San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research
Job Code
Average Hours per Week
Employment Status
Without Benefits



Job Description:


It all began with a ROAR over 100 years ago!

San Diego Zoo Global is a conservation organization dedicated to the science of saving endangered species worldwide. San Diego Zoo Global operates three world-class facilities: the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. Our organization’s vision - we will lead the fight against extinction. 

Help us to make a difference for wildlife and begin your adventure with a career at the San Diego Zoo Institute For Conservation Research. Join the dedicated crew who are passionate about what they do and strive to End Extinction!  Share your knowledge, skills and commitment and be a part of the ROAR with San Diego Zoo Global! 

Passion for Wildlife to Work?  

Location: Spring Fellowship 2018 - San Diego Zoo Institute For Conservation Research

Duration: Spring 2018 (12 weeks) - see specific dates below

Positions available - 1

Attire - The Society has a very conservative grooming policy.  Tattoos may not be visible or must be appropriately covered while on duty. Jewelry may be worn if it does not detract from a well-groomed look or create a safety hazard. No facial or tongue piercing.

Amenities  - Located 30 minutes north of the San Diego Zoo in San Pasqual Valley near Escondido, California, this adventure offers ZOO Perks which include discounts on food/premium products, free and discounted admission to local attractions. The San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research is the largest zoo-based multi-disciplinary research effort in the world. Based at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for Conservation Research adjacent to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, more than 200 dedicated scientists carry out research vital to the conservation of animals, plants, and habitats, locally and internationally.

Requirements Include:

**Students need to be officially associated with a university in order to be eligible for our undergraduate fellowship program. Undergraduates who are currently enrolled in college meet this criterion, as do graduating seniors who are continuing their education in the Fall of the same year. Recent graduates who are not continuing their education in the Fall of the same year are not eligible for the program.** 
The Spring Fellowship is supported by a stipend. Spring Fellows are not employees of San Diego Zoo Global.  Applicants must have unrestricted authorization to work in the U.S.; ZSSD will not provide sponsorship for authorization to work in the U.S. 

PLANT CONSERVATION: The Plant Conservation team has an educational opportunity for a Spring Fellow to gain experience in molecular laboratory techniques and computational analysis of genomic data to aid the conservation of the Torrey pine. Wild populations of Torrey pine are endangered due to threats of climate change, bark beetles, and low genetic diversity. Staff mentors will help the fellow develop, implement, and analyze data for an independent project. The project will culminate in a final report, poster, and/or short oral presentation at the Institute for Conservation Research, allowing the fellow an opportunity to practice written and oral communication, an important skill in scientific research.  The research findings may also contribute to publications that will be available to the broad scientific and conservation community.  The fellowship will also provide opportunities to assist the Plant Conservation team with ongoing plant conservation projects. For example, the fellow may help collect seeds from rare plant species in the field and process seeds for long-term storage at the Native Plant Seed Bank.  Our seed bank houses nearly 400 taxa, conserving their genetic diversity for future restoration efforts.  In addition to the focused independent project, the spring fellow will experience a broad range of research techniques in applied plant conservation, thereby advancing professional development and opening career paths in conservation.  San Diego summers are hot and dry, and applying fellows need to be prepared to conduct field work under such conditions.

Spring Fellows must be available for 12 consecutive weeks, preferably April 2, 2018 – June 29, 2018. Start and end dates are somewhat flexible.

Representative Duties/Responsibilities

  • Contributes to research on genome-wide diversity and adaptive potential of Torrey pines by developing and running a portion of the genomic analysis pipeline.  Analyses will involve the use of various bioinformatics programs and statistical tools and will depend on the needs of the project and interests of the fellow.
  • Conducts literature searches as needed to direct genomic analyses.
  • Conducts molecular laboratory work including extraction and quantification of nucleic acids and preparation of chemical solutions.
  • Optimizes/troubleshoots laboratory protocols as needed.
  • Maintains detailed records of analyses and laboratory work.
  • Synthesizes results into a short presentation, poster, and/or final report to be shared with the Plant Conservation division and the Institute for Conservation Research.


Ancillary Functions:

  • May contribute to field collections of Torrey pine tissues at the state reserve or help coordinate receipt of tissue samples from outside institutions.
  • May participate in other Plant Conservation division activities, such as seed banking, germination trials, greenhouse planting activities, or providing content for partner websites.
  • Performs related duties and responsibilities as required.



  • Coursework in biology, ecology, genetics, and/or bioinformatics or related field.
  • Current affiliation with a college or university with a degree in progress, OR a recent graduate (degree conferred December 2017) with plans to continue education.
  • Preference for a candidate with programming/bioinformatics experience and/or molecular laboratory experience. 
  • Familiarity with UNIX operating system or R programming language a plus.
  • Experience interpreting and synthesizing the scientific literature.
  • Great attention to detail.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.

Abilities required: Qualified applicants must be able to safely lift and carry up to 40 lbs, hike off-trail on steep terrain for extended periods, and endure exposure to the elements: heat, cold, rain, insects, etc. that are all a routine part of the position.  Laboratory work may include working with hazardous chemicals or biohazardous materials.

Pay Rate: These opportunities are paid via stipend. You are required to work 480 hours during your Fellowship. Your stipend will be $6,000. You will receive the first half of your stipend at the end of the 2nd week of Fellowship. You will receive the second half at the end of the sixth week of your Fellowship. 

San Diego Zoo Global agrees that it will report to federal, state and local government agencies, as required by law, that it has paid the Spring Fellow a stipend to offset student Spring Fellow expenses. Spring Fellow understands that the Zoo will not withhold income taxes from the stipend paid. Spring Fellow understands that he/she will be responsible for paying 100% of all applicable income taxes. Spring Fellow will receive a 1099 form at the beginning of 2019 for their 2018 tax reporting purposes.
Availability - Must be available Monday - Friday, for approximately 40 hours per week. Some weekends and holidays may be required.
Transportation:  It is REQUIRED that the Spring Fellow has his/her own personal form of transportation while here. **Please note that bicycles are not a safe form of transportation due to high speed of vehicles and incline of roads. Access via public transportation is extremely limited and there is no public transportation on the weekends.
The MISSION of San Diego Zoo Institute For Conservation Research is that “we generate, share, and apply scientific knowledge vital to the conservation of animals, plants, and habitats. We help shape the vision of the San Diego Zoo Global and lead in fulfilling its conservation mission."
Expectations for the Spring Fellow includes participation in orientation, attendance at specific events, completion of a learning checklist which includes information specific to the business of San Diego Zoo Global, as well as a final report, poster, and/or short oral presentation at the end of the fellowship. We strive to give a well-rounded experience during this Fellowship. This Spring experience will not be limited to the research/conservation aspect of our organization, but will help you to gain additional insight and appreciation for the Educational and Recreational components as well.
Required attendance includes:
* San Diego Zoo Global orientation as well as specific Institute orientation. This will take place during the first week of your Spring fellowship.

Completion and passing score of on-line pre-requisite courses through My Academy will be noted in the posting if coursework is required. Human Resources will work with your division to schedule this training as part of the on-boarding program within the first week of your Fellowship.

* Seminar Series - These are offered weekly within the Institute for Conservation Research throughout the Spring and include a variety of topics based on staff research.

* Completion of learning checklist
* Written, poster and/or oral Presentation of research project:

When applying on-lineinclude with your resume a letter of intent. Please note that the letter of intent should be copy-and-pasted in the same area as the copy-and-pasted resume.

One (1) letter of recommendation is recommended and shall be sent directly to:
The Institute for Conservation Research 
ATTN: Joyce Maschinski 
15600 San Pasqual Valley Rd, Escondido CA 92027-7000 
Emailed to 

For additional information, please visit the following link: 

(POST 1/18/2018)

Deadline to submit application

Applications must be submitted online by 9:30pm Pacific Standard Time

**San Diego Zoo Global is a smoke-free workplace**


Job Requirements: