Ecological Pest Management Lab Assistant

Website Community Alliance with Family Farmers

The Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) is looking for an intern to join our Ecological Pest Management team to support applied research looking at the effectiveness of biological pest management practices such as natural enemy releases on farms. This is a great opportunity for students interested in getting involved in applied research in entomology, sustainable agriculture, and IPM. CAFF is interested in this internship being for credit.

CAFF is a California-based non-profit that works to build more sustainable food and farming systems through on-the-ground programs that result in healthier farms, communities and ecosystems. CAFF’s core programs are Policy and Organizing, Food Safety, Small Farm Tech Hub, Wildfire Resilience, Farm to Market and Ecological Farming, which includes our Ecological Pest Management (EPM) Program.

Our EPM program is in year three of carrying out on-farm research in wine grapes and walnuts in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys. One of the key practices we are researching is releasing predatory mites and applying predator food and attractants in order to build up populations of beneficial insects and manage spider mites (an important agricultural pest). The Ecological Pest Management Lab Assistant Intern would play an important role in this research through preparing and slide mounting mites for identification. The intern will also do some basic identification of arthropods found on sticky cards and data entry. Depending on availability and interest, there is potential for the intern to participate in field work, attend extension events for the project, and work on composing drawers of common natural enemies and pests for farmer outreach and education. This internship will be located at the Bohart Museum at UC Davis with an option for additional workspace at CAFF’s main office located in Davis, CA. Training for all activities will be provided.

Main Activities

  • Preparing and slide mounting mite specimen and communicating with team about the progress of this
  • Work with EPM staff to process sticky card samples and properly mount slides for analysis and identification
  • Work with EPM staff to support with field work at farms in the Sacramento Valley
  • Data input and organization
  • Storage management of research samples
  • Preparing shipments of processed samples

Education and Experience

  • Experience carrying out lab work
  • Experience carrying out research protocols preferred
  • Experience in data collection and input preferred
  • Course work in agriculture and/ or entomology preferred
  • Experience with microscopy
  • Strong communication skills
  • Detail-oriented
  • Ability to work independently, with minimal supervision, as well as in a team setting
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word and Excel; proficiency in Google Suite

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