Undergraduate internship: Tropical tree surveys in Polynesia (May-Jun 2014); application deadline: 20 Mar 2014

Applications are invited for internships to assist A/P Edward Webb with tropical tree surveys on the remote Polynesian island of Ta’u, American Samoa. Interns will participate in quantitative censuses of trees and saplings in long-term monitoring plots on the island of Ta’u during the months of May-June 2014.

This is part of a long-term forest monitoring project that began in 2004. The work will consist of basic forestry inventory activities. Publications describing the methods and some outputs of this project are listed are:

  • Webb, E.L., van de Bult, M., Fa’aumu, S., Webb, R.C., Tualaulelei, A. & Carrasco, L. R. 2014. Factors affecting tropical tree damage and survival after catastrophic wind damage. Biotropica, doi: 10.1111/btp.12067.
  • Webb, E.L., Bult, M. van de, Chutipong, W., and Kabir, Md. E. 2006. Composition and structure of lowland rainforest tree communities on Ta’u, American Samoa. Pacific Science 60(3): 333-354.

Interns will receive training and the work will be closely supervised by A/P Webb or senior field staff.



  • Basic expenses including travel, accommodation and meals will be covered.
  • Internships do not carry a salary.
  • Health coverage that includes emergency evacuation is required and the responsibility of the intern.
  • The length of the field work will be a minimum of 4 weeks, and possibly 7-10 weeks in total. Short-listed candidates will discuss scheduling at a later date.

Please read the following list carefully. To be considered for an internship you must have the following qualities:

  1. A life Sciences-EB student or a BES student with an EB specialization.
  2. You must have finished your 3rd or 4th year by May.
  3. True enthusiasm for ecological field research – you must be willing and able to work long hours as part of a team, in a remote and challenging tropical forest field setting. Accommodations will be basic but clean. Phone service and internet may be intermittent.
  4. Excellent physical condition – daily hikes to survey plots range from 45-90 minutes each way, on moderate to advanced trails.
  5. Experience with international travel and outdoor activities, especially hiking/trekking.
  6. A high degree of flexibility, patience, and an ability to “go with the flow”.
  7. Previous experience with field botany or field ecology is not necessary, but you must be willing and interested to learn field identification of trees.

If you are interested, please first read the publications listed above. Also, get an overview of Ta’u island and American Samoa; start with Wikipedia.

To apply for an internship

  • Email Dr. Webb (ted.webb@nus.edu.sg)
  • Confirm whether and how you meet the criteria above.
  • Provide specifics as much as possible.
  • Emails should not be overly long.
  • Provide 1-2 names of people who could serve as a reference for you.

The application deadline is 20 March 2014.

From: Edward Webb, APE Lab.

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