Biodiversity Internship - A first for the centre

Biodiversity Internship - A first for the centre

As we say goodbye to Genny our first ever paid internship staff member she has kindly written an article on how this experience has helped her develop in conservation. 

My six weeks as a staff member (Biodiversity Intern) for the Jersey Biodiversity Centre (JBC) has given me valuable experience closely related to my field of interest and a steppingstone career in island conservation. Thanks to funding towards this role, I was able to closely work with JBC historical records and sightings of Jersey’s unique wildlife such as the Asian hornet. This meant I was able to organise records collected by field experts and volunteers and input this information onto the database. This provides important information that highlight the distribution of such an invasive species which spread across Europe making its way into Jersey in 2016. This can help inform people the location of these nests which in turn notifies experts to mitigate further invasion by safely destroying them. 

One of the main focuses of this intern was working with PondWatch JE. This gave me practical skills in carrying out level 2 surveys at Samares Manor Garden ponds. Level 2 survey included visual, net and torch methods which identify the number of invertebrates and amphibians recorded in each pond during dawn and night. Thanks to the help of friends that took part in some of these surveys it enabled me to train them and explain the importance of amphibian recording, in line with following the health and safety protocol and risk assessments.  

Pondwatch gave me analytical and theoretical skills by collating data on amphibians from the database from the past 60 years and generate this into distribution maps on QGIS to show species presence. Distribution maps had not been created in JBC before, so this information was not only important scientifically but also to present volunteer efforts to a wider audience (general public) by creating infographics for the website. Limitations from these records may suggest more reason to gain more public awareness through setting press release and campaigns for Pondwatch especially for palmate newts, as in former years newts had more gaps in the data than the agile frog and common toad. Not only have I created infographics for Pondwatch but also for most taxa on the database such as reptiles, insects, terrestrial mammals and birds which all include maps of their historical distribution in Jersey. 

I also took part in level 3  Pondwatch training which was a fantastic day gaining classroom and handling experience with toads and newts. This now gives me the confidence to undertake level 3 access and licence to handle amphibians on the island and to collect biological samples which will benefit towards genetic research for eDNA analysis of the island's population.  

I’ve enjoyed working part of a team at JBC however most of the experience was lone working allowing me to use my technical, analytical and practical skills from academic experience to communicate science to a wider audience and using social media as a platform. This experience should hopefully gain more funding towards projects like Pondwatch including more internships and trained JBC staff for future years.  

genny with a toad