Research Internships


    Ano Nuevo Reserve

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    Ano Nuevo Reptile and Amphibian Surveys

    Also listed in the Conservation tab. 

    Contact: Ptrick Robinson (Reserve manager) Patrick.robinson@ucsc.edu 

    Come learn about snakes, lizards (maybe some frogs and rodents too) with an internship at the Año Nuevo UC Natural Reserve. In April of 2013 the UCSC Field Methods Class and Natural Reserve placed 25 coverboards in the main park area between the Año Nuevo visitor center and main beach as well as 25 coverboards in a recently acquired State Park property (BART property) just to the north. The coverboards have now aged and are likely providing habitat for snakes, lizards, amphibians, and perhaps small mammals. This internship will involve checking these coverboards on a weekly basis throughout the quarter, recording data, identifying species, and entering data into a database. Data from your project will help State Parks compare herpetofauna across the two sites (the BART property was farmed as recently as 2006 whereas the main park area was last farmed in the early 1950s).

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    Elephant Seal Flipper Tag observations

    Listing also found in Water and Marine-Related tab

    Contact: Patrick Robinson (Reserve manager) Patrick.robinson@ucsc.edu 

    Come learn about northern elephant seals with an internship at the Año Nuevo UC Natural Reserve. Every year thousands of elephant seals haul out at Año Nuevo to molt and breed. Researchers from UCSC attach flipper tags to identify individual seals. We need your help to work with researchers to find and record information about these tagged seals. This decades-long study helps us understand the demographics of this population.

    To apply for this internship, please fill out an application here!


  • California Collaborative Fisheries (CCFRP)

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    Research Internship

    Listing also found in the Conservation and Water and Marine-Related tabs.

    Contact: Jake Todd, ccfrp@mlml.calstate.edu 

    CCFRP interns gain insight into the world of marine science and valuable, hands-on experience for professional development through active participation in various forms of field work, data analysis, and project support. We typically only accept interns for the summer, as that is when our sampling occurs.  

    Interns provide organizational, logistical, and administrative assistance to the Fisheries & Conservation Biology Lab at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. Within the CCFRP, the lab conducts background research for fisheries-related projects, coordinates a variety of events, collects and analyzes field data, and disseminates information to the public. Program interns help facilitate any/all portions of these activities while additional duties are assigned as needed.

    Please contact the internship office for an application, as one is needed for this internship. 


  • City of Santa Cruz

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    Climate Action Program Intern

    Also Under Summer

    Contact: Tiffany Wise-West, TWise-West@cityofsantacruz.com 

    The City of Santa Cruz’s award winning Climate Action Program is part of the City Manager’s office. Since its inception in 2007, the program has been tasked with the implementation of the City’s Climate Action Plan and meeting its 12 climate action milestones. This program is seeking three Climate Action interns for summer 2019 to support the Resilient Coast Initiative.

    This initiative invites residents of Santa Cruz to document their values around coastal recreation, transportation, ecosystems, natural resources, climate change and sense of place through creative and interactive community engagement techniques. Interns will conduct Coastal Use Surveys, collect observational data along coastal regions, conduct parking surveys, and assist in outreach projects and events for the Initiative.


  • Coastal Prairie Restoration Research

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    Restoration Research Intern

    Also Under Conservation and Summer

    Contact: Justin Luong, jluong4@ucsc.edu

    Student will assist with Graduate Student Justin Luong with research in whether the use of plant functional traits and phylogenetics can be predictive in restoration planting survival and growth, because restoration often has unpredictable outcomes. Presumeably, this will be exacerbated by climate change. Interns have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience at Younger Lagoon Reserve at Coastal Campus utilizing rain-out shelters that simulate a 1-in-100 year drought after five years for 12 CA coastal prairie plants, collecting data such as plant community composition and plant functional trait data, and categorizing plants in subgroups by leaf area and thickness. No experience is required. 


  • Environmental Aesthetics Internship

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    Environmental Aesthetics Internship

    Contact: Brook Constantzbmconsta@ucsc.edu
    I am studying how humans judge and categorize the visual aesthetics of ecological restoration. I am looking for landscape configurations that optimize visual beauty, ecological resilience, and its ability to support more biodiversity. To provide a realistic and interactive experience, I am designing a pilot survey where participants can build their ideal habitats in a 3D environment. Participants will use slider bars to modify aspects of the plants, terrain, and urban landscape to select their prefered configuration. To create this environment I need help getting digital assets and tying them into a game engine. This internship would consist of collecting, scanning, modeling, and texturing 3D plants and other natural features and using Unity or Unreal Engine to build a procedural environment that could be turned into a distributable visual survey.
    If you are interested please contact me a bmconsta@ucsc.edu with a brief overview of your academic history, related prior experience, and why you are interested.

  • Kapuscinski-Sarker Lab Group

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    Research and Policy Internship

    Aquafeed Decision-support Tool / Open-source Software Development 

    Research Internship –Suitable for Remote only Work (Zoom meetings, own computer)

    Contact: 

    Professor Anne Kapuscinski akapusci@ucsc.edu Postdoctoral Scholar, Brandi McKuin bmckuin@ucsc.edu

    Aquaculture is the world’s fastest growing food sector and essential is for food security of over 1 billion resource-poor people. Conventional aquaculture diets use fishmeal and fish oil extracted from ocean-caught fish, like sardines and herring, but most of these ‘forage fish’ are edible by people and important prey for higher-trophic marine fish like tuna. About 20% of world fish catches in 2017 were used to manufacture fishmeal and fish oil and this scale of production undermines marine biodiversity, threatens food security of coastal peoples who traditionally eat these forage fish. Rising demand for fishmeal and fish oil and competition for higher value  uses such as human fish oil capsules has caused price volatility problems. Novel ingredients (e.g. microalgae, single cell proteins, and insect meals) are emerging as potential substitutes for fish meal and fish oil, however, the economic and environmental impact of these alternative ingredients is unclear.

    The Kapuscinski - Sarker lab in the ENVS dept is working to evaluate the economic and environmental impact of replacing fishmeal and fish oil in conventional feeds with novel ingredients such as microalgae, single cell proteins, and insect meals by developing an aquafeed decision-support tool. Interns will assist the team to develop an open-source software to assess suitability of novel feed ingredients for potential inclusion into diets for farmed fish. 

    Tasks may include but are not limited to review and synthesis of peer-reviewed literature as inputs to the software databases (e.g. environmental impacts, economic impacts, and feed conversion ratio), calculation of environmental impacts using life cycle assessment, calculation of economic impacts using techno-economic analysis, optimization code development for the open-source software, and website development to host the software. Interns will be expected to contribute to accurate record keeping, data collection, data entry and organization, and report writing. Successful applicants should have a proven track record of detail oriented work, quantitative skills, hold a personal interest in the work to be carried out, and be willing to learn on the fly. We will provide training to interested applicants. 


  • Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Climate Change

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    Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Climate Change

    Contact: Chelsea Prindle, Chelsea.Prindle@noaa.gov, 831-442-4181 

    The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is looking for a Climate Change intern to assist in the coordination of a Fall Climate change seminar and interpretation workshop.

    Intern will conduct research and prepare summary of current Climate Change Knowledge, Summarize information into main “Exhibit” categories, Help coordinate two public climate change seminars, Help coordinate one climate change interpretation workshop. 


  • Organic Farm Research

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    Agroecology Research Intern

    Also under Campus

    Contact: Carol Shennan, cshennan@ucsc.edu 

    The Shennan Lab is base at the Department of Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz We work closely with teh Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS). In the Shennan Lab research group, we study agricultural sustainability using participatory approaches in high input, capital-intensive vegetable/strawberry production in California. Sustainability issues in California include reliance on controversial toxic soil fumigants and issues releated to inefficient and overuse of inputs that result in on-point source pollution. Our work targets the development of alternatives to soil fumigants for soil-borne disease management, strategies for improved nutrients use and disease suppression in high-intensity organic strawberry/vegetable rotation systems and the potential for landscape diversification to enhance biological control of arthropod pests. Under supervision, interns will learn and experience scientifitic methods and research processes by working along with other undergraduate students for ongoing research projects. 

    For more information, visit our website 


  • Plant Sciences Inc.

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    Plant Sciences Inc.

    Listing also found in the Agroecology & Plants tab.

    Contact: Ashlee Anciro, aanciro@plantsciences.com, (831)-728-7771 342 Green Valley Road, Watsonvile, CA 95076

    Students will gain professional exposure and experience in a berry (strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry) and artichoke breeding company through wet laboratory and greenhouse settings (depending on the season). 2 and 5 Unit internships will be offered, please check the flyer for prerequisites and our website for more information.


  • Re-census the UCSC Forest Ecology Research Plot

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    Re-census the UCSC Forest Ecology Research Plot

    Contact: Greg Gilbert, ggilbert@ucsc.edu.

    Help with the expansion and 5-yr re-census of the 6-ha Forest Ecology Research Plot (FERP) on the UCSC Campus Natural Reserve. The FERP is a living laboratory designed to study forest dynamics and species interactions in the mixed-evergreen forest, an is a resource for teaching and student research in ecology, evolution, and environmental sciences at UCSC.


  • Roots & Routes Intercultural Collaborations

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    Social & Ecological Justice Campaign

    Listing also found in the Conservation, Environmental Education, and Environmental Justice tab.

    Contact: Juli Hazlewood, juli@rootsroutes.org 

    Roots & Routes Intercultural Collaborations (Roots & Routes IC) mission is to facilitate sharing knowledge between diverse cultures en route to responsibly stewarding a flourishing living world. Our vision is people standing arm-in-arm to form an Indigenous-led educational exchange network that teaches the world that we are worth more than the resources below our feet.

    The objectives of the projects will vary from quarter to quarter, depending on the needs of the organization. Yet, as the supervisor is also faculty at UCSC, she knows that the students should be involved in meaningful work, and not only busy work. Depending on the interests and skills of the students, we can develop a project that would be useful to the future of bot the student and the organization.

    Some options may be working on a Rights of Nature campaign (for the FIRST Rights of Nature case in the world), organizational media and communications, collaborating on grant applications, helping to write letters/contact partner organizations, establishing a database and/or donorbase, website development, fundraising campaigns (if interested), helping to create community and/or campus events in relation to organizational activities, and so on.


  • Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group

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    Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group

    Contact: Zeka Glucs, zekaglucs@ucsc.edu 

    The Predatory Bird Research Group is a long-standing non-profit organization at UCSC tasked with monitoring wild populations of predatory birds and promoting their conservation through education and local involvement. Interns will learn to identify the breeding raptors of Santa Cruz County and gain hands-on skills in field
    observation and data collection.

    Participation in both Winter and Spring quarters is preferred: field observation training will take place in Winter Quarter (2 units), data collection and research activities will take place in Spring Quarter (2 or 5 units).
    Leadership roles and independent research opportunities are available to students able to take the 5 unit internship in Spring Quarter.


  • Stacey Philpott PAID Internship

  • PAID Urban Agroecology and Insect Ecology Internship (WINTER 2022)

    Listing can also be found under the Campus and Agroecology tab.   

    Contact: Stacy Philpott sphilpot@ucsc.edu

    In this research opportunity, students will be introduced to urban agroecology, learn insect
    identification skills, and will identify specific research questions that they would like to address
    with our data (e.g., How does land tenure of gardens influence bee diversity? Do gardens with
    more diverse flower communities support better biological pest control?). Details:

    • The position is open to EOP students and veterans, first-gen students, etc.
    • Students are expected to dedicate 100 hr during winter 2021 and will receive $1500 as a scholarship payment
    • Students may register for 2 units of ENVS 199F – Independent Study to get academic credit in Winter
    • There may be a possibility for continuing in spring and summer 2022
    • To apply, please send a resume, an unofficial transcript, and a short letter (1-2 paragraphs) explaining your interest to Stacy Philpott (sphilpot@ucsc.edu) by Dec. 14.

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  • UCSC Sea Otter Research Internship

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    Sea Otter Research

    Listing also found in Water and Marine-Related tab.

    Contact: Sarah Espinosa, smespino@ucsc.edu  

    Research on sea otters is mandated by the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act.  For California, this research is the responsibility of the USGS Western Ecological Research Center.  The research program is headquartered at the Santa Cruz Field Station, whose offices are located at the Center for Ocean Health at the University of California, Santa Cruz.   Interns will be trained to participate in radio tracking studies of sea otter behavior and population dynamics.  Specific duties include visiting locations throughout the study area by vehicle in order to record the location and reproductive status of tagged study animals.  Otters will be located using radio receivers attached to an antenna, and identified using high powered spotting telescopes.  Interns will record the exact position of individual otters using GPS and rangefinders.  Other data recorded will include number of other otters sighted with the study animal, reproductive status (whether or not females have pups), behavioral states, and environmental conditions.  Resights for each study animal will be obtained each day, weather permitting.  Interns may also assist with capture/tagging operations, and have opportunities for boat-based work. 

    Please send a cover letter and resume/CV to werc@ucsc.edu. Contact Sarah Espinosa at smespino@ucsc.edu with specific questions.


  • USGS Western Ecological Research Center

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    USGS Western Ecological Research Center- Santa Cruz Field Station

    Listing also found in Conservation tab.

    Contact: Laney White, Josh Adams, Lmwhite@usgs.gov

    The US Geological Survey - Western Ecological Research Center’s seabird biology team in Santa Cruz is seeking volunteer interns to  assist with ongoing projects. We offer course credit options, flexible schedules, and unique learning opportunities. Our research focuses on various aspects of seabird ecology, including the potential impacts of renewable energy development on marine bird species. 
    During Winter/Spring 2022 up to 3 interns will primarily support digital image processing.  Our lab has conducted photographic surveys off California and used machine learning to find seabirds and marine mammals in the images.  We are seeking motivated students to assist with reviewing the machine learning predictions in the output imagery.  As an intern, you will learn to use a cloud-based image annotation tool, manage databases, and identify a variety of wildlife found in California waters.  Learn more about the project here or from the website
    Interns may also assist with other projects in the lab, including work on a database of breeding birds in
    the Hawaiian Islands. This internship can be conducted remotely. We strongly encourage people from underrepresented
    groups to apply.

    Requirements for all interns:
    • Interest in marine biology, specifically seabird ecology 
    • Interest in scientific methods, and how methodologies develop through time 
    • Interest and/or experience in database management and Microsoft Access 
    • Experience in reading and analyzing scientific research papers 
    • Proficiency working on PC’s running Windows operating system 
    • Attention to detail and willingness to learn new skills