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Do it with Nemertean Worms, and on the Internet Internship


LOCATION: National Museum of Natural History (10th & Constitution Ave. NW)

DEPARTMENT: Invertebrate Zoology

DESCRIPTION: This project focuses on expanding the knowledge base for the worm phylum Nemertea. Nemertean worms are predators ranging in size from a few mm to many meters long. They occupy all marine habitats, as well as some terrestrial and freshwater habitats. They can be ecologically significant and are key players in understanding animal evolution. They are weird and cool and can be beautiful or dull but, most important, they are very difficult to study, leading to historical and current paucity of expertise with much remaining to be discovered. Internship activities vary with interest of the candidate and include: a) gathering information to populate species pages on Encyclopedia of Life by scanning and/or translating literature on taxonomy and biology of nemerteans, and researching and compiling information such as geographic locality data and images; b) participating in studies of nemertean systematics, which could include making histological preparations to study micro-anatomy of nemerteans for description of new species, and DNA lab work to study genetic relationships.

QUALIFICATIONS: Experience with marine invertebrates, worms, histology, molecular phylogenetics, biomechanics, photomicrography, digital imaging, 3-d reconstruction, computer programming, web site development (esp. MySQL, PHP, HTML, Drupal), illustration, bioinformatics, or a mix of these, is helpful. Relevant computer or laboratory experience is advantageous but not necessary.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:  Interns will the fundamentals of taxonomic hypothesis-driven research and learn requisite skills specific to their projects by working with relevant experts, including the curator and research support staff with expertise in histology, imaging, and molecular work.

TIMETABLE: Year-round, commitment of at least 10 weeks at minimum 20 h/week

AWARD PACKAGE: Usually none

HOW TO APPLY: Applicants should submit a letter of interest describing how they see the internship fitting into their professional development, a CV or resume, and dates of availability to the project contact.



Dr. Jon Norenburg