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Summary of Position
The summer intern will work with researchers in the Biology Department to use eDNA from water samples to determine the presence and abundance of the Yellow Lampmussel in Cape Breton. Freshwater mussels provide important ecosystem services to aquatic environments, yet are under threat due to habitat change and introduced species. This project will help to provide much needed spatially-explicit information on the presence and abundance of the Yellow Lampmussel – a species listed “of special concern” by the Species At Risk Act – and that has only been found in three lakes in Cape Breton to date.

The community partner for this Summer Student Intern position through the Clean Leadership program will be Cape Breton University – Biology Department, reporting to Dr. Tim Rawlings and Kellie White. The summer intern will be mainly responsible for working with aquatic ecologists to sample freshwater environments for freshwater mussels (streams, rivers, lakes), to collect and process water samples for eDNA, and to undertake controlled molecular procedures to determine the presence and abundance of Yellow Lampmussel in aquatic habitats. The successful candidate needs to enjoy working outdoors in freshwater environments and have an interest in learning molecular tools and techniques commonly applied to ecological questions.

Community Partner
Cape Breton University is a small undergraduate university focused on developing leaders of industry, scientists, researchers, artists, educators, health care professionals and highly skilled business professionals. Its faculty endeavour to provide students with rewarding and productive learning experiences that lead to independence and fulfilment.

Duties and Responsibilities
• Field sampling of freshwater mussels in streams, lakes and rivers
• Identification of freshwater mussels to species
• Collection of and filtration of water samples in the field
• DNA extraction from water samples
• Compilation and synthesis of relevant published literature on eDNA
• Analysis of eDNA samples using Quantitative PCR and associated molecular techniques
• Data collection and analysis; report writing


  • Must be a Canadian citizen or legally entitled to work in Canada;
  • Must be between the ages of 15 and 30;
  • Must be a full-time student and intending to return to school in fall 2020;
  • Is not a member of immediate family of community partner;
  • Have an aptitude for safe work practices and the ability to multi-task in a busy work environment;
  • Be able to work productively as part of a team while responding to feedback;
  • Be interested in learning new skills and techniques
  • Demonstrated interest in future employment in the environmental or ‘green’ sector is considered an asset;

Working Conditions
A willingness to work outdoors in inclement weather when necessary.

Physical Requirements
Field work can be physically demanding at times.

All applications will be assessed equally; in support of our Indigenous Leadership stream, in some cases, preference will be given to students who self-identify as Indigenous.

To apply for this job email your details to

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