Marine Laboratory Research Assistant

Our studies determine size class and species composition of prey consumed by seabirds and California sea lions, and we examine krill and their relationships with seabirds and other top-predator populations in the Greater Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries.

Location: Petaluma, California.

Duration: one-year, full-time internship position for time period 17 September 2018 through 13 September 2019, although the beginning date may be negotiable.

Main laboratory duties include:

  • identifying otoliths and other fish parts from diet samples (regurgitated pellets and fecal samples) of Brandt’s cormorants, least terns, and California sea lions;
  • preparing zooplankton samples and identifying, weighing and measuring krill;
  • collecting species composition and size data on prey specimens dropped on seabird breeding colonies;
  • entering and proofing data; and
  • helping to compile information from 50+ years of seabird studies on the Farallon Islands.

Other duties include:

  • assisting with outreach activities at local museums, speaking to visitors about our research and how it relates to marine conservation.
  • may have the opportunity to participate in at-sea cruises in the Gulf of the Farallones where they will assist in performing net tows, collecting hydrographic data, and conducting seabird and marine mammal surveys.
  • have the opportunity to spend a week on Southeast Farallon Island to help collect and process California sea lion diet samples that will later be analyzed in the laboratory.

Qualifications: Applicants should enjoy working independently and have plenty of patience for long hours spent looking through a scope to identify cryptic fish earbones and scales, little marine bugs, and contorted, dried-up fish chips. Preference will be given to applicants with a degree in biology or related field and prior laboratory research experience. Must have your own vehicle since transportation is not provided.

Compensation: We offer housing and a monthly stipend of $1000 per month dependent on experience.

To Apply: Please email a cover letter explaining interests and dates of availability, resume, and names, email addresses, and phone numbers of 3 references to Meredith Elliott ( Applications accepted until position is filled.

More information can be found in the Oceans section of our website and