Looking for spring interns for SERC Plant Molecular Ecology lab (Edgewater, MD)

The Plant Ecology and Molecular Ecology Laboratories at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center conduct an extensive research program on a wide range of topics related to plant ecology.  Most of the projects are based at SERC, which offers a variety of terrestrial and wetlands habitat types to study plant ecological issues. Plant and Molecular Ecology projects typically involve a range of approaches from data gathering from published materials to designing and conducting field and laboratory projects.  Fieldwork typically involves sampling soil, individual plants or setting up plots in which data on plants is collected.  Laboratory experiments typically involve DNA extraction and subsequent archiving.  Plant and soil samples that are collected in the field are typically freeze dried and prepared for molecular analysis. Laboratory techniques typically involve DNA extraction, quantification, PCR amplification, and subsequent analysis using electrophoresis gels, microsatellite analysis, or DNA sequencing. In all cases, careful notes on field and laboratory activities are required.

Internship Project

This specific internship project focuses on understanding the mycorrhizal ecology of orchids and their role in stress tolerance. The project will involve fieldwork in multiple sites and molecular analyses of plant and soil samples. The intern will collect soil and plant samples from multiple sites, conduct herbaceous plant surveys, examine structures of underground plant parts, and perform molecular analyses using the collected plant and soil samples. The main objective is to determine whether there are differences in the function of orchid mycorrhizal fungi in stressful, compared to benign, environments. The intern will also be involved with other related research projects. We anticipate that the intern will divide their time approximately equally between the field and laboratory analysis components.

Learning Objectives of the Internship

The intern will have the opportunity to interact with technicians, postdocs, and senior scientists.

  *   The intern will be taught techniques related to their internship project including study design, field sample and data collection, data entry, data verification, and analysis.

  *   The intern will also learn laboratory techniques for DNA extraction and analysis.

  *   The intern will summarize his/her accomplishments in a seminar at the end of the project period under the supervision of lab scientists.

  *   The intern will gain professional development by attending seminars and journal clubs and interacting with other scientists.

Please provide copy of resume and letter of interest to Dr. Melissa McCormick, mccormickm@si.edu

Weekly stipend of $625 and on-campus housing available

Proposed start date of Feb/March to May 2023

Application deadline is December 15th

For any questions about internship, please contact Dr. Melissa McCormick (McCormickM@si.edu) or Dr. Dennis Whigham (WhighamD@si.edu)

For questions about internships at SERC, please contact Dan Gustafson (GustafsonD@si.edu)