Research technician – Remote sensing of primary productivity of mudflats in the upper Bay of Fundy

Mount Allison University Published: September 17, 2019
Sackville, New Brunswick
Internship Type
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A combination of environmental and conservation research, GIS technology, and clean technology
Salary range
approximately $17/hr depending on experience
Hours per week
Start Date
End Date


The upper Bay of Fundy tidal mudflats are internationally significant resources for migratory shorebird and fish productivity. Mudflat productivity is driven by biofilms, composed primarily of photosynthetic diatoms which convert light energy to protein, fats and carbohydrates needed by consumers. Measuring the productivity of these biofilms is however logistically slow and challenging. Elsewhere satellite remote sensing has been calibrated to monitor mudflat productivity and the interactions of mudflat productivity with wildlife consumers. We propose to perform a baseline calibration ('ground truthing') of mudflat productivity at well established study sites, to enable remote sensing of seasonal and regional changes in productivity patterns.

Duties and responsibilities

The intern will collaborate with the research personnel of colleagues (Dr. Diana Hamilton, Mount Allison and Dr. Myriam Barbeau, University of New Brunswick) studying mudflat productivity and community dynamics. The intern will capture a series of standing crop, pigmentation, biofilm composition and productivity estimates from the established Peck's Cove and Grande Anse mudflat study sites, in near-synchrony with the timing of images from Sentinel 2 overflights.

We will use the ground measures to generate locally relevant calibrations of mudflat biofilm standing crop, and pigmentation shifts in response to seasonal and tidal progressions. We will cross compare these estimates with known environmental shifts such as changes in consumer abundance or arrival and departure of shorebirds, from the network of Dr. Hamilton & Dr. Barbeau.

The internship will commence in late fall with lab work and data analyses at Mount Allison University related to previously collected samples and satellite imagery. This will continue through winter.  In spring, summer and early fall the research technician will work in the field with a research team consisting of graduate and undergraduate students and researchers from several institutions. The intern will gain international experience by collaborating with Dr. Bruno Jesus, Université de Nantes, France, on analyses of the Sentinal 2 images, using a newly instituting ftp data exchange system to move the large data files between France & Canada.

Knowledge and skills

We seek candidates with the preparation and drive to gain applied experience in graphical information systems, high throughput data scripting in the R or Python environments, and laboratory analyses of field samples supporting ecological field work. Additional useful skills include data entry and database management. We are prepared and able to train the intern in all aspects of the job, and the most important consideration is a strong general interest in computational and conservation-oriented field research, and an ability to work collaboratively with a large team under sometimes challenging conditions.

At the end of this internship, the successful candidate will have gained experience in the following:

  • Analyses of remote sensing data
  • Development and management of multi-user, multi-site structured data systems
  • Compositional analyses of field samples
  • Field data collection

The objective of this internship is to give recent graduates a diverse experience in this field, and open opportunities for further employment in the environmental research or monitoring sectors.

Education required

B.Sc. in Biology, Environmental Science or a related field

Eligibility criteria

Career-Launcher Internships are funded by the Government of Canada under the Youth Employment Strategy. For program criteria information visit their website.


Qualified interns are:

  • Post-secondary students and graduates
  • No more than 30 years of age at the start of the internship
  • Canadian citizens, permanent residents or persons granted refugee status in Canada*
  • Legally allowed to work according to the relevant provincial and Canadian legislation and regulations
  • Not receiving employment insurance during their internship
  • Available to work for at least six months
  • Not previous participants of a federal youth employment program
  • Not employees of the hiring employer prior to the start of their internship (does not apply to previous coop students or student interns)

*Refugee protection must be conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Persons awaiting refugee status, as well as those who hold a temporary visitor visa, student visa or work visa, are ineligible to participate in a Youth Employment Strategy initiative.

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