Ocean Internship: Marine Mammal Center Cetacean Ecology Research Intern

The Cetacean Ecology Research internship supports The Marine Mammal Center’s Cetacean Conservation Biology program by providing an educational opportunity for early career researchers looking to gain and refine their skills in sea-going research. Interns will participate in regular marine mammal surveys and support all aspects of survey preparation, data collection, and gain experience in data analysis.

Research surveys are conducted from small vessels both in bay areas as well as offshore environments. Interns will receive training in small boat safety, photo-identification, line-transect data collection, and other tools and techniques necessary to conduct field research. Interns will also complete a research project aligned with Center objectives and their own marine mammal research interests. Other opportunities may be available depending on the season and the intern’s experience. Applicants from underrepresented backgrounds in marine mammal science are especially encouraged to apply.

Key Responsibilities

  • Assist in data collection, including photo-ID, for offshore and coastal/inshore boat-based cetacean surveys, using Mysticetus software.
  • Assist staff in preparing research vessels and equipment for each survey day and general maintenance support.
  • Assist with photo-matching and data organization using Happywhale.
  • Participate in other cetacean research projects on an as needed basis.
  • Conduct a research project utilizing data collected by The Marine Mammal Center and/or our partners, culminating in a written report and presentation.
  • Possible assistance with photography and documentation during whale entanglement responses if interested.
  • Possible involvement during cetacean necropsies if interested.
  • Willingness to support and participate in the Center’s diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, initiatives, and trainings.
  • Other duties as required.

Qualifications and Experience

  • Recent graduate of or current student in a related field (biology, physics, ecology, environmental science, computer science, marine science, etc.).
  • Enthusiasm towards and willingness to learn field-based research methods.
  • Basic computer literacy and experience with Microsoft products.
  • Prior experience with data entry and field work.
  • Proven experience working well within a team.
  • Must have a valid Driver’s License and clean driving record.
  • Prior exposure to ArcGIS, R, or similar data visualization and analysis programs preferred but not required.

Physical Requirements

  • Not prone to seasickness or ability to manage sea sickness.
  • Able to withstand harsh elements including wind and rain for extended periods of time.
  • Ability to sit/stand/walk in an office or field environment for extended periods of time.
  • Ability to frequently move equipment weighing up to 50 pounds across site and locations.
  • Ability to drive/operate a vehicle.


Office activities will take place at our main hospital in the Marin Headlands in Sausalito, California. Field activities will be based out of San Francisco and Sausalito. Candidate must have reliable transportation to get to and from our Sausalito location.

Internship Environment

  • Interning in outdoor weather conditions and elements 50-60% of the time.
  • Potential exposure to zoonotic diseases.
  • May involve smells associated with animals and the care of animals.

Benefits: Stipend and housing available.

Stipend: $1,400/ mo.

Closing date: Applications will be open through December 4, 2023

Learn more about this opportunity and how to apply.

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