University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
College of Biological Sciences

2018 Summer Jobs: Plant Community Ecology Internship


The Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve of the University of Minnesota has opportunities for students to work as plant community ecology interns and as research field supervisors. Most positions run from June through August, but some interns are needed as early as March and some are needed through October. Your educational institution may be able to approve this internship, with an appropriate independent project, for any field biology requirement of your major.  As a research intern, you will contribute to ongoing field experiments, have the opportunity to initiate individual research, attend scientific seminars, and interact with professors, post-docs, and graduate students. If you are an undergraduate or a newly graduated student with a background or interest in biology, ecology, environmental science, botany, environmental education, or related field we encourage you to apply.

We have three large scale projects, along with several smaller scale experiments, that require most of our intern resources throughout the summer. BioCON is one of the large scale experiments where we explore the ways in which plant communities respond to environmental changes such as increased nitrogen deposition, increased atmospheric CO2, decreased biodiversity, altered precipitation patterns, and increased temperatures. Another large scale project is the Big Biodiversity experiment that studies how plant diversity affects the rates, dynamics, and stability of ecological processes at the population, community, and ecosystem levels. There are multiple experiments nested within the Big Biodiversity experiment as well, looking at factors such as irrigation and increased temperatures. The third large scale experiment, FAB, will be looking at tree competition under different diversity levels. This experiment includes approximately 40,000 trees within a 30 acre field that will run for over 100 years. Throughout the summer we maintain and sample these experiments.

The Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve itself is a nine square mile tract of land 35 miles north of the Twin Cities. Because of its fortunate location in mid-continent at the triple meeting point of three great biomes of North America, it carries much of the continent's biological heritage. Cedar Creek is endowed with a diverse mosaic of prairie, savanna, sedge meadows, bogs, open water, forests, and even abandoned agricultural fields. Its large size, great natural diversity, and uniform soil substrate make it ideal for ecosystem studies. 

Starting pay is $11.00 per hour depending on the position.  Typical work days are eight hours Monday through Friday, however some projects require weekend, early morning, and evening work. On-site dormitory housing is available to rent. Most of the work you do will be out in the field, though a few jobs have indoor laboratory or computer components.


  • Ability to work outdoors.
  • Effective analytical and communication skills.
  • Strong organizational and time management skills.

Additional qualifications for supervisor position:

  • Strongly considering graduate school in an environmental field.
  • Has completed at least Junior year in college.
  • At least one lab or field internship experience outside of classroom activities.

If you want to be considered for the field research supervisor position as well as the internship please indicate as such on the application form.

To apply, please email the materials listed below together in one email by February 26th, 2018.  All materials should be emailed to If you have any questions regarding the application process or the internship please email the above address or call 612-301-2616.

  1. A completed application form (download here)
  2. A resume (maximum of two pages)
  3. A cover letter stating why this internship will benefit you
  4. A transcript (unofficial is acceptable)
  5. Two letters of recommendation, emailed separately by your references.  Please have them write your last name in the subject title for the email.

The deadline for application submission is February 26th. We will accept applications after the deadline, but priority will be given to applications completed before February 26th. We encourage you to complete the application process earlier as we may be hiring some interns before the application deadline.

You will be considered for this internship if (a) you are a US citizen or (b) a foreign citizen attending a US college or university full-time.