Research Assistants (RA) are adults with a university degree in a related science to the project, have completed at least one internship, and are seeking an opportunity to gain significant experience in their field of interest.

RAs often are considering a graduate degree or may need to collect data for their master's degree project. They are a critical part of the research team and will be responsible for mentoring interns, leading citizen science projects, and present outreach talks.

RA opportunities are rarely less than a 3 month commitment to a project and require an extensive application and interviews. Master's thesis RAs will be prepared with a research question that is well thought out, including a hypothesis and a null hypothesis as part of the application process.

Faculty will work closely with RAs to mentor them in the methods and data analysis of the project as well as coaching positive and inspiring teaching methods. 

The Caribbean Cetacean Communication Project  focuses on a novel approach to understanding vocal and non-vocal means of communication between conspecifics. 


The multidisciplinary approach incorporates an equal emphasis on behavioral ecology, acoustics, comparative anatomy & physiology, and evolutionary biology.  The goal is to further investigate communication between adults and calves in close proximity to each other and across long distances.



Mithriel M. MacKay, Ph.D. 

Marine Mammal Behavioral Ecology

Director of Research and Education 

Marine and Coastal Ecology Research Center Inc.

Kerri Seger, Ph.D.

Biological Oceanography & Acoustics

Senior Scientist

Applied Ocean Sciences, LLC

Joy S. Reidenberg, Ph.D.

Center for Anatomy and Functional Morphology,

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, 

New York, NY 10029-6574

Marine Resources Management (MRM) and Natural Resources Management (NRM) Research Assistants (RA)

You have the opportunity to research, design, and create an MRM or NRM plan for under-served areas of the globe while gaining valuable experience in cultural, economic, and conservation planning. All MRM and NRM RAs will be tasked with integrating small scale economic opportunity, stake holder buy-in for conservation initiatives, and bridging cultures between local, regional, and global observers.

RAs will mentored by MCERC faculty and staff in two phases of development. Phase I may be completed via e-learning options from anywhere you are located which has reliable internet connections. Phase II is conducted at a field site.

Phase I is the design of a practical, detailed plan aimed at conservation while providing economic opportunity for communities. The final product of your assistantship will be a comprehensive technical report outlining the feasibility of your plan. Examples of areas which may be the focus of your project include South Africa, Turks and Caicos Islands, Central America, Coastal United States and territories, and virtually any area in the world of interest to you. There is an administrative fee associated with Phase I of MRM and NRM RA programs.

Phase II is open to RAs who have completed Phase I of their project. RAs will have the opportunity to apply for a position in field locations for MCERC research programs in order to collect data in support of their management plan. Examples of field sites for this project include South Africa and the Turks and Caicos Islands. RAs will be responsible for traveling to and from field sites. Costs associated with field excursions vary according to duration and location and will be discussed with each RA applicant.

RAs for this program who are eligible to earn credit hours through their university for this experience may schedule a meeting with the MCERC director to discuss how to proceed. 

Research Assistant (RA) applications for several marine and bush programs in South Africa are available for 2021 and 2022. Applications will be accepted in November 2020 and will remain open until all positions are filled. RA positions are designed to build research skills and prepare participants for competitive job and graduate school applications.

RA positions are highly competitive. You are encouraged to apply early. Announcements for these positions will be posted on MCERC social media accounts first.

Please note the following:

All RAs are required to have finished at least a bachelor's degree in a related field.

There will be a minimum commitment for the length of each internship. Duration of these positions will vary according to the project.

Detailed information will be provided when the positions are open. Applicants are required to read all the information carefully as there are physical demands and specific roles which differ for each project. Some of the RA positions in South Africa require SCUBA certification in advance of the start of each commitment.

RAs usually are requires to be actively involved in mentoring interns and citizen scientists on the science teams. MCERC faculty recognizes that teaching is a valuable motivator to prepare for research activity as well as developing skills for working as a team in remote locations during field work.

A contract is required to complete all RA applications and will be submitted once a position is offered. An example of the contract is available on the Home Page of the MCERC Education Hub. Health and travel insurance will be required. RAs are typically required to cover the cost of administrative expenses. MCERC strives to cover costs associated with the research with the exception of travel to and from field sites. As funding per project varies, applicants are strongly encouraged to read the details of each program that interests them ahead of submitting an application.