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Research Job Opportunities

There are two different positions that are described below and periodically open. The AmeriCorps position for 2012-2032 has been filled. No paid research internships are anticipated during 2013. An unpaid research internship is available during the summer of 2013 and is open now and described in the third section below.

AmeriCorps Research Assistants are for applicants between 18 and 25 years of age and are full-time positions for one year. Further information about AmeriCorps Research Assistants is provided in the first section below.

Research Internships are for students or recent graduates and may be full-time during the summer or part-time during the school year. This short-term job opportunity is described in the second section below. No paid research internships are anticipated during 2013.

AmeriCorps Estuarine Research and Monitoring Assistant

Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve usually offers one AmeriCorps Estuarine Research and Monitoring Assistant each year. This position is a one year appointment beginning in October.


Base pay is minimum wage plus an AmeriCorps Education Award valued at $5,350 after one year. This award is payable to any educational institution of higher learning that has a financial aid program (including postgraduate) or applicable to qualified student loans.


The person filling this position will assist in a variety of estuarine research and water quality monitoring projects and activities. Duties include monitoring water quality with field instruments, collecting water samples for analyses, using computer applications to graph research and monitoring data, setting up remote water quality monitoring equipment, assisting research projects in the field and lab, and writing data reports.


Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 25. Experience and education in biology, marine or estuarine topics, other natural sciences, boating, computers, and field work will be considered. College graduates are eligible.

If Interested:

Contact Glen Alexander at alex "at" padillabay.gov

Research Internships

Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve occasionally provides Research Internships.

Salary is $1,507 - $1,812/month (full-time) depending on education completed.

Research Internships provide direct work experience, full- or part-time, assisting one or more of the ongoing research projects or monitoring projects at the reserve, under direction of Padilla Bay staff. Usually these internships are of three months duration for the summer months. Occasionally there have been part-time opportunities during the school year. During the last few years no internships have been funded, although 1-4 internships have been funded in previous years.

Applicants should have a minimum of senior standing or accepted into a Master's or Doctoral program in marine science, biology, botany, zoology, or one of the natural or physical sciences. Applicants for internships who are not currently enrolled in school should have received their degree within the last 12 months.

If Interested:
Do not send application or C.V. now. There are no openings at this time. If you are interested in receiving a copy of the internship announcement, if and when one is issued, please contact the Reserve to get on the mailing list for Research Internships to receive notification when applications are being accepted. Applicants for internships generally include a cover letter indicating type of application (internship) and applicant's academic and professional interests; a completed State of Washington Application for Employment Form SF 573; and a curriculum vitae indicating the applicant's academic background, work experience, course work completed and names, addresses, and phone numbers of three references. On-site interview required.

Volunteer GPS Research Internship Summer 2013
Summer 2013

Research Internship at Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Field (GPS) Investigation of Decadal Changes in Eelgrass Distribution in Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Washington

Project Description: Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve staff have mapped the distribution of eelgrasses in Padilla Bay in the past. Padilla Bay contains one of the largest contiguous eelgrass (Zostera marina) meadows in the Pacific Northwest (more than 3000 hectares). Extensive ground truth investigations in 2000 and 2004 documented presence and cover of eelgrass vegetation in Padilla Bay. You will revisit many of these sites and document vegetation presence and cover in 2013 using GPS and photo documentation. Work will involve extensive field work during low tide on the intertidal flats, GPS technology for locating and documenting vegetation cover, photo documentation, measurement of vegetative characteristics of eelgrass in the field, laboratory processing of eelgrass samples, data entry, and entering data into a GIS database. You will also help with other field and laboratory studies being conducted in Padilla Bay.

This unpaid internship will provide you with field and laboratory experience collecting basic vegetative data on eelgrasses, experience in use of GPS on intertidal flats, data entry into a GIS database, and working with a small research and monitoring team.

Skills Required: Willingness to work in the field in sandy and muddy intertidal habitats, walking up to 4 km from shore. Ability to pay attention to detail under inclement conditions. Ability to work long hours in the laboratory sorting biological samples. Ability to work as part of a team. Basic knowledge of biology and some basic laboratory experience helpful.

Location: Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is located in a rural setting near Mount Vernon, Washington, about 15 to 20 minutes from population centers where housing would be available. You would need to have some form of transportation to the Reserve.

This is an unpaid internship. One position on GPS investigation of eelgrass cover will be available during the summer of 2013.

Application Procedure: Applications for internships should include 1) a cover letter expressing interest in the research internship at Padilla Bay, an indication of how this would fit in your educational goals, and the dates and length of time that you would be available; 2) a curriculum vitae including academic background and work experience; and 3) a list of relevant courses. Applications and inquiries may be addressed to Douglas Bulthuis at the email or postal address below.

Intern Supervisor: Dr. Douglas Bulthuis, Research Coordinator
Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
10441 Bay View-Edison Road
Mount Vernon, WA 98273
360-428-1089; bulthuis@padillabay.gov

The Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is managed by the Washington State Department of Ecology in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. As one of 28 National Estuarine Research Reserves around the coastal United States, its objectives include protection and restoration of the natural resources and the provision of opportunities for research, monitoring, and long-term scientific and educational programs. Located in western Skagit County, Washington, Padilla Bay contains one of the largest contiguous eelgrass (Zostera marina) meadows in the Pacific Northwest.