total diet.

read the full article on UW Today

Marine Mammals Passive Acoustic Talk

Eavesdropping on the ocean: using passive acoustic monitoring
technologies to estimate marine mammal population sizes

Please join us for a talk by Dr. Danielle Harris on Tuesday, December
6th at 11:30am in Ocean Teaching Building room 155. Dr. Harris is a
statistical ecologist and acoustician visiting from St. Andrews
University’s Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental
Modelling (CREEM). This lecture is open to the public.


Population size, or abundance, estimates of many marine mammal species
are traditionally produced using data collected from visual surveys.
However, acoustic datasets can also be used to estimate abundance, and
offer a number of advantages over visual survey methods. One
advantage is that there are many instruments already deployed
worldwide for a variety of purposes, including military and seismic
monitoring, which can also be used for marine mammal surveying. In
addition, more recently developed technologies, such as underwater
gliders and other autonomous ocean vehicles, are creating new
monitoring opportunities. In this seminar, I will give an overview of
how acoustic data can be used to estimate marine mammal abundance, and highlight some of the research challenges that arise from (a) using
opportunistic data from existing instrument deployments and (b) using
new technologies. The work presented here is part of two ongoing
research projects funded by the Office of Naval Research and involves
several datasets and study species. In particular, fin whale
(Balaenoptera physalus) monitoring using Comprehensive
Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty hydrophones in the western Pacific Ocean and
using an ocean glider to monitor cetacean species in the Southern
Californian Bight will be discussed.

[Event Details]

[job]: Field Response Sector Manager – Hawaii Marine Mammal Alliance (Oahu, HI)



Hawaii Marine Mammal Alliance (HMMA) is a non-profit organization funded by private donations, government grants and corporate sponsorships.  We are dedicated to the preservation, recovery and stewardship of Hawaii’s endangered marine mammals and the coastal ecosystem we share.  In partnership with NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, our staff and volunteers support critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal species research and recovery efforts through important field response, assessment, identification, documentation – and when needed – assistance with in-field animal interventions and stranding support.  Another primary function of the organization is engaging in public outreach to educate residents and visitors and to promote responsible viewing, interaction and fishing activity that fosters stewardship of the Hawaiian monk seal species.


Hawaii Marine Mammal Alliance (HMMA) has an immediate opening for a Field Response Sector Manager responsible for the southern section of the Island of Oahu in the State of Hawaii. The position is responsible for the following duties:

–  Patrol shorelines for, or respond to, reports of Hawaiian monk seal sightings on land or in shallow waters.

–  Locate, assess, identify and document Hawaiian monk seals and their activity to assist NOAA researchers in species recovery research and management.

–  Assist with animal intervention activity, marine mammal rescue and stranding support.

–  Engage with the public to educate people about this critically endangered species and to promote responsible viewing, interaction and sustainable fishery activities.

–  Recruit, train and manage volunteers to ensure field response schedules and coverage needs are met.

–  Become subject matter expert on Hawaiian monk seals regularly sighted within the sector.

–  Become subject matter expert on haul-out locations within the sector, including shoreline access logistics, homeowner contacts, gated entry access, and other operational information.

–  Identify public education, outreach and non-profit partnering opportunities within the sector.

–  Develop relationships with law enforcement or other government personnel that can assist with marine mammal response and management within the sector.

–  Develop relationships with individuals within the sector that can assist with cultural issues associated with marine mammal haul-outs or strandings.

–  Assist other staff with gaps in personnel coverage and on completing key projects.


This job is considered a part-time position based on a work schedule encompassing approximately 108 hours per month and is exempt from State of Hawaii requirements to provide paid health care insurance.  Core competencies needed for the position include:

–  Possess excellent written and oral command of the English language

–  Be a person with a professional and open personal demeanor that enjoys contact with the public, volunteers and fellow staff

–  Possess effective personnel management skills

–  Ability to thrive in a highly dynamic environment and the flexibility to navigate changing organizational needs

–   Ability to work in a virtual environment without direct supervision

–  Have a passion for and an understanding of environmental, conservation or wildlife issues


–  21 years of age or older

–  College degree or equivalent

–  Willingness to commit to this position for a period of at least 2 years

–  U.S. citizenship or relevant needed work permits and/or visas

–  A least 1 year in prior supervisory positions or relevant experience

–  Relevant work experience, preferably in marine mammal management, conservation or environmental matters

–  Valid drivers license, full-time access to a reliable vehicle and proof of insurance with Hawaii minimum liability coverage

–  Access to a cellular phone with 4G data service

–  Access to a personal computer with Internet access

–  Ability to walk at least 3 miles over shoreline conditions

–  Ability to lift and carry at least 75 pounds over 100 feet

–  Be available for emergency response anywhere on the Island of Oahu

–  Physical abilities to support strenuous activities associated with restraint or removal of marine mammals in difficult shoreline terrain and challenging environmental conditions

–  Pass background check


Please send a letter of interest and your resume for consideration to jon.gelman@hi-mma.org no later than August 31, 2016.  The intent is to fill this position no later than September 30, 2016.

[job]: Northern Range Operations Response Coordinator, The Marine Mammal Center (Sausalito, CA)

marinemammalcenterlogoAbout the Opportunity

This is an opportunity to join a team responsible for coordinating the rescue, transport and release of marine mammals from over 600 miles of coastline. The successful candidate will report to the Northern Range Operations Manager as a part of the Rescue and Response Team within the Veterinary Science Department. This position serves the following primary functions:

  • Coordinate the day to day operations of rescue and response central dispatch
  • Train and oversee interns and volunteers in answering the Stranded Animal Hotline and taking down accurate reports
  • Answer the Stranded Animal Hotline, communicating with concerned members of the public with empathy and understanding, and educating callers about marine mammals
  • Dispatch response teams for the assessment, rescue, transport, and release of a variety of marine mammals
  • Work with veterinary staff to assess stranded animals, making decisions regarding the need for rescue and communicating with response teams
  • Coordinate the daily transportation and offloading of marine mammals at the Sausalito hospital
  • Maintain rescue equipment and vehicles under the supervision of the NRO Manger, organizing inventory and making repairs and purchases as needed
  • Manage projects completed by on-site volunteers, ranging from equipment repairs and alterations, to data entry
  • Adhere to and promote safety standards and protocols
  • Rotate after hours on-call, evening, weekend and holiday coverage

Application deadline: June 24

[full job posting and application details]


[internship]: Savannah State University Dolphin Sciences Lab (Savannah, GA)

The Savannah State University Dolphin Sciences Laboratory (SSUDS lab) is accepting applications for Fall 2016interns. There are 2 positions available. Application deadline is June 24th.

The SSUDS lab is located adjacent to the marsh on the campus of Savannah State University in coastal Georgia. The SSUDS lab and Dr. Tara Cox study spatial ecology and conservation biology of long-lived marine vertebrates, marine and coastal policy and management, and human interactions with marine mammals.Current projects include: Human-interaction behaviors (particularly begging), stock structure and abundance estimates, mother/calf distribution and habitat use, and diet of common bottlenose dolphins.

Interns will support graduate research on common bottlenose dolphins living in the local waterways. In addition, there may be opportunities to help other marine science graduate students with diverse fieldwork.

Dates: Aug 1st–Dec 16th(Start and end dates are flexible)

Location: Savannah State University in Savannah, Georgia

Time: Interns are expectedto commit to ~ 30 hours per week and their time will be split between lab and field work. Dolphin surveys will be conducted 2 days per month.

Lab duties: photo-identification, data entry and double checking

Field duties: assisting with small boat-based photo-identification surveys including sighting dolphins, data recording, photography, and environmental measurements

Class: Interns are welcome to sit in on the Conservation Biology and/or Coastal Zone Management courses taught by Dr. Cox in the fall. Please note that hours spent in class do not count towards lab hours.

[more details and application information]

[unpaid internship]: Great Australian Bight Right Whale Study (Bentley, Australia)


The Curtin University Great Australian Bight Right Whale Study (GABRWS) is seeking a dedicated and enthusiastic individual to assist as a research intern during the 2016 season.

This position is available for 6 weeks: July 15 – August 31 2016. We ask that intern is able to commit for the entire period.

This study contributes to the long term monitoring of southern right whales in the Great Australian Bight, South Australia, now in its 26th year.

Duties will include cliff based census of aggregation area, photo identification, data entry, matching of photo ID to the long term catalogue. There may also be opportunity for involvement in underwater acoustics program and theodolite behavioural study.

Work is completed at the Head of Bight, in the Great Australian Bight South Australia. This area is remote and isolated with limited resources.

This is an unpaid position and you will be responsible for the cost of your own transport to and from Ceduna, South Australia. Flights arrive daily to Ceduna from Adelaide, where you will be met and driven to the study site (approx. 3.5 hour drive).

Food, travel and accommodation expenses will be covered during the internship.

Accommodation is very basic and includes shared kitchen/living/office space and a private room in the form of a converted sea container with bed, shower and toilet.

Required skills:

  • Reliable, motivated, positive attitude
  • Ability to work and live closely with others as part of a small team
  • Strong work ethic with the ability to work unsupervised
  • Undergraduate degree in marine biology/conservation biology or a related major (honours preferred)
  • Field research/survey experience
  • Computer and written skills
  • Fluent in English
  • GIS (preferred)
  • Theodolite operation and data analysis (preferred)
  • Marine mammal research background (preferred)

Preference will be given to individuals with experience in right whale photo identification and matching, although this is not essential and training will be provided.

To apply please send a CV with reference and cover letter (no more than 1 single sided A4 page) to rhiward@hotmail.com

For further information on the study visit www.gabrightwhales.com or www.facebook.com/GABRWS/

For more information on Curtin University’s Centre for Marine Science and Technology visit cmst.curtin.edu.au

[job]: Marine Animal Rescue Specialist, Marine Animal Rescue (California)



LOCATION: MAR’s authorized territory is Los Angeles County from Pacific Palisades to Long Beach and west to Catalina, California.

HOURS: 8 HOURS PER DAY 2 DAYS PER WEEK Be prepared to work long days from February to June.

SALARY: Commensurate with experience and skills

JOB DESCRIPTION: Must be available five days a week, 8 hours per day for response, rescue and transportation of marine animals. Will be responsible for accurately evaluating the condition of a stranded marine animal. Will be responsible for conducting rescue operations on beaches, rock jetties, docks and other common as well as uncommon stranding locations, and to learn the proper use of specialized marine animal rescue, transportation and safety equipment. Must be able to work in cooperation with local agencies and volunteers and be responsible to know all local, state and Federal laws pertaining to the rescuing of marine animals.

START: Within a few months


  • Provide background/references
  • A valid drivers license with no points
  • Minimum one year experience in rescuing seals and sea lions
  • Must correctly identify local marine animal species along with knowledge of birthing seasons and natural behaviors of marine animals
  • Some animal-related emergency medical experience
  • Must meet challenging physical fitness requirements
  • 24 hour Hazwhoper certificate
  • Small boat handling
  • Able to drive 4WD Pickup truck


  • Maintain rescue and transportation equipment
  • Responsible for school visits
  • Must be enthusiastic with good communication skills and be able to work with others, including Coast Guard, Lifeguards, Police, etc.
  • When on-call, must answer calls promptly
  • Must pass County Beach Safety Driving Course
  • Coordinate volunteers

MAR is looking for committed individuals who would like to make rescuing marine animals a career. Training will be provided by MAR to ensure continued high level of response for any marine animal calls. MAR will not consider candidates looking for a temporary position. Long-term applicants will be the only ones considered.

Send in your cover letter, resume and references to the email address below.

Contact: Peter Wallerstein, pw@marspecialists.org

[job]: Facilities Maintenance Technician, The Marine Mammal Center (Sausalito, CA)


The Facilities Maintenance Technician is part of a team of 6 staff responsible for inspecting, operating and maintaining The Center’s buildings and physical facilities. Duties include light building maintenance, landscaping and assisting other technicians with project work. This position reports to the Life Support and Facilities Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) Specialist.

Core Competencies: areas of proficiency, abilities, etc.

  • Basic plumbing skills
  • Basic fabrication skills
  • Light Mechanical systems work
  • Painting
  • Effective verbal, listening communications skills
  • Decision making and problem solving skills
  • Good time management and the ability to work unsupervised

Specific duties: actual job duties and responsibilities

  • Perform minor facility maintenance such as painting, landscaping & weeding
  • Perform daily inspections on building systems
  • Perform maintenance tasks on building equipment
  • Isolate, troubleshoot and coordinate the repair of faulty building systems
  • Provide support on fabrication projects
  • Provide support to outside contractors
  • Interface and communicate effectively with The Center’s rescue and animal care workforce (staff and volunteers)
  • Provide support for other departments

Qualifications: education, training, etc. needed

  • The incumbent would normally attain the required knowledge and skills through related experience.
  • Experience in safe work practices, including the proper use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the understanding of material safety data sheets (MSDS).
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • A valid California driver’s license

Work environment & physical demands

  • Must be able to work a full time rotating schedule that covers all hours of the day, all days of the week including weekends and holidays
  • Must be able to use PPE, including a respirator
  • Must be able to lift and carry 50 lbs
  • Must be able to work outside in all weather conditions

The deadline for applications is Wednesday, May 18, 2016

[full job posting and application details]