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Posted on January 11, 2016 by in The OFI Blog


Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) –Internship in Forest Trophic Interactions.


The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) is offering an opportunity for two interns to participate in a European Research Council funded research project addressing the ecological determinants of tropical and temperate trends in insect diversity. To answer key questions on global insect distribution we are applying quantitative surveys of plant-herbivore-parasitoid food webs within paired sets of tropical and temperate forests from six continents, in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Gabon, Panama, the Czech Republic, Japan, and USA. This internship will be based in the CTFS-ForestGEO-Forest Ecosystems & Climate lab in Front Royal, Virginia.

Learning objectives

Interns will be trained at the CTFS-ForestGEO-Forest Ecosystems & Climate lab which conducts a range of research with the overall goal of understanding the dynamics of forest ecosystems worldwide in an era of global change. Interns will assist with the following as they gain important experience in forest ecological interactions:

  • Apply insect population surveys.
  • Record detailed and accurate data to analyze plant-herbivore-parasitoid foodwebs.
  • Apply proper techniques post-insect sampling (rearing).
  • Identify proper data management techniques for insect collection.
  • Provide and assist with data analysis by using programs such as R, Excel, and ArcGIS.
  • Organize and estimate insect sampling timing.
  • Develop communications skills by assisting with outreach events at the SCBI.
  • Participate in regular scheduled seminars, journal club and workshops related to conservation and ecology at SCBI.


Candidates should be advanced undergraduates or recent university graduates and have coursework in ecology, conservation biology, entomology, environmental sciences, or a closely related field. Field experience in terrestrial ecosystem ecology, forestry, entomology, or a related field is essential plus the ability to follow established survey and protocols, and collect detailed and accurate data. Candidates must have the ability to work in the field for prolonged hours in hot and humid conditions, to work independently and to collaborate effectively as part of a research team. Sampling techniques will include sampling from truck-mounted elevated platforms.

Term of appointment

This is a four- to six-month opportunity with a start date is mid-April 2016. The opportunity will be supported with a stipend sufficient to cover living expenses, potentially including on-site housing.


This internship will be based in the CTFS-ForestGEO-Forest Ecosystems & Climate lab in Front Royal, Virginia.


Application procedure

To apply, please email a cover letter describing your qualifications and interest in the position, CV, and contact information for 3 references to Erika Gonzalez-Akre at gonzalezeb@si.edu. Deadline for application is January 30, 2016.

The Smithsonian Institution values and seeks a diverse workforce; female and minority candidates are encouraged to apply