Position Title: Ecology Assistant
Park Unit: Southwest Alaska Network
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Number of positions available: 1
Can this position be fully remote: NO

Duration: 26 Weeks (not flexible)
Start Date: 12/01/2024
Flexible Start Date: YES

Weekly Stipend: $665.00
Relocation Allowance: $1,050.00

CURRENT NUMBER OF APPLICANTS: Under 75 (This posting will close after receiving 75 complete applications or at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, 16 June, whichever occurs first.)

The intern will analyze field data on plant communities in the Southwest Alaska Inventory and Monitoring network (SWAN). The Southwest Alaska Network (SWAN) is one of 32 regional networks established as part of the National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring Division (IMD). SWAN performs long-term monitoring of vegetation community and structure in Lake Clark and Katmai national parks. SWAN’s vegetation monitoring program involves repeat sampling of permanent plots on a 5-year revisit cycle. We have collected species presence/absence data in nested frequency quadrats at these permanent plots for over decade.

The intern will focus on species presence/absence data collected in monitoring visits, exploring patterns of species composition and diversity. The intern will conduct exploratory data analysis to summarize general patterns of species composition and diversity across the monitoring network. The intern work with the terrestrial ecologist to conceive and conduct other investigations with these data, exploring the effects of disturbance, patterns in space, or trends in time.

The intern will work closely with SWAN’s terrestrial and quantitative ecologist and data manager. The end-product of the internship will be a report in the NPS Natural Resource Report Series or a peer-reviewed publication, as well as well-documented analysis code.

The intern’s work help parks in the Southwest Alaska Network better understand patterns of plant diversity on the landscape and how these have changed or may be altered by a changing climate.


  • Tabular and graphical synopses of data analyses
  • Technical report documenting methods and results, intended for publication in the NPS Natural Resource Report series
  • R code created during the course of the project, documented for reproducibility
  • Intermediate datasets


Applicants must have strong backgrounds in data analysis, as demonstrated through coursework in statistics, applied mathematics, ecological modelling, etc. Applicants must also be proficient at programming in R. Experience communicating scientific information verbally and in writing and the ability to work independently and meet agreed-upon deadlines are required.

A successful candidate will:

  • Completed a bachelor’s degree in an ecology-related discipline
  • Ideally be enrolled in a graduate degree program in an ecology-related discipline
  • Have skills in univariate and multivariate statistical analyses using R, and experience working with plant community data.

The applicant must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. legal permanent resident (“Green Card holder”). Prior to starting this position, a government security background clearance will be required. The applicant must be available to participate for 26 Weeks in order to be considered and participate.

Work will be performed in an office setting. The work can be completed 100% remotely, but if the intern chooses to work in Anchorage, they will be provided a workspace in the Anchorage Regional Office. This office houses other scientists in SWAN as well as natural resource scientists and managers for the Alaska Region of the NPS.

Anchorage is Alaska’s most populous city, with a diverse population of ~300,000 residents and a landscape bordered by mountains and ocean. It has a subarctic climate with strong maritime influences that lead to relatively moderate winter weather, compared to Alaska’s interior. Average daytime winter temperatures range from ~5 to 30 °F (−15.0 to −1.1 °C). High latitude causes winter days to be short (as little as ~6 hours of daylight), however the ability of snow cover to reflect ambient light and brighten surroundings is substantial.

All standard amenities are available in Anchorage, including hospitals, schools, universities, restaurants, museums, theaters, and airports. Indoor and outdoor activities abound. In winter, outdoor activities include skiing (classic, skate, downhill, backcountry), snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice skating, and fat tire cycling, among others. Trails and lakes throughout the city are groomed and hot-mopped (respectively) during winter, and are available for recreation free of charge.


  • Applicant will not need to drive a government vehicle.
  • A personal vehicle is not required for this position.

Park housing is NOT available. The intern will be responsible for finding housing in the nearby area. Work may be performed remotely or at the NPS Alaska Regional Office in Anchorage, Alaska. Anchorage is a compact city, with many housing options available within walking, cycling, or busing distance of downtown, where the NPS office is located. Options range from shared housing (at the low cost end) to multi-room apartments (at the high cost end). See Craigslist for short-term rental prices (https://anchorage.craigslist.org/search/hhh). Note that prices during summer tend to exceed those during the rest of the year, when this internship will occur.

Botany, Community Ecology, Ecology, Data Analysis, Ecological Monitoring

This posting will close after receiving 75 complete applications, or at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, 16 June, whichever occurs first. Once you begin applying for a position, the application must be completed in one sitting. You cannot save and return later to complete it. Applicants can apply for up to five Scientists in Parks Intern positions per winter. You need to complete a separate application for each position in order to be considered. You should receive a confirmation email after successfully submitting an application. Sometimes institutional email filters/settings can redirect or block emails related to the application. We recommend watching spam, junk, and promotional email folders in case your service delivers messages there. Please visit How to Apply for additional resources and information about applying (i.e., learn what materials to have ready for applying, find a worksheet that previews application questions, etc.)