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Internship Opportunity

Estimating performance of early life-stages of wild and captive populations of marine fishes under variable environments

Posted on: 02/09/2023
Research Area(s): Internships / Research

Summary / Description

Fish display a plasticity in response to environmental variables in nature and in captive populations such as aquaculture. In a natural setting, the scope for response by fish early life-stages (ELS) provides researchers insights into the resilience and adaptive potential of the organism in response to a changing environment. In an aquacultural context, this same plasticity means that biological optima likely exist for many key environmental variables such as temperature, dissolved oxygen, CO2, salinity, and feeding levels. The plasticity under different environmental drivers may be expressed in many biological response variables including rates of fertilization, development, growth, metabolism, and survival. Understanding, characterizing, and quantifying the relationships between environmental drivers and biological responses are critical to the success or failure of populations in nature, and to viable production in an aquaculture context. In 2023, we will be quantifying responses in a commercially fished species, blackfish or tautog (Tautoga onitis). The successful intern candidate will participate in the Sandy Hook Intern Partnership Program, which provides substantive guidance on a range of topics germane to undergraduates (e.g., applying to / life in graduate school, finding research topics, grants, networking, presentations, and careers in marine science).

Skills Required

1) Major in biological or environmental fields; primary interest in ecology, evolution, life history, and/or quantitative methods. 2) Prior research experience in a scientific discipline. 3) On an academic trajectory that likely includes graduate school for M.Sc. or Ph.D. in biological or marine sciences. 4) Willingness to work in the laboratory with some field collections of adults, prey, etc., all of which may require irregularity in work schedule (e.g., early / late hours and weekends as project dictates). 5) Strong work ethic, detail oriented, organized, completes assignments on time, works well individually and as team member, calm manner, cool under pressure, and clear communicator. 6) Acknowledges and accepts the fact that this type of research is based on planning, implementation, and the biology of the target species, all of which carry their own unknowns - hence, the applicant must be a good planner, resilient, and willing to adapt project plans if necessary. 7) Computer literacy - MS Office applications; image analysis software (training provided), experience with statistical programs encouraged but not required. If the project requires, and the intern timeline matches tasks, training will be provided on fish spawning and ELS husbandry, image acquisition and interpretation, fundamentals of ELS ecology and bioenergetics, experimental design, statistics, and presentation skills.

Type of Opportunity



Remote or In-person:



NOAA Fisheries Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory (HMSL) at Sandy Hook, New Jersey. HMSL is part of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center and is located on National Park Service property at the northernmost point of the Jersey Shore, 15 mi south and across Raritan Bay from New York City. Housing is available at nearby Monmouth University

Other Information

Intern Supervisor:

Christopher Chambers

Number of Slots Available:



NCCOS delivers ecosystem science solutions for stewardship of the nation’s ocean and coastal resources to sustain thriving coastal communities and economies.

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