Marine Mammal Science Job Openings

Spring 2020 Dolphin Research Internship

Job Category: Internship Opportunities (unpaid)
Date Posted:

Savannah State University Dolphin Sciences Laboratory (SSUDS lab) internships

The SSUDS lab is located adjacent to the marsh on the campus of Savannah State University in coastal Georgia and is led by Dr. Tara Cox. The SSUDS lab studies spatial ecology, 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, catalog matching to other study areas in the SE USA, contaminant loads, and genetics of common bottlenose dolphins.

The SSUDS Lab selects volunteer interns during three seasons each year:
• Winter/Spring (positions January to May, applications due by October 1st);
• Summer (positions May to August, applications due by March 1st);
• Fall (positions August to December, applications due by June 1st).

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

The SSUDS lab is currently accepting applications for Spring 2020 interns.
There are 2 positions available. Application deadline is October 1st.

Dates: Jan 6 – May 29 (Start and end dates are flexible)
Location: Savannah State University in Savannah, Georgia
Time: Interns are expected to commit to ~30 hours per week, and time will be split between lab and field work. Dolphin surveys will be conducted 2 days per month, with additional surveys in May.

Lab duties: photo-identification, data entry and double checking
Field duties: assisting with small boat-based photo-identification surveys including sighting dolphins, recording data, photographing dorsal fins, and measuring environmental variables
Stranding response: although strandings are rare and unpredictable, you may be asked to help with data collection and necropsies
Class: Interns are welcome to sit in on the GIS course taught by Dr. Cox in the spring. Please note that hours spent in class do not count towards lab hours.

Extra Opportunities:
Local Volunteer Opportunities: Previous interns have taken advantage of their spare time to get involved with our network of marine science researchers in Georgia
1) Other SSU Marine Science Program Labs (field and lab research on shrimp, flatfish, oyster restoration, marine chemistry, etc.)
2) Tybee Island Marine Science Center (environmental education)
3) Skidaway Institute of Oceanography
4) GA DNR Non-game Division (cetacean, manatee, and sea turtle research)

• Minimum age of 18 years old
• Currently or recently enrolled in a college-level program in marine biology, biology, zoology, or related field
• Strong interest in marine mammals, the environment, and conservation
• Computer proficiency, especially MS Office; MS Access and ArcGIS experience a plus
• Excellent verbal communication skills, fluent in English
• Enthusiastic and dedicated, with strong interpersonal skills and ability to maintain a professional appearance and demeanor
• Strong sense of responsibility, work ethic, and attention to detail
• Works well in a team environment as well as individually
• Ability to work long days in the sun/heat/cold on a small boat

To apply please submit the following via email with the subject “SSUDS Internship” to All attached files must be named starting with your last name (e.g. Lastname-SSUDS_application_spring_2020.doc, Lastname-transcript). Please combine your application materials into 1-2 files.

• A cover letter describing why you are interested in this position, how the experience will help you meet your long-term goals, and your dates of availability.
• A resume (or curriculum vitae) describing your relevant training and experience.
• Current academic transcripts (unofficial are sufficient).
• Names and contact information for two references.

International applicants will be considered, but it is the responsibility of the applicant to acquire necessary visas and documentation

This position is unpaid, and interns are responsible for providing their own housing and transport to Savannah, GA. If accepted, we can provide contact information for possible shared housing opportunities with SSU students or other interns.

This is a great opportunity to work with scientists and graduate students in the field and lab while gaining experience with photo-identification and boat-based marine mammal surveys. Savannah State University offers a Master of Science in Marine Sciences; thus, successful interns may have future opportunities for graduate study in the SSUDS lab or other labs in the Marine Sciences Program. For more information about Marine Sciences at SSU please visit:

Robin Perrtree
SSUDS Lab Manager
Marine Sciences Technician
Savannah State University