Pacific Whale Foundation Research Department Internships

Publish Date: Feb 08, 2016

Deadline: Feb 28, 2016

Pacific Whale Foundation Research Department Internships

Pacific Whale Foundation (PWF), based in Maui, Hawai‘i, is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting whales and other marine life through research, education, and conservation.  Our researchers have studied whales and dolphins throughout the Pacific for over 30 years and currently conduct projects in Hawai‘i, Australia, and Ecuador.  We offer internships in our Marine Mammal Research Program year-round.  


PWF seeks performance-driven and dedicated individuals for long-term (4 - 5 month) internships. Successful applicants are expected to dedicate 30 - 40 hours per week working both in the office and on our research vessel. Applicants must be available to work Monday - Friday and be available for all boat trips. Some weekend work may also be required.


Interns assist research staff at PWF’s headquarters on Maui, Hawaii processing and analyzing data from mysticete (humpback whale) and odontocete (toothed whale and dolphin) studies.

Primary responsibilities are office-based and may include:

  • Photo-identification matching of whale flukes and/or dolphin dorsal fins;
  • Data entry and archival tasks;
  • Data processing and analysis;
  • General operational tasks.

Additional responsibilities include land-based and vessel-based data collection within the four-island region of Maui.

Each intern may be assigned to a specific cetacean project according to skill set and availability. Interns also assist staff with other projects, such as outreach events, as the need arises.


Ideal applicants should:

  • Possess a university degree or be advanced undergraduates in biology, zoology, marine biology, ecology, or a related field;
  • Have a mature attitude towards research, i.e. be willing and able to work long hours in both office environment and in adverse field conditions;
  • Be proficient with computers and data entry; specifically using PCs and the Microsoft Office suite of products;
  • Have a strong work ethic and superior organizational skills;
  • Be independent, adaptable, and a fast-learner;
  • Be able to collect data in a detail-oriented manner;
  • Have boating experience;
  • Speak, read and write English fluently.

Applicants with little biology or marine expertise that possess outstanding skills in programming, statistical analysis, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and database management are also welcomed to apply.


There is no financial compensation for these positions and interns are responsible for their own living and transportation expenses. This is, however, an excellent opportunity to gain experience in marine mammal research.

Application Process

Applicants must be authorized to legally remain in Hawai’i if they are not U.S. citizens or authorized to work in the U.S.

Interested candidates should submit an application with the following:

  • A cover letter including your availability, i.e. preferred time period (1 page only);
  • A resume describing training, experience and relevant skills (2 pages only);
  • Names and contact information of three references.

Please specify the internship period you are applying for. The date ranges for our internships are:

  • January 1  – April 30  (deadline September 30)
  • May 1 – August 31  (deadline for applications February 28)
  • September 1 – December 31  (deadline for applications June 30)

Please send these items as e-mail attachments (PDF preferred) to - No phone calls or drop-ins, please!

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