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Smithsonian Marine Station: Animal Husbandry Internship



Location: Smithsonian Marine Ecosystems Exhibit, 420 Seaway Drive, Fort Pierce, Florida 34949

The Smithsonian Exhibit at the St. Lucie County Aquarium in Fort Pierce, FL is located on the Indian River Lagoon (IRL), one of the most diverse estuaries in the U.S., and less than one mile from the Atlantic Ocean. This unique educational facility provides a window into these underwater worlds, offering a variety of hands-on experiences to daily visitors, as well as on-site education programs. Our focus is on displaying ecosystems as complex communities of organisms interacting in their environments. The six main exhibits are models of local Florida ecosystems (seagrass bed, mangrove forest, coral reef, etc.) and vary in size from 500 to 3000 gallons. The Aquarium also features a touch tank and a variety of interactive exhibits. With the help of our dynamic model ecosystem displays we strive to provide the public with a better understanding of the fragile marine ecosystems of the IRL and surrounding area and the impact humans are having on these fragile ecosystems.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The Animal Husbandry Intern will assist with the daily maintenance of the fishes, invertebrates and systems associated with our ecosystem aquariums. This includes monitoring environmental conditions and water chemistry, preparing daily diets, conducting routine system maintenance and collecting specimens for display.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES: Learning objectives for the intern include how to maintain saltwater life support systems, requirements for maintaining complex living model ecosystem aquaria, observation and record keeping skills, and field collecting and identification techniques. Additional objectives can be developed based on the intern’s personal interests and skills.

QUALIFICATIONS: Experience working with mixed species and corals in aquariums and/or coursework in marine biology/aquaculture. Excellent observation and record keeping skills, attention to detail and basic mechanical aptitude a plus. Candidates should have a strong work ethic, good communication skills and be a team player. Physical requirements: must be able to lift 50 pounds and remain standing for several hours. Candidates should have a willingness/ability to maintain a flexible schedule including holidays and weekends.

TIMETABLE: 16-week, part-time (32 hours/week) appointment, January-May, 2017.

INTERNSHIP STIPEND: $4480 (housing is not provided)

APPLICATION PROCESS: Please submit a cover letter and current resume (limited to 3 pages) by December 9, 2016 to Bill Hoffman at hoffman@si.edu


Bill Hoffman, Ecosystems Exhibit Manager