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Organization Description: Lake Superior Biological Station (LSBS), located in Ashland, Wisconsin, is a field station of the USGS Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC). LSBS was established by congressional action in 1957 and is the primary federal agency for applied fisheries science excellence in Lake Superior. In the early 1900s, overharvest, sea lamprey predation, and habitat degradation led to the collapse of many native Lake Superior fish populations, including lake trout and their prey fishes.  Research at LSBS focuses on a wide array of issues important to state, federal, tribal, and Canadian natural resource managers throughout the Great Lakes primarily used to develop management plans for lake trout, cisco, short-jaw cisco, and lake whitefish. The station also conducts annual fish, zooplankton, and water temperature surveys in nearshore and offshore waters of Lake Superior as well as targeted research projects in response to emerging questions. Current research projects include evaluating the biology, population and community dynamics, and yield prediction of Lake Superior fishes, including lake trout, cisco, and prey fishes. The station includes offices, laboratories, a work shop, and multiple storage facilities. The R/V Kiyi is the keystone platform to LSBS deepwater science activities. The Kiyi is a large, 107 ft vessel that provides exceptional lakewide sampling capabilities on a modern research platform. The Kiyi is capable of deploying gillnets, midwater and bottom trawls, hydroacoustics, limnological instruments, and plankton and bottom samplers in the deepest parts of the lake. LSBS also operates several smaller vessels for research in nearshore waters.

Position Description: The student will learn how fish and limnological surveys are conducted on the Great Lakes.  They will become proficient in the identification of Great Lakes fish, processing catches, the determination of predator diets, and a host of other scientific operations.

Previous Lake Superior Biological Station Northland student technicians have gone on to graduate school to earn Master’s and Doctoral degrees and successful careers with local, state, tribal, and federal government environmental agencies.  This is a fabulous opportunity if you want a career in fisheries.

Start date: between May 1 and June 3, 2019

End date: September 2019 – though successful students will be provided the opportunity for part-time work during school semesters

Responsibilities and Qualifications

Qualifications: Self-motivated, high interest in Great Lakes ecology, ability to get along well with others, desire and ability to work on a ship under possible adverse conditions for extended periods of time or in the laboratory, or a combination of both.


Principal duties of the position include:

  1. Deckhand and biological technician work onboard the Research Vessel the R/V KIYI and other small boats.  This may include survey trips up to 4 weeks in duration.
    1. Handling lines and other ship work as directed
    2. Deploying and retrieving fish trawls and other scientific equipment such as electronic water profile samplers, ponar samplers, and zooplankton samplers.
    3. Processing fish catches – sorting the catch to fish species, weighing and measuring fish, determining their sex and maturity, removing scales, otoliths, stomachs, organs, and muscle tissue.
    4. Cleaning of the ship including wet lab, toilets, floors, walls, washing dishes, etc.
  2. Laboratory work at the Lake Superior Biological Station office
    1. Processing of fish stomach samples, zooplankton samples, benthic invertebrate samples. This includes identifying and measuring organisms.
    2. Processing of water samples
    3. Processing of isotopic composition samples
    4. Organizing and cleaning of the laboratory
    5. Fish aging, organization, and proper storing of fish aging structures
  3. Data entry
    1. Entry of survey cruise records. This includes water temperature, water quality, diet composition, and fish survey data.
    2. Entry of historical fish collection records
  4. General office work as needed.

This is a work-study, cost-share internship. Students must be returning to Northland College in fall 2019; student must fill out their 2019-2020 FAFSA, students must register for a 3 credit internship during the summer term.

Organization Details

Lake Superior Biological Station (USGS) 2800 Lake Shore Dr. East Ashland, Wisconsin Website

Number of Position Openings: 2