Center For Ocean Sciences Education Excellence COSEE Pacific Partnerships
Follow this link to skip to the main content
Promoting Research Investigations in the Marine Environment, Oregon 2014

COSEE Pacific Partnerships is offering the following internship opportunities in Oregon to community college students interested in developing research and outreach skills through hands-on experience working with marine scientists and marine informal educators. Interns receive a $2,000 stipend and on-site housing is provided.

When: June 23 - August 15, 2014 (8-weeks)


  • You must have been enrolled at a community college during the 2013-2014 academic year.
  • One year of college level science coursework.

To Apply: Please submit the following materials by Friday, May 16, 2014

  1. Your Name, Mailing address, Telephone number, and Email address
  2. A copy of your transcripts (informal copy acceptable)
  3. A letter of recommendation from a faculty member (Recommenders may submit their letters directly by mail or email. If submitted with your application materials, letters must be in a sealed envelope with the recommender's signature across the seal.)
  4. A one-page essay detailing your interests in marine science and why you are applying for this opportunity
  5. List in order of preference the projects for which you would like to be considered (project descriptions below)

Oregon Institute of Marine Biology
PO Box 5389
Charleston, OR 97420

Applicants will be notified of their status by May 23, 2014.

Contact Coral Gehrke, Coordinator | Email | 541-888-2581ext. 236

PRIME Internship Opportunities at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology in Charleston

Nearshore biological oceanography and larval recruitment
Dr. Alan Shanks, Professor, and the Shanks Lab Graduate students, Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, University of Oregon
Most marine species reproduce by releasing many, tiny larvae into the ocean that can interact with currents for hours to months before growing into the adult. Larval behavior and dispersal is key in understanding population dynamics of these species. The intern will work with Dr. Alan Shanks and his graduate students on several projects linking the dispersal and recruitment of the larvae of Dungeness crabs (Cancer magister), native Olympia oysters (Ostrea lurida), and other marine organisms to nearshore physical oceanographic features. The intern, along with the Shanks Team members, will collect zooplankton samples (including larvae) using a variety of methods, including light traps, plankton tows, benthic grabs, and intertidal collections. The intern will also assist in obtaining physical data in nearshore waters by aiding in the deployment and retrieval of oceanographic instruments from small boats, including moorings, current drifters, and drogues. The team will also monitor larval settlement on intertidal rocks to examine how nearshore currents affect the delivery of larvae to their intertidal adult habitats.

Additional requirements: Fieldwork will take place near OIMB. Plankton tows and physical oceanographic sampling will occur on small boats. The intern must be able to carry heavy equipment and be willing to help launch the boat from the beach. The intern should also not be easily seasick.

Settlement and development of isolated hard-bottom communities
Kirstin Meyer, PhD student in Dr. Craig Young's Lab, Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, University of Oregon
Many hard-bottom habitats in subtidal and deep-sea environments are isolated, separated from other similar habitats by expanses of mud or sand. Isolated habitats can occur at a variety of spatial scales, from hydrothermal vents and cold seeps in the deep sea to shipwrecks and smaller isolated structures such as stones and even sea urchin tests on the continental shelf. These solid structures often provide important habitat for hard-bottom organisms in areas that they might not otherwise exist. Isolated habitats can function as islands, featuring a unique and diverse fauna. It is important to understand the factors which influence isolated hard-bottom communities, and for this purpose, graduate student Kirstin Meyer will be conducting an experiment, outplanting isolated substrata at varying distances from a subtidal rocky reef (~200 ft depth) along the Oregon coast. The intern will assist in the experiment, including construction of moorings, sampling day trips on the R/V Pluteus, and counting a variety of sessile invertebrates which settle on the substrata. The intern should have an interest in subtidal ecology and be prepared for long days both at sea and in the laboratory. Hard work will be rewarded by learning critical skills including experimental design, troubleshooting in field experiments, taxonomic identification, and statistical analysis. The intern will also have opportunities to do field work other Young Lab graduate students.

Additional requirements: Fieldwork will take place near OIMB. Plankton tows and physical oceanographic sampling will occur on small boats. The intern must be able to carry heavy equipment. The intern should also not be easily seasick.

PRIME Internship Opportunities at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport

Comparing the ecology and use of intertidal habitats including the introduced eelgrass Zostera japonica in coastal estuaries by juvenile fish and invertebrates
Dr. Brett Dumbauld, Ecologist, USDA Agriculture Research Service,
Estuaries are known to act as nursery areas for juvenile fish and invertebrates. Most estuaries along the Pacific Northwest coast have broad intertidal tideflats and habitats that are either structured (with seagrasses) or open unstructured soft bottom (mud and sand – often dominated by burrowing thalassindean shrimps, Neotrypaea californiensis and Upogebia pugettensis). Additional structure is often added in the form of shellfish aquaculture (primarily oysters but also clams) and we are investigating the function and use of these habitats by juvenile fish and invertebrates including Dungeness crab, English sole, and salmon. An intern will work with Dr. Dumbauld and Oregon State University graduate student Daniel Sund to characterize use of the introduced seagrass Zostera japonica, native seagrass Z. marina, aquaculture and open unstructured habitats. The intern will assist in deploying underwater video cameras, viewing footage, and entering data in a database as well as conducting on ground surveys and assisting with field and laboratory experiments. The intern may also assist with other activities like conducting annual population assessments of N. californiensis and U. pugettensis in Yaquina Bay, Oregon. Field work will often entail strenuous physical activity during sometimes inclement weather. Interns will be asked to carry 20+ pounds for long distances over soft and muddy intertidal sediment. The student must also be willing and able to work both independently or with a group during field and lab activities.

Characterization of the nearshore soft sediment fish community of the central Oregon coast
Dr. Waldo Wakefield, Fishery Resource Analysis and Monitoring NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Hatfield Marine Science Center, and Dr. Lorenzo Ciannelli, College of Earth and Atmospherics Sciences Oregon State University, Oregon State University, and and Mr. Matthew Yergey, Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission

In the late 1970s small-mesh beam trawl surveys in the Central Oregon coast provided a unique representation of the only spatially-extensive information on Oregon’s soft-sediment fish communities in waters shallower than 60 meters. Beam trawl collections included newly settled flatfishes as the dominant components. In more recent years (2008-2014 and ongoing), other studies provide comparable surveys from about 30 to 100 meter depth. Continued current survey data combined with previous survey data are potentially comparable because of similarities in the sampling gear, methodologies, season and spatial coverage. This work will contribute to filling the current gap of the Nearshore Ecological Data Atlas (NEDA) for Oregon State waters. The two COSEE interns will be working together participating In current surveys and conducting initial comparisons between the previous and modern data to characterize patterns of juvenile fish species composition in relation to season, location and bottom temperature and type. The interns will be conducting a combination of data entry and analysis in the lab and field work for sample collection and processing aboard a research vessel.

COSEE PRIME Internship at Hatfield Marine Science Center with Oregon Department of FIsh and Wildlife's Marine Reserve Program

Project Focus: Ecological Research
Advisor: Dr. Brittany Huntington, Research Project Leader, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

In 2008, the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) began a process to establish and implement a limited system of marine reserve sites within state waters. The goals of this marine reserve system are to conserve marine habitats and biodiversity; provide a framework for scientific research and effectiveness monitoring; and avoid significant adverse social and economic impacts on ocean users and coastal communities. The Research Team of the ODFW Marine Reserves Program is currently conducting baseline ecological monitoring within 5 no-take marine reserves from which we can assess future change.

The COSEE PRIME Intern would work directly with the Research Team in order to gain professional experience and practical skills in the field of marine reserve science. The student will be mentored in the scientific principles underscoring marine reserve design, baseline data collection, and subsequent monitoring of the ecological community. Our aim is to develop the Intern’s understanding of the monitoring processes through hands-on experiences. At sea field experience would include: deploying and retrieving oceanographic instruments, participating in hook-and-line fish sampling, and deploying and retrieving underwater video platforms including video landers and video sleds. Additionally, the Intern would be collaborating with both commercial and recreational fishers, and scientific SCUBA dive teams—though Interns will not be able to participate directly in diving activities themselves. The PRIME Intern would participate with field sampling teams preparing gear and data sheets, recording data while at sea, and servicing field equipment upon return. Depending on the Intern’s interest, he/she will also gain experience with data entry and scoring underwater video for various biological species groups (i.e. fish communities, invertebrate communities, and macroalgal communities).

The ideal candidate would have comfortable on boats, have experience at-sea, and a willingness to participate in field work.

Project Focus: Outreach and Communication
Advisor: Stacy Galleher, Marine Reserves Community Engagement Coordinator, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

The COSEE PRIME Intern would work in conjunction with both the community outreach, ecological, and human dimensions research arms of the Marine Reserve Program at ODFW. We envision the Intern would work on community education products for ODFW that could be placed on our webpage explaining and clarifying the purpose of marine reserves, what we are learning about our nearshore ocean and coastal communities, as well as add content to the ODFW interactive wildlife viewing map. This webpage is a useful resource for both ODFW outreach efforts, a source of information for other organizations, and the public.

While ODFW and Department of Land Conservation and Development web design teams deal with the bulk of the technical side (back-end) of the webpage, the Intern would be working with ODFW staff to provide and create the content on the page, as well as helping as a liaison between agencies. Visual content can include: creating basic presentation quality GIS maps, short educational videos that highlight ecological monitoring efforts, and traveling to geographic locations to collect video/photos/GPS points of site access. Data and written content will include creating wildlife species lists to promote viewing opportunities for the public, and working with ODFW Marine Reserves Program staff to compose interpretive text for the site. Our aim is to develop the Intern’s ability to communicate science in a variety of products (methods) as well as mentor the Intern about the process of social marketing and evaluation. Depending on the Intern’s interest, he/she can also gain experience with video editing and production (turning ecological data into short interesting clips for YouTube), interpretive sign development and design, as well as take part in the public participation process for stakeholder engagement.

The ideal candidate should be excited about the marine environment and want to share that excitement with others and have a strong attention to detail while being thoughtful about others.

Project Focus: Human Dimensions Research
Advisor: Dr. Tommy Swearingen, Marine Reserves Human Dimensions Research Project Leader, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

In collaboration with several partners, ODFW is conducting human dimensions research in several interdisciplinary contexts related to the monitoring of marine reserve implementation. To assess the social and economic impacts of marine reserve implementation on ocean users and coastal communities, the current research agenda pertains to regional economic impact analyses, case studies of community vulnerability, resilience and adaptation, and large scale surveys of attitudes and perceptions of the marine reserves among various populations. Regional economic impact analyses address quantification of the potential cost of fisheries displacement and potential benefits of marine reserve creation. The disaggregation of commercial fisheries data to reflect site specific impacts creates unique challenges in the use of mapping and habitat information for allocation of fisheries data to spatial economic models. The valuation of non-market ecosystem services is another topic of considerable importance, particularly as related to the social values of ecological preservation and sustainability. Additional social research is focused on community adaptability, a key determinant of resilience in response to economic, social, and environmental stressors, which may range from tsunamis and wildfires to resource depletion and recession. Finally, understanding individual perceptions, attitudes, values and behaviors related to marine reserves is critical to effective management and conservation of marine resources. Ultimately the human dimensions research by ODFW is broadly relevant to nearshore management at the landscape level across the entire Oregon coastal zone.

The COSEE PRIME Intern will gain professional exposure to social science research design, data collection and analysis in the field of marine reserve science. The student will be able to participate in a broad range of projects which will provide hands-on experiences in human dimensions research.

The ideal candidate should be comfortable with public speaking or interviews, enjoy outdoor experiences, and be capable of critical and abstract reasoning with strong attention to detail.