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Aquarist Research Internship


Location: National Museum of Natural History (10th & Constitution Ave. NW)

Department: Invertebrate Zoology

Start date: December 2016 (flexible)

End date: June 2017 (flexible)

Duration: 6 – 12 months (flexible, but at least 6 months preferred)

Weekly commitment: Minimum 8-12 hours, more if desired.

Necessary qualifications: Attention to detail, excellent communication skills, able to follow directions, self-motivated, team player but able to perform tasks independently after an initial period of orientation.

Potential candidate(s): Eighteen years or older, comfortable using live plankton as food, interested in biology (preferably invertebrate biology), education, assisting with research, and comfortable with hands-on tasks and getting wet/dirty; ideal candidates would have experience working with live animals (preferably aquatic animals). Please note that all interns are required to undergo fingerprinting and a background check.

Aquarist & Research Assistant(s) will feed jellyfish, sea anemones and coral in several aquarium tanks (20 to 55 gallons) and smaller dishes. Setting up brine shrimp cultures (for food), checking water chemistry, upkeep of the lab, logging activities, regularly reporting to mentor-supervisor, and assisting with research and outreach projects. Independent research projects can be developed.

Learning objectives: techniques for keeping marine animals alive; increased knowledge on the biology of jellyfishes, anemones, corals, including information about life cycles, biodiversity, ecology; methods for conducting effective outreach that authentically communicates content and the nature of science. Increased knowledge of museum-based natural history research carried out by a dynamic community of researchers in the Department of Invertebrate Zoology.

Contact: Allen Collins (collinsa@si.edu)

Award Package: None, but community service, internship or volunteer hours can be validated for academic purposes.