Adélie Penguin Population Ecology Internships

Point Blue Conservation Science and H.T. Harvey & Associates

Updated: April 16, 2019

Application period is closed for 2019. Please check back in February 2020 for updated information.

Project Summary:
You will be part of a team that collects data on many aspects of the species' breeding and wintering ecology - including foraging effort (using geolocation and time depth recorders), meal-sizes and trip durations (automated PIT-tag readers with scales), chick condition, diet, reproductive success, adult and juvenile survivorship - with the objective of increasing our understanding of population structuring of this and other species through time.  We continue to investigate questions such as, why are some colonies bigger than others, why do they occur where they do, what sort of environmental changes impact populations the most, and what is “normal” variability?

Role of Interns:
Interns participate in all aspects of fieldwork and field-logistics, with guidance provided by senior staff on site. Most hours are spent searching for banded (known-age) penguins and recording nesting status, tasks requiring high levels of patience. Eyestrain is a concern as you will spend up to 8 hours per day reading bands through binoculars in very bright lighting conditions. Data work is also intensive - all data are digitized and proofed as they are collected. Interns will be encouraged to participate in some aspects of writing or analyses. Interns are expected to be knowledgeable of the literature related to this project before deployment to Antarctica, and to have a passionate interest in ecology. The ideal candidate can effectively communicate how the experience will increase the likelihood of success in their future career.

Working Conditions: 
3+ months in a remote location (Ross Island, Antarctica) based out of a small hut but sleeping in tents, accessible in good weather conditions only by helicopter from McMurdo station, which in turn is only accessible by military aircraft from New Zealand. Living conditions in the field are rustic, communal space is cramped, there is no running water (no showers). Temperatures range from -20 to +10 C, with intermittent severe wind and snowstorms. Essential cold-weather clothing and related gear provided by NSF.

Internship Dates: 
Position begins approximately October 5, 2019 through February 5, 2020. Mandatory health and dental clearance (required by NSF) at least 8 weeks prior to departure.

$1400 monthly stipend, plus all expenses related to the project will be reimbursed. Flights from any US airport to New Zealand and hotel accommodations during transit are covered as well. 

Qualifications: Must have completed a Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) and have at least one season of field experience to apply. Do not need to be a US citizen but expenses related to travel to the US are not reimbursable.

How to apply:
Fill out the short answer application form and upload CV here. Please direct questions to Annie Schmidt:

Application period open:  February 15, 2019 through April 10, 2019