Internship position at the Grupo Puntacana Foundation, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Application deadline: February 10, 2017
Internship dates: 20 March to 20 September (these are tentative dates, earlier start time might be required for one or more of the internship positions)
Internship Description:
The Grupo Puntacana Foundation is currently accepting applications for three (3) different internship positions:
      I.         Coastal Resource Restoration and Management
    II.         Coral and Others Invertebrate Species Husbandry
  III.         Aquatic Systems/Aquarist
The Grupo Puntacana Foundation internship program is a rigorous program that allows participants to work on Acropora coral restoration, marine ecology, environmental education, species monitoring and resource management amongst other areas of interest to the foundation. There internships are physically demanding and time and energy intensive but also a great learning opportunity for the selected candidates. Each cycle, the foundation receives a high number of qualified individuals from across all three academic degrees from multiple countries worldwide, making the internships very competitive. The selected candidates will be directly supervised by the Biodiversity Conservation Coordinator whom reports to the Programs and Research Manager. All interns will work off the new Center for Marine Innovation (CMI) and will work on other research programs being implemented, which includes field and laboratory research, data analysis, report writing, proposal writing and manuscript preparation. As a final project, interns are expected to present (in oral format) to the foundation staff and write a project report.
Internship Duration:
The length of the internship is negotiable, ideally 6 months. Desired internship duration must be stated in the applicant’s letter of interest. No vacation is awarded. Days off will be granted depending on the interns advance towards the completion of his or her projects obligations.
Stipends and More:
A small stipend to help cover food and other expenses will be provided depending on the qualifications of the candidate, the length of the internship, and the AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS. Interns are not illegible to receive the same benefits as full – time staff. Interns will be provided with free lodging at the Foundations Center for Sustainability for the duration of the internship. These are dorm room style living areas in which two rooms share a common bathroom. Interns are not allowed to live off site.
General Requirements:
·            The candidate should have the following characteristics: professionalism, the ability to work as a team member, willingness to work flexible hours and a strong commitment to research in preservation, conservation and restoration of coastal marine resources.
·            BA/BS in Biology, oceanography, marine biology, ecology or similar degree is required.
·            Proof of medical insurance must be provided by selected candidates prior to arriving in country.
·            Proof of DAN insurance is required for candidates interested in diving.
·            Advance Open Water Certification is required for candidates interested in Diving. Candidates will not be allowed to dive unless both DAN insurance and Dive Certification requirements are met.
·            All Candidates must be able to carry out a simple conversation in Spanish to be able to qualify.
Additional information for each of the available internships is provided below and can also be obtained by contacting the emails below.
Interested candidates must apply by sending an email with a single PDF containing: CV and cover letter which includes “Internship and name” in the subject line to Applications will only be accepted until January 20th at 5PM Dominican Time.
I.               Coastal Resource Restoration and Management:
Interns will work mainly on the foundation’s Acropora in-situ coral nursery maintaining nursery infrastructure, monitoring and controlling disease and predator outbreaks. Data collection and analysis will also be part of the work. Interns will also be responsible for monitoring coral genotypes and incorporating new genetic material from other areas of the country. Interns will also work on outplanting activities alongside local fishermen and youths. Occasionally, interns will travel with staff to visit other nurseries in the Dominican Republic and will work closely on these visits with the Dominican Coastal Restoration Consortium (CDRC in Spanish) to monitor and evaluate Acropora coral nursery performance at each of these sites. During the turtle nesting season, interns will work with local volunteers to patrol local beaches for Hawksbill nests. Sea urchin, sea cucumber, parrotfish monitoring and mangrove restoration will also be a part of the intern’s responsibility. Interns are not expected to carry out independent research but are welcome to propose a research topic. Finally, interns will work with other staff to prepare and present scientific research to government officials and others, as requested.
Example Duties and Expected Responsibilities:
·            Establishing and maintenance A. cervicornis outplant sites along the Punta Cana reefs area and neighboring communities.
·            Maintenance and upkeep of the coral nursery in Punta Cana.
·            Invertebrate marine surveys.
·            Assist with technical writing, data collection and presentations.
·            Care for and provide basic maintenance to project equipment.
·            Research literature, help identify and apply for grants.
·            Assist in the development of new partnerships, and support environmental permit renewal efforts.
·            Assist as needed Center’s activities including the implementation of tours.
Position Specific Qualification Requirements:
·            Minimum 1 year of experience with coral reef monitoring or coral propagation techniques.
·            Advance Open Water Diver with a minimum of 30 logged dives. Rescue Diver or AAUS certification is preferred but not required.
·            Ability to work under strenuous and adverse conditions including working with currents, waves, poor visibility, long dive times and back to back diving days.
·            Medical clearance to dive.
II.             Coral and Others Invertebrate Species Husbandry:
Interns in these positions will work with the Center’s staff on the continued development and improvement of microfragmentation and subsequent outplanting techniques. Interns will be responsible for monitoring and documenting microfrag coral growth and other parameters. Interns will work with staff to develop microfraging and Outplanting standardized protocols that can be replicated in other areas of the Dominican Republic. Interns will also work with the Biodiversity Conservation Coordinator to carryout invertebrate field surveys establishing baseline date that can be used for future propagation activities. Further, interns will be responsible for live fish, inverts, and corals (potentially other organism as well): including cleaning of holding tanks, feeding, and more. Additionally, interns will be responsible for both quarantine tanks and raceway propagation tanks at the Center. Live education touch tanks are also contemplated at the Center and interns are also expected to care for these tanks and attend to visiting school groups. Finally, interns are expected to assist other staff or other interns in the implementation of their work.
Example Duties and Expected Responsibilities:
·            Responsible for the Microfragmentaiton program which includes the cutting, quarantining, feeding and upkeep of coral fragments.
·            Carryout coral experiments to help established best practices.
·            Carryout regular tank and raceway maintenance and cleaning.
·            Invertebrate care, treatment and feeding. Includes tank maintenance and cleaning.
·            Develop and maintain a feed system for hosted organisms.
·            Assist with technical writing, data collection and presentations.
·            Work with other staff and interns (Aquatic Systems/Aquarists Intern) in the installation and maintenance of coral raceways, aquarium plumbing, and lighting.
Position Specific Qualification Requirements:
·            Minimum 2 years of experience with coral, sea urchins, sea cucumber and Caribbean marine fish species or a combination of experience and education.
·            Experience handling, collecting, manipulating and feeding corals, fish and inverts.
·            Some experience with microfragmentation practical techniques or theory.
·            Experience with specialized equipment including pH, DO, and other water chemistry parameter probes.
·            Knowledge of Caribbean marine species
III.           Aquatic Systems/Aquarist:
For this new internship, we are looking for candidates with abundant experience working with marine closed and open water systems. Selected candidates will be responsible for the close and open systems that support a variety of projects including the Microfragmentation program, the Center’s Wetlab, the touch tanks, and the turtle recovery and holding tanks. As the Center’s projects grow, the intern might be expected to contribute to these new programs as well. Candidates can work on their own independent projects or assist other interns and staff in the implementation of their work. The intern is also expected to work the maintenance staff to resolve system issues. Finally, the intern will work closely with the Ornamental Fish Propagation (OFP) Coordinator to collect and propagate local ornamental fish species for eventual reintroduction efforts. This candidate will essentially assist the OFP coordinator in his research project helping to propagate locally threatened or important fish species.
Position Specific Qualification Requirements:
·            Experience with Caribbean species.
·            Indispensable experience in the installation and maintenance of coral raceways; aquarium plumbing; and lighting.
·            At least 2 years’ experience (or a combination of experience and education) in Open and Close Marine Water Systems.
·            Knowledge of sand and UV filters
·            Experience with Water Quality monitoring meters
·            Protein skimmers, activated carbon and similar equipment
·            Plumbing and aquaria lighting experience