Whale Safe Internship at Benioff Ocean Initiative

Based at the Marine Science Institute at UCSB, the Benioff Ocean Initiative applies marine science and technology to create scalable solutions to pressing ocean health challenges.

The research group both manages and financially supports projects that address a variety of marine issues, including species protection, ocean pollution, and sustainable management of marine resources.

Internship Description

The intern will have the unique opportunity to support one of Benioff Ocean Initiative’s flagship projects, Whale Safe, which uses state-of-the-art technology to collect, analyze, and disseminate near real-time whale and vessel data in the Santa Barbara Channel with the goal of preventing fatal whale-vessel collisions.

The intern will work with Benioff Ocean Initiative scientists to help support the ongoing effort to reduce the risk of vessel collisions with endangered whales. The intern will assist with the opportunities for project expansion including vessel and whale data analysis, curating communication materials and social media posts, and stakeholder engagement.


  • Assist with data tasks including but not limited to:
    • visualizing spatial ocean data, including vessel (Automatic Identification System) and whale data from technologies such as near real-time acoustic monitoring instruments, visual sightings, and dynamic habitat models
    • standardized survey effort data for global analysis
    • researching data for international maritime routing measures
  • Use Google Cloud Platform (BigQuery) to query vessel data and create analytical reports
  • Track media coverage and create public-facing communication materials about project updates and expansions, which may include, but are not limited to press releases, social media content, and newsletter updates
  • Assist in administrative tasks and project support as needed

Basic Qualifications

  • Currently pursuing a master’s degree (UCSB preferred)
  • Interest in marine science and environmental problem-solving
  • Proactive and team-oriented
  • Strong organizational skills, attention to detail, and ability to meet deadlines

Additional Preferred Qualifications

    • Professional, academic, or volunteer experience in one or more of the following areas:
      • Data management, analysis, and visualization, including proficiency with one or more computational analytical tools, including but not limited to R, ArcGIS, and/or QGIS
      • Cloud computing, including experience with services such as Google Cloud Platform
      • Science communication

This is a part-time internship (hours flexible) for the Fall 2022 Quarter. Interns will report directly to Benioff Ocean Initiative Project Scientists. Compensation is $20/hour.

We encourage all applicants to submit an optional Statement of Contributions to Diversity with their application materials. Please describe and give specific examples of how you have worked to enhance or develop your awareness on issues of diversity and inclusion in the workplace or other professional or academic environments.

To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and the optional Statement of Contributions to Diversity to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject line “Whale Safe Internship” by August 26th, 2022.

The University is especially interested in candidates who can contribute to the diversity and excellence of the academic community through research, teaching and service.

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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