Farallon Program Research Internship

Point Blue is looking for one full-time Farallon Program Research Intern to become part of the longest continuous study of seabird and marine mammal ecology in the Northern Hemisphere.  This position is the perfect opportunity for an enthusiastic career scientist to advance their skills in field research, data management, analysis, logistics, and scientific communication.

The Farallon Program Research Internship is a year-long appointment that will split their time between field research on the Farallon Islands (~4 months) and a variety of office based research and support tasks that advance the strategic conservation goals of Point Blue’s Farallon Program.

The Farallon Islands

Since 1968, Point Blue has been studying the wildlife on the Farallon Islands. Located 27 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge, the Farallon Islands are 96 acres of rocky terrain just a few miles from the edge of the continental shelf. Our studies examine upper trophic marine predators as bio-indicators of natural and anthropogenic variation in the marine ecosystem. The islands host the largest seabird breeding colony in the contiguous United States (over 300,000 seabirds of 13 species), are an important haul-out and breeding site for 5 species of pinnipeds (seals and sea lions), as well as a unique feeding location for white sharks. In addition, the islands host other unique populations (plants, salamanders, insects, etc.) as well as being a stopover site for hundreds of species of migrant and vagrant landbirds.

Position Overview:

Research Assistant (RA) responsibilities include, but are not limited to, censusing and monitoring seabird and marine mammal populations, conducting demographic investigations on cormorants, gulls, and alcids, and conducting feeding ecology studies on alcids.  RAs also contribute to the upkeep and maintenance of the research station.  The ability to coexist on a small, isolated island with aggressive gulls and in close quarters with your peers is important.  If the thought of going several days without updating your Instagram or Facebook page is shocking, then this is not the job for you.

Field Research: 40%

  • Travel to Southeast Farallon Island where the intern will aid the island biologists and volunteer research assistants in continuing our long term monitoring of the population, reproductive success, diet and timing of breeding of Farallon seabirds and pinnipeds.
  • There is a very diverse array of tasks involved in our monitoring activities including censusing, band/tag resighting, feeding ecology studies, and demographic investigations on breeding seabirds and pinnipeds. Examples of regular tasks include: population counts, resighting banded gulls and cormorants, and observing the breeding success of Common Murres from a blind, and conducting seabird feeding watches.
  • There is also a great deal of “hands on” work such as checking nest boxes, capturing birds, collecting morphological data, using mist nets, or attaching flipper tags to seals.
  • In addition to the work with seabirds and pinnipeds, there are ongoing studies of the Farallon Arboreal Salamander, the endemic Farallon Camel Cricket, Burrowing Owls, migrating and vagrant songbirds, and observational studies on marine mammals including cetacean surveys, pinniped tag/brand resighting and censuses.
  • The research intern will also contribute to the upkeep and maintenance of the research station.

Office Work: 40%

  • Assist with data entry/proofing
  • Scan and archive raw data
  • Assist with coordinating and logistics for Farallon Patrol trips that resupply the field station
  • Summarize recent research articles into Publication Briefs
  • Write and post blogs and other social media outreach materials
  • Maintain Farallon research equipment and supplies
  • Assist with lab work including processing scat samples and identifying otoliths in seabird and pinniped diet samples


Capstone Research Project: 10%

  • Conduct small independent research project that supports the strategic goals of the California Current Group and the Farallon Program
  • Summarize results and present results at an all staff meeting

Other Duties as Assigned: 10%

  • Perform special projects and research as assigned.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Qualifications and Requirements:

  • Strong commitment to the mission of Point Blue; passionate about conservation, education, ecology, or natural resources
  • Knowledge of scientific research methods and techniques involving biology, ecology, and other related biological and physical sciences and their application to ecosystem conservation activities
  • Ability to live and work at a remote field station on the Farallon Islands with aggressive gulls and overworked humans is important
  • Basic bird/animal handling skills
  • Experience with basic data entry and management software including spreadsheet, word processing, presentation and email programs
  • Enthusiasm for intense field work in windy, cold conditions is essential
  • Able to work both independently and as part of a team and to take on a high level of responsibility

Certifications and/or Licenses:

  • Should have a current driver’s license and clean driving record

Preferred Education and Experience:

Bachelor’s Degree in biology, ecology, environmental science, or related field and previous experience conducting field research in a remote setting.

Work Environment & Physical Requirements:

  • This position operates in a variety of environments including a remote field station, professional office environment, and marine lab.
  • Routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, scanners, and filing cabinets.
  • Work environment may include physically strenuous work, hiking over rough terrain, and transporting heavy or awkward loads
  • When not in the field, work will also include a significant amount of time spent sitting at a desk and working on a computer.
  • Must be in good physical condition and able to handle the rigors of field research with the ability to stand, bend, stoop, sit, walk, twist and turn.
  • Ability to lift and carry loads up to 50 pounds
  • Willingness to live in shared housing with other interns/research assistants

Position Type, Expected Hours of Work, and Housing

  • This is a full-time internship position with a monthly stipend
  • Days and hours of work vary depending on season, fieldwork, and timeline requirements
  • Evening and weekend work may be required as job duties demand
  • Travel to and from the field station on small to moderate sized boats is required

How to Apply

Please email a cover letter explaining your interests, your resume, dates of availability, and 3 professional references to Pete Warzybok (


Point Blue is an equal employment opportunity employer and does not discriminate against applicants or employees because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, citizenship status, disability status of an otherwise qualified individual, membership or application for membership in a uniformed service, or membership in any other class protected by applicable law and will make reasonable accommodation for applicants with disabilities to complete the application and/or participate in the interview process.