U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


Behavioral study of imperiled birds in captivity

Mentors: Sandar Sneckenberger and Mary Peterson

This internship would involve an observational research project focused on the behavior of captive grasshopper sparrows in different types of enclosures. Student would work closely with USFWS biologists and two captive breeding facilities to develop a standard protocol to evaluate and score behaviors, and later analyze and interpret results. If time allows, additional opportunities include field visits, literature review of disease issues, and identifying potential "re-wilding" training that could occur prior to the release of captive birds back to the wild. Interest with working with endangered species, avian ecology, captive breeding, wildlife diseases, behavioral studies, and wildlife reintroductions is required; experience is preferred..

Rim Rock Crowned Snake Conservation

Mentor: John Tupy

The rim rock crowned snake (Tantilla oolicttica) is a rarely observed, endemic species of the south Florida pine rockland ecosystem occurring along the Miami rock-ridge area and the Florida Keys. Over 98% of this habitat outside of Everglades National Park has been destroyed, fragmented or degraded due to urban development. A fossorial species, the rim rock crowned snake rarely comes above ground and shelters in holes and crevices of limestone substrate as well as any available cover (natural or unnatural) to remain undisclosed while it searches for prey and optimal microclimate conditions. Little is known about its life history and records of encounters are sparse. The selected intern will conduct thorough literature research as well as outreach to experts in herpetology, serpentology, and the natural history of south Florida and the Florida pine rockland ecosystem in order to assist in a species status assessment of the rim rock crown snake. Information will be compiled and summarized, and additional information needs will be identified. The intern will also conduct research on survey and trapping methods used for fossorial snake species, similar to the rim rock crowned snake, and design method(s) to be tested in the field.

USFWS Boy Scout GIS Mapping Project

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is creating an online mapping system as an added tool to assist Boy Scouts of America in studying and contributing services related to conservation and wildlife. The purpose of the online system is to provide species, habitat, environmental, infrastructure, and conservation information in a GIS, Geographic Information System through ESRI ArcGIS online to be available for Scouts to be used as map visuals, a tool to create maps and communicate information for earning merit badges and awards. The wildlife conservation online mapping system will be accessible via computers, tablets and cell phones. Information such as trails, parks, preserves, natural areas, beaches, scenic areas, bird watch areas and more will also be available for the Boy Scouts. This will give insights as to recreation and nature opportunities to help inform scouts and groups of good ways to spend their time and enhance the enjoyment of their lives.