FWRI's manatee photo-identification research focuses on the long-term monitoring of Florida manatees in southwest Florida. The primary goal of our program is to document individual manatees.
The manatee photo-identification program is based in St. Petersburg, Florida at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI). FWRI is the research arm of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), a state agency. FWRI’s manatee photo-identification research focuses on the long-term monitoring of Florida manatees in southwest Florida. The primary goal of our program is to document individual manatees. Photo-identification efforts produce capture histories which are used to estimate annual adult survival rates and to model population dynamics for state and federal assessments of Florida manatee status and recovery. Photo-identification data also provide insight regarding manatee movements, site fidelity, habitat use, behavior, intra- and inter- specific associations, and reproductive parameters such as calving intervals and length of calf dependency.
Interns will primarily assist staff members with photographing manatees and collecting behavioral and environmental data at sites around Tampa Bay. Interns will also be responsible for a number of lab-based photo-identification tasks, such as downloading images, entering information into databases, scanning data sheets, and matching images to known animals. Interns often collect data independently in the field, thus responsible, detail oriented applicants are encouraged to apply. Most field work is land-based, however during the winter session opportunities are available to assist with boat-based manatee photo-identification. Other responsibilities may include, but are not limited to, data entry, special projects, and outreach activities. This internship provides a great opportunity to gain valuable field and lab experience at a government agency.
Two positions are available each year: one position in the winter (November-March) and one position in the summer (May-September). Start and end dates are flexible, however, a minimum commitment of four weekdays per week for four months is required. Work hours are typically 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is no compensation for these internship positions and successful applicants will be responsible for their own housing and transportation to and from the institute. Positions are open until filled.
- Computer proficiency; Microsoft Access literacy preferred.
- Working knowledge of SLR digital cameras, filters, and lenses preferred, but not required.
- The ability to lift approximately 50 pounds of equipment.
- A valid U.S. Driver’s License.
- Enthusiasm and willingness to learn field and lab based research methods.
Please submit your cover letter, resume, college transcripts (unofficial are sufficient), and the contact information for three references to FWRI’s Intern Coordinator. For information on how to submit these materials, please see the article “Applying for an Internship.”
Applicants may contact FWRI’s Manatee Photo-identification Project Manager, Kari Rood, (Kari.Rood@MyFWC.com, 727-896-8626 x1912) with questions regarding the internship.