Bimini Biological Field Station
Focus: Conservation and marine biology
Interns experience a unique opportunity to take part in our intense field research, learning practical and theoretical skills that will enhance their prospects as future scientists.
BBFSF has three main objectives:
1. Understanding the biology of sharks and rays and the role that they play in the marine ecosystem through cutting edge field and laboratory research spanning multiple disciplines such as molecular and behavioural ecology, physiology, conservation and sensory biology.
2. Educating future scientists through providing opportunities for students, to design and conduct research projects at the undergraduate and graduate level, to complete advanced university degrees in the marine sciences; and through voluntary training as interns, thus advancing their field experience and skills.
3. Enhancing conservation and awareness through disseminating our results to both the public (tours of our facility, talks, TV documentaries, social media, posters and blogs) and scientists (peer-reviewed journals, conference presentations and posters, fishery reports and books).
Costs & Benefits
The Sharklab offers subsidized internships to persons 18 or older who wish to learn field research skills. Our approach is to integrate students with active marine scientists from around the globe. We thus support about ten international interns monthly, for periods up to 12 months. Interns experience a unique opportunity to take part in our intense field research, learning practical and theoretical skills that will enhance their prospects as future scientists. They live at the station with our staff, which includes two full-time PhDs, three PhD students and five professional managers. The Sharklab depends on the efforts of dedicated volunteers to accomplish our research and since its inception the station has hosted approximately 800 interns from around the globe.
The Sharklab is looking for highly motivated, hardy people with a desire to work and gain experience with marine fauna and flora. Volunteers are integrated in all aspects of the station's workload and are expected to assist with fixing gillnets, cleaning toilets, cooking dinner, as well as tagging and measuring large sharks! We very much believe that volunteering at the station is a life-changing experience that not only develops scientists but also helps to create rounded people, with a drive and passion to succeed in whatever path they choose to follow!
At BBFS we are seeking general interns who can collect data for our PhD student’s projects and assist with the daily running of the station. We also seek project students who undertake a normal volunteer's activities, while also completing their own research (see independent projects).
Internships range in length from two to twelve months, with two months being the minimum stay but we recommend a duration of three to four months at least to make the most of this opportunity.
There are five months available for interns to start and end their volunteering stay including, January 3rd, April 15th, June 15th, August 15th, and December 15th. Interns are able to apply to stay for as long of a duration as they would like as long as they are able to arrive/depart on the specific dates mentioned above. We are not in a position to be flexible with these start and end dates, due to our need to standardize a schedule with our chartered air service, food supply, and bed availability. The first 3-4 days of a newcomer's arrival are set aside for training and building up lab familiarity.
Every morning the entire crew wakes at 7:30am, after breakfast has been prepared by the lab manager. While the volunteers eat and get ready, our staff meets in the lab to determine the day’s activities and organize appropriate crews. Everyone is assigned certain tasks for the day, for example tracking sharks, fixing nets, conducting behavioural observations, setting longlines, cutting bait or entering data etc. Each day we also have a ‘duty person’ who stays back from the field cleaning and organising the station as well as assisting with meal preparation. There is a list of duties that need to be accomplished, in addition to other work that our staff require help with.
Lunch is usually scheduled for around 12:30, and again is prepared by the duty person with the help of the lab or assistant manager. After lunch, some crew members may change activities while others will continue on with their morning work. We also regularly have tasks that require interns to be in the field throughout the day, in which case a packed lunch is prepared. Crews return from the field when light falls or when they have completed their tasks, usually between 5 and 6pm. Boats and gear are cleaned, data collated and checked and everyone chips in until the dinner bell, which typically rings between 6 and 7pm, signalling the end of the work day!
Some of our research does require working into, and sometimes through the night, for example during our tagging program ‘PIT’ we gillnet from 6pm to 6am, and when long-lines are set, a crew will check for shark captures in the middle of the night. While the work day can sometimes be grueling, crews that are working through the night are usually able to catch up on sleep the next day. By 11pm, the station is quiet for those who want to get some sleep. The next day starts all over again, yet it never ends up quite the same! We try to plan a day off every 7-10 days, or as the research demands permit.
At BBFS scientific research is the focus of our daily activities; however, upkeep of the facility is also a high priority. Interning at the station provides both unique opportunities in the field where research skills can be developed, as well as, experiences in everyday life such as cooking and organising a household (see current research). With hard work and aptitude comes responsibility, we rely a great deal on skilled volunteers to run and lead crews for us in the field. All of our past and present PhD students, director and managers volunteered before they obtained their positions. We are always excited when a new group of volunteers arrives as with them comes varying perspectives from cities we likely have not visited ourselves!
$875 per month including house with bunk beds
Over 18 years old must be able to lift 50 lbs and withstand harsh environmental conditions.
Bimini Biological Field Station
9300 SW 99 Street, Miami, Florida 33176-2050 USA
South Bimini, Bimini, Bahamas
Alice Town, Bimini, Bahamas
Tel: ++1 (305) 274 0628 (USA) +242 347 4538 (Bahamas)
Average cost per day:$28
Focus: Conservation and Marine biology
Skills needed: Volunteers must be at least 18 years old