Internships, Volunteer Opportunities & Certificates in Marine Mammal Biology and Conservation Ecology

The University of Alaska Anchorage, Kenai Peninsula College, Kachemak Bay Campus has a few openings in its Semester by the Bay (SBB) Program this spring 2024 and fall 2024. SBB is an Alaska, place-based experiential learning program in Homer that not only provides engaging marine and estuarine internships (some paid via free or reduced housing), but also offers transcripted Occupational Endorsement Certificates (OEC) in Marine Mammal Biology (fall) and Conservation Ecology (spring). Plus, second-year Undergraduates through post-PhD students are eligible, and all receive in-state tuition.

Classes offer extensive field, lab, and classroom experiences, as well as independent research projects. Each spring semester includes Conservation Biology, Exploration Ecology & Field Study, Global Climate Change, Sharing Science Across Diverse Audiences, and Internship in the Biological Sciences. Each fall semester includes Advanced Marine Mammal Skeletal Articulation, Marine Mammal Biology & Experiential Learning, Behavioral Ecology of Marine Mammals & Experiential Learning, Undergraduate Seminar in Marine Mammal Conservation, and Internship in the Biological Sciences.

Internship and volunteer opportunities with local agencies and NGOs include, but are not limited to: photo-identification of marine mammals (harbor porpoise, humpback whale, beluga whale, killer whale) and habitat assessment (eDNA/eRNA of prey availability, water quality); sea otter habitat use, prey and potential pathogens; marine mammal stranding network response; environmental education and outreach; sustainability of peat wetlands; marine invasives; GIS and habitat mapping of nearshore kelp ecosystems; marine debris.

We will work with students and their institutions to ensure course transferability, whenever applicable, in order to earn our OECs. Please see our website for more information on internships and the SBB program:


We welcome any questions at

Thank you,
Dr. Debbie Boege Tobin

Spring 2022 Marine Mammal Stranding Internship – ALMMSN

The Alabama Marine Mammal Stranding Network (ALMMSN) located at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL) in Dauphin Island, AL, is recruiting a highly motivated intern to assist with marine mammal stranding response in coastal Alabama. ALMMSN is a cooperative regional stranding network partner and works in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to respond to dolphin, whale, and manatee strandings. Our primary goal is to enhance reporting and response efforts for marine mammal strandings to ensure collection of consistent, high-quality data that are used to evaluate causes of strandings and/or death. This internship is a physically demanding position, as field response and necropsy events often create long days in a variety of weather conditions. This intern will gain useful knowledge, skills, and experience in the fields of marine biology and marine mammalogy.

Internship Dates: 3 to 5 months starting as early as January 2022 (3 month minimum; may be extended based on intern performance and availability; start/end dates flexible)

Daily duties include: Field stranding response, data collection, data management, participation in necropsy events, sample handling, and equipment/lab maintenance/cleaning. Interns will also have the opportunity to complete an independent research project based on relevant interests, culminating in a presentation.

Qualification requirements:
• be a student or recent graduate (within 0-2 years) of a biology/marine biology, marine science, oceanography, zoology, or related program (non-traditional students encouraged to apply);
• have interest in marine mammal biology, physiology, and anatomy;
• have a valid driver’s license and clean driving record;
• be 18 years or older;
• be physically fit and a confident swimmer;
• able to lift at least 50 lbs and drag at least 100 lbs;
• have the ability to endure unpleasant field conditions including temperatures between 30°F-100°F, rain, humidity and biting insects;
• have the ability to work at least 30 hrs/week (no more than 35) including one weekend day per week (nights and holidays may be required as necessary with fieldwork);
• show proof of fully vaccinated status against COVID-19 before start date.
o Having knowledge of digital SLR cameras and lenses is a plus.

This position is paid ($10-12 per hour). Intern is responsible for providing their own housing and transport to DISL. Assistance finding housing can be provided. Applicant must be eligible to legally work in the U.S. for the duration of the internship period; no visa assistance can be provided. Interested applicants must send a cover letter, CV, and dates of availability to by November 15th, 2021 to be considered.
Resources for the construction of such documents are available online and at most institutions’ Career Services departments, such as
Preference will be given to applicants who can stay through the entire internship period. Application review will begin immediately.

DISL is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from a diverse pool of prospective interns without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, protected veteran or disabled status, or genetic or any other identity information. DISL and ALMMSN recognize that a diversity of perspectives, lived experiences, ideas, and passions allows us to better meet our goal of ocean-literate communities in Alabama and that equity, diversity, and inclusion are fundamental to achieving our mission. It is the intent of the ALMMSN to be fair and impartial in all of its relations and to recognize and respect the individual.

More information about ALMMSN and the Marine Ecosystem Response Laboratory can be found at, or by contacting ALMMSN at

Mystic Aquarium REU Summer 2022


Our REU program offers a unique collaboration between the renowned Mystic Aquarium and a leading institute of higher education, the University of Connecticut, Avery Point, located on Long Island Sound. In fact, we are the only aquarium in the U.S. to have an REU! With us, you will gain access to both Aquarium and University resources and expertise. In addition to the focus on cutting-edge marine research, we also give our students extensive training in professional development, teamwork and a true view into the world of research. We ensure our students are given all the keys to be successful. All research projects will be carried out at UConn, while professional development activities, seminars and job shadows will take place at Mystic Aquarium. All students will be given access to Mystic Aquarium throughout the 10 week period from June 6 – August 12, 2022.

All student projects will revolve around the central question of
“How do environmental stressors affect the physiology, behavior, and ecology of phytoplankton and marine animals in relation to the marine ecosystem?”
Each REU student, under the guidance of their mentor, will focus their research on an individual link in the food chain. Each student will be expected to develop their own research question and project; be given independence but support to complete it. Throughout the program, students will come together to discuss how their results relate to those of their classmates in addressing the overarching question. Thus, students will gain an understanding not only of their individual research topic, but how a project contributes to the “big picture” of science as a whole.

Sea Turtle and Marine Mammal Stranding Response Batten Fellowship

The Virginia Aquarium’s Research & Conservation Division is now accepting applications for Sea Turtle and Marine Mammal Stranding Response Batten Fellows. The application deadline is January 20, 2020. Fellows are expected to work 800 hours over approximately five months beginning in May, but actual start and end dates are somewhat flexible. Housing is not provided by the Virginia Aquarium. Fellows are fully responsible for fulfilling all requirements of their home institutions to receive academic credit. This competitive position includes modest compensation to help offset personal and incidental expenses over the course of the appointment period.

Position Overview
Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program (VAQS) Fellows promote the conservation of marine animal species through research, rescue, rehabilitation, and education. Fellows will be trained in all aspects of stranding response. Stranding work is unpredictable, therefore experiences will vary by fellowship session. VAQS staff will provide as many learning opportunities as possible during each session.

– Respond to live and dead marine mammals and sea turtles in the field.
– Participate in all aspects of post-mortem examinations: cutting and sampling, data collection & entry, photographing, report writing, carcass removal, and cleaning.
– Perform daily husbandry tasks, including food preparation, feeding, and cleaning the rehab area, kitchen and associated supplies and equipment.
– Assist staff with new patients, including: daily treatments, restraining animals for exams, collecting vital rates (heart rate, respiratory rate, temperature) and morphometrics, taking photographs, administering medications, and performing wound care.
– Assist with research projects and field activities involving sea turtles and marine mammals.
– Ensure response preparedness by stocking response bags, fueling vehicles, and cleaning/restocking gear and supplies.
– Assist with releases of rehabilitation patients, public outreach events, and volunteer/cooperator training.
– Assist staff with daily administrative tasks, including answering hotline calls, data entry, completing response paperwork, and when trained acting as stranding and live animal lead (under the supervision of a staff member), as well as acting as after-hours hotline point of contact.
– Complete other projects and tasks as assigned by VAQS staff.

Required Qualifications
– Must be at least 18 years old.
– Must be a rising junior, recent graduate, or currently pursuing a post-graduate degree in a science-based (or veterinary) program.
– Must be self-motivated, articulate, mature, reliable, and responsible. Should work well independently as well as with a team.
– Must be physically fit with the ability to lift 50lbs and walk long distances (>5 mi/8 km) on the beach in adverse conditions such as extreme heat and cold, humidity, rain, and/or wind.
– Be able to swim and be comfortable in and around open water and boats.
– Be willing to learn how to drive response vehicles, if accepted (required).

Preferred Qualifications
– Demonstrate interest in a career in marine or veterinary science.
– Have some experience in stranding response, field research, and/or wild/exotic animal care.
– Have basic math and computer skills using MS spreadsheets, relational databases, and data entry (advanced programs such as SQL, GIS, R, etc. preferred).
– Be comfortable around dead and decomposing animals.
– Be comfortable driving large pick-up trucks and vans.

Position Requirements
– Attend VAQS orientation and City of Virginia Beach Defensive Driving.
– Possess a valid U.S. driver’s license.
– Be available to perform support activities (24-7) as needed during the period of appointment.

Fellowship Learning Objectives
– Develop fundamental hands-on stranding response and rehabilitation skills:
– Perform basic post-mortem examinations on sea turtle and marine mammals.
– Perform basic health assessments of rehabilitation patients, including collecting vital rates, treating wounds, administering medications, and processing blood samples.
– Be able to complete Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network (STSSN) and Marine Mammal Stranding Level A forms.
– Enter stranding data in Microsoft Access.
– Complete an individual project with a final deliverable (paper/report and oral presentation).

Fellow Schedule
Fellow is expected to be available 4-5 days per week, 8am-4:30pm. Weekend and holiday coverage is expected.

Minimum Commitment Required
800 hours

Fellow Supervisor/Mentor
VAQS Volunteer Manager and project supervisor

Work Location
Virginia Aquarium’s Marine Animal Care Center

Application Requirements
A complete application includes:
– Cover letter. There is some flexibility with Fellowship start/end dates; please include any known schedule conflicts in your cover letter. Please indicate the specific Batten Fellowship opportunity to which you are applying.
– Fellowship expectations letter. This should include what you expect to do and get from your experience at VAQS.
– Resume
– College transcript(s)
– Two letters of recommendation; one must be an academic reference.

If applying via email, please send application to and send a copy of the application to Incomplete applications will not be considered.

If applying via mail, please send application to:
Volunteer Services Office – Batten Fellows
Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
717 General Booth Boulevard
Virginia Beach, VA 23451

For more information about the application process, please visit: