U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Work with Us

Sea otters
Sea Otters, Photo credit Kristine Sowl/USFWS.

Volunteer opportunities, student internships  (unpaid), and graduate projects (unfunded) available with sea otter program in the Marine Mammals Management division of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Anchorage, Alaska.  Come work with us and learn what it is like to have a career in the Federal Government as a wildlife biologist.

Wanted: People interested in working with sea otters in the Marine Mammals Management Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) who possess the ability to be self-motivated.


Duties for volunteers and interns: Most volunteer/intern opportunities are laboratory/office based in Anchorage.  There is limited possibility for field work (see a report completed by one of our summer 2013 field interns). Volunteer /intern will assist the sea otter health and disease program by helping to conduct necropsies and tissue subsampling on sea otters collected through stranding events. Volunteer /intern will also maintain / update a variety of databases (i.e. stranding database) as necessary. Volunteer /intern may sort, organize, and ship samples out to facilities for further testing.  Intern/volunteer can participate in USFWS staff meetings and learn about a career in biology with the federal government. For more information on what working with us may entail please see the link to a report completed by one of our summer 2013 interns.

Requirements: The volunteer/intern must be self-motivated, organized, pay close attention to detail, and able to work independently. Although these are unpaid positions we expect a full commitment as if this were a career position.  Once familiar with the duties, a student may develop an independent research project to be carried out while working as an intern. If the project is for credit with a university, the project will be developed jointly with university and USFWS staff, and result in a final paper / report at the end of the semester.

Graduate students

We have many projects available for Masters and PhD students, both laboratory and field based.  We continually work with numerous graduate students on a variety of projects from sea otter physiology to foraging.  However, we have no funding for studies and collaborate with institutions to obtain sources of money for graduate work.  All students have to find their own funding and professor to work with however Fish and Wildlife staff do have on-going collaborations with universities that may aid in finding a good fit between prospective students and professors.

Salary: These are all unpaid positions.  Days and hours to be worked can be negotiated.

Start Dates: Available immediately, positions ongoing.

James MacCracken