University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
College of Biological Sciences

2021 Spring and Summer: LTER Plant Community Ecology Internships

Position Overview
The Cedar Creek LTER (Long Term Ecological Research) program has several opportunities for students to work as plant community ecology interns and a few opportunities for 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, may have the opportunity to initiate individual research, attend scientific seminars, and interact with professors, post-docs, and graduate students (dependent on COVID-19 restrictions). 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.
Starting pay is $12.00 per hour depending on the position.  Typical workdays are eight hours Monday through Friday, however some projects require weekend, early morning, and evening work. Most of the work you do will be out in the field, though a few jobs have indoor laboratory or computer components. Limited housing may be available.
Research Overview
We have three large scale projects and several smaller scale LTER experiments that require most of our intern resources. 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. Other experiments nested within the Big Biodiversity looks at factors such as irrigation and increased temperatures. The third large scale experiment, FAB, is 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.
Independent Project Opportunities
In a typical year, interns have the opportunity to conduct their own research project with the guidance of a graduate student mentor. They go through the entire research experience from writing a proposal to data collection to presenting their results at a symposium at CCESR. COVID-19 restrictions will dictate how much of this program we can provide this summer.
Research site
Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve is an eight square mile tract of land 35 miles north of the Twin Cities. 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.
  • Ability to work outdoors.
  • Effective analytical and communication skills.
  • Strong organizational and time management skills.
  • Must be able to work through August 13th
  • Driver’s license is preferred but not required
Additional qualifications for supervisor postion
  • 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

The deadline for application submission is February 22nd.

  1. Email the materials listed below together in one email to
    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)
  2. Have two references email in recommendation letters to Please have them write your last name in the subject title for the email.

If you have any questions regarding the application process or the internship, please email or call 612-301-2616.

The final application deadline for plant ecology positions is February 22nd, 2021. We will begin looking at early applicants February 8th. We will accept applications after the deadline, but priority will be given to applications turned in before the 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.

Cedar Creek Code of Conduct

All people at Cedar Creek, including all researchers, students, employees, and visitors, are expected to treat each other in a respectful and professional manner.  Read the Code of Conduct.



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Background Check Information
Any offer of employment is contingent upon the successful completion of a background check. Our presumption is that prospective employees are eligible to work here. Criminal convictions do not automatically disqualify finalists from employment.