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Memphis Zoo

Paid Conservation Research Internship, Summer 2021 - Urban Wildlife

Job Description: Memphis Zoo’s Department of Conservation & Research is offering an internship in conservation biology. The position is available for upper level (Jr/Sr) undergraduate students and 1-2 year post-graduates. This internship offers a unique research experience working with scientists conducting cutting edge and frontline projects to save wildlife, and will provide valuable training in field techniques, experimental design, and data analysis for many professional careers in wildlife conservation and ecology.

Specific Project & Internship Description:  Urban development is responsible for some of the highest local extinctions rates of native wildlife. The vision of the Memphis Zoo is to preserve wildlife through education, conservation and research; and thus we are investigating factors impacting urban wildlife. This urban ecology project has two main goals. First, we will assess and compare small mammal species diversity in the Overton Forest, an old growth forest adjacent to the Zoo in the midst of Memphis, with that of the Meeman-Shelby State Forest Park, 26 km north of the Zoo. Second, we will monitor and compare the relationship between nocturnal illumination levels in both field sites noted above and the nocturnal activity of the southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans). Artificial light at night (ALAN) affects animal reproduction, immune function, stress and cognition and is a key threat to biodiversity. The nocturnal flying squirrel is a keystone species with the critical role of spreading fungal spores essential to forest health and the impact of ALAN on this species’ activity is unknown.

Specifically, the urban wildlife intern will work with Dr. Jennifer Clarke to 1) camera trap small mammal species in both field sites and 2) to monitor nocturnal light levels and camera trap southern flying squirrels to gain an index of the species’ activity and habitat use in both forests. The intern will gain experience with question/hypothesis/prediction design, camera trapping techniques, small mammal identification, methods of measuring nocturnal illumination, data entry, and data analysis.

Support Provided: 1) A stipend of $9.00/hr, to a maximum stipend of $4320 for a full 12-weeks and 2) free housing in the Memphis Zoo’s condominium located near the Zoo. The condominium has two bedrooms and houses up to four people. Interns may be required to share a bedroom with a same-sex roommate.

Materials to Submit: The application deadline is March 12th. However, the submission window may be closed earlier if a maximum number of applicants is reached before that date. Visit to apply online. Materials required in the online application are a curriculum vita and a cover letter describing research interests, job-related skills and life experiences. Please include the names and email addresses of two referees. Preferred candidates may be contacted in March for an interview via Zoom. Send questions to Dr. Jennifer Clarke at

Experience Required

Requirements for this Position: Preference will be given to applicants working towards degrees in biology, zoology, ecology, wildlife biology/conservation or related fields. Applicants with field experience in animal behavior, conservation and urban ecology are preferred. Other requirements include the ability to work with a team and independently, follow instruction and exhibit excellent oral and written skills. The intern may need to travel with their research mentor to additional work sites outside the Zoo properties and may work unconventional hours, on weekends and in uncomfortable weather conditions in the field.


9.00/hour stipend plus housing

How to Apply

Apply online:

Memphis Zoo
2000 Prentiss Pl.
Memphis, TN 38112

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