Application deadline is April 1, 2023!
The Otter Point Creek Alliance and the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Maryland (CBNERR-MD) co-sponsor a summer research internship. Internships are open to qualified undergraduate students to conduct a summer research project within the Otter Point Creek Component of CBNERR-MD. The Maryland reserve is one of 29 Reserves throughout the country that serve as field laboratories for the betterment of coastal zone management through research, education, and stewardship.
Otter Point Creek is one of three sites that comprise CBNERR-MD. It contains 704 acres of upland and riparian forest, tidal freshwater marshes, streams, creeks, submerged aquatic vegetation, and open water. Otter Point Creek is located in the tidal headwaters of the Bush River in Harford County, Maryland. Staff from the Anita C. Leight Estuary Center oversees all efforts and activities at Otter Point Creek. Students are encouraged to work with staff to coordinate the use of laboratories, field equipment, and other amenities (canoes, boats, storage space, etc.) in support of their research project. Students are also encouraged to incorporate education and volunteer opportunities, if applicable, in their research efforts.
Otter Point Creek is an ideal site for a broad range of research topics with a diversity of habitats. Students can work with the Park Manager to develop their own research project from the topics listed below:
- Morphological Assessment of HaHa Branch, Cove, and Mudflats—Assess the impacts of changes in anthropomorphic sedimentation of a tributary of Otter Point Creek and its adjacent mudflats. Document and investigate physical, morphological and sedimentary characteristics of a valuable and diverse habitat being impacted by upstream development.
- Harnessing SAV Watchers Data to Understand SAV Species Dynamics– Quantify and map changes in desirable SAV species in historically nonnative Hydrilla verticillata dominated Otter Point Creek estuary. Use existing long term monitoring data, SAV Watchers data and collect current data using a variety of methods to consider habitat characteristics and SAV species dynamics. Produce mapping and analysis products to inform volunteers, managers, and future planting restoration efforts.
- Trends in Emergent Vegetation– A data analysis project, looking at how Emergent Vegetation Survey sample plots have changed over time, utilizing data sets from 2008 to 2022. Changes in species composition and distribution may be connected to climate change and urbanization. Options for desktop or virtual based projects, projects with a fieldwork component will also be considered.
- Vegetation Mapping– Utilizing technology to capture imagery that can be used to map vegetation communities, both submerged and emergent, with mapping software. Updating the wild rice and phragmites mapping project last completed in 2012 or evaluating habitat distribution of state-rare wetland plant species. Options for desktop or virtual based projects, or a combination of desktop and fieldwork.
- Trends in Juvenile Fish Surveys– A data analysis project, compiling and analyzing existing juvenile fish sampling results, using data collected for over a decade. Current data may be collected through existing seine surveys and/or eDNA sampling efforts. The goal of the project will be the creation of a recurring analysis protocol that would be used for existing and future data collection. Options for desktop or virtual based projects, or a combination of desktop and fieldwork.
- Spotted Lantern Fly Distribution Across the Upland to Wetland Habitat Margin – Determine the distribution and density of the invasive spotted lantern fly across the different habitat types of the Otter Point Creek estuary. Use traps and/or other detection techniques to understand how far into wetland habitats spotted lantern can persist, begin to understand the species’ local microhabitat preferences, and identify population density hot spots. These results could inform volunteer egg mass eradication efforts as well as investigate the impact of the invasive insect on upper wetland habitats.
Anita C. Leight Research Interns will receive research support and mentoring from trained personnel. They receive a stipend as well as access to research equipment and supplies.
For further information about the topic areas to develop a research proposal, you are encouraged to contact CBNERR-MD Research Staff: Kyle Derby, firstname.lastname@example.org or Becky Swerida, email@example.com
For more detailed information about the projects, please contact Lauren Pathoumthong, Site Manager, at 410-612-1688 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Internships are open to qualified undergraduate students who are capable of working independently with minimal supervision. Students should be highly motivated self-starters, have good communication and writing skills, and be comfortable working in physically challenging environments. Kayak or canoe paddling skills are desirable in order to access research points.
Qualified applicants should submit the following:
- A short proposal (five or less single-spaced pages that includes a title, hypotheses, methods/procedures, objectives/goals of study, and references) see template and example
- A copy of unofficial transcripts
- Two letters of recommendation and
- A one-page resume.
All applications must be received in full by April 1. Qualified applicants will be contacted for an interview.
The successful applicant is expected to develop an expanded detailed proposal, conduct independent research, and provide a final report, public presentation and newsletter article about their project for the Otter’s Tale, within one year of completing their project.
The Otter Point Creek Alliance will provide a stipend of $4,000 in four installments. Final payment is made upon completion of all requirements. In addition, CBNERR-MD will provide up to $500 for supplies. Interns should plan and be committed to working a minimum of 20 hours a week for a minimum of 2 1/2 months during the summer.
Send complete applications to:
Lauren Pathoumthong, Site Manager
Anita C. Leight Estuary Center
700 Otter Point Road
Abingdon, MD 21009
or email your complete application as a PDF with proposal, transcripts, recommendation letters and resume to Lauren Pathoumthong at email@example.com
For more information contact:
Lauren Pathoumthong at 410-612-1688 or firstname.lastname@example.org