Job Opportunity

Forest Growth and Climate Change Internship

The Forest Global Earth Observatory (ForestGEO) and Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) seek an intern to participate in a collaborative project addressing how productivity of forests worldwide is likely to respond climate change. We will analyze patterns of tree growth and climate sensitivity from ten ForestGEO sites distributed around the globe using tree-ring, dendrometer band, and forest census data. The internship will be based in the ForestGEO Ecosystems & Climate Lab (led by Kristina J. Anderson-Teixeira), which conducts a range of research with the overall goal of understanding the dynamics of forest ecosystems worldwide in an era of global change.

Learning Objectives

The intern will gain experience on tree growth dynamics and will build experience in the following areas:

  •  Characterize tree growth and its climate sensitivity using tree-ring and dendrometer band data. 
  • Build skills in data analysis in R and scientific workflow management in GitHub. 
  • Learn about tree diversity and carbon sequestration of forests worldwide. 
  • Contribute as co-author or potentially lead a scientific publication.
  • Collaborate with a large, diverse team of forest researchers worldwide.
  • Gain exposure to international science and conservation programs through ForestGEO and Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. 


Candidates should be recent (within 3 years) university graduates (bachelor or master’s degree) and have coursework and research experience in ecology, forestry, dendrochronology, botany, conservation biology, or a closely related field. Competence analyzing data in R and experience analyzing tree growth data are essential for this position. Experience with dendrochronology, including cross-dating cores, is strongly preferred. Enthusiasm for scientific research, a strong work ethic, attention to detail, and ability to follow established protocols, work independently and to collaborate effectively as part of an international research team are essential for all applicants.

Term of Appointment

This is a six-month position, extendable contingent upon satisfactory performance and availability of funds, with a start date between February and June 2020 (earlier preferred). The position will be compensated with a stipend sufficient to cover living expenses and commensurate with experience. Housing on the SCBI campus will be available at no cost.


This internship is based at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. The SCBI campus is located at the north end of the Shenandoah National Park about 60 miles west of Washington, D.C., outside of Front Royal, VA.

Application procedure

To apply, please email a 1-page cover letter describing your qualifications, a resume or CV, and contact information for 3 references to Erika Gonzalez-Akre at Deadline for application: January 6, 2020.

The Smithsonian Institution values and seeks diversity in the workplace; female and minority candidates are encouraged to apply.

Job Locations: 
Front Royal, Virginia, USA
Teaser Image: 
SCBI plot