Scientist-in-Residence Fellowship

Photo of 2017 cohort of SML Research Interns and Scientists in Residence
2017 Research Interns and SIRFs

Shoals Scientist-in-Residence Fellowships (SIRF) support early career and postdoctoral scientists for up to three-month residencies at Shoals Marine Laboratory (SML) on Appledore Island, Maine. This program provides financial support for residential research time that can be used for data analysis, manuscript preparation, experimentation, and collaboration, among others. Priority will be given to Fellows engaged in SML-based science. Financial support includes: travel allowance, room and board, an honorarium, and research allowance. Fellows will be given lab/office space.  In addition to research, SIRF fellows are expected to assist with mentoring SML's Undergraduate Research Internship Program. The program also seeks to increase the number of scientists from underrepresented groups; however, all qualified scientists are encouraged to apply.

SML is a seasonal field station operated jointly by Cornell University and the University of New Hampshire. The island campus is located 6 miles offshore in the Isles of Shoals in the Gulf of Maine. SML is the largest marine lab in the U.S. dedicated to undergraduate education and research. SML offers undergraduate students a unique opportunity to study marine science in the field with exceptional faculty from institutions throughout North America. Instruction at SML is based on giving participants a truly "hands-on" educational experience. SML courses and internships provide rigorous training in many marine subjects and prepare students for careers in the fields of marine biology, and environmental science and sustainability. SML's ethos of responsible natural resource use and management, valuing scientific and community collaboration, and public service guides all SML programs.


  • Priority given to 1 postdoc & 1 assistant professor each summer who will conduct field work at SML or use SML data sets (to learn more about available data, please see SML’s website and communicate directly with the contact listed below).
  • Operating season at SML: May 1 - September 1. Minimum commitment for 2019 Fellows: June 3 – August 11.
  • $500 travel allowance to support travel to/from SML for the start & end of the program.
  • Honorarium: $3,000/month
  • Benefits include room & board at SML and use of SML facilities.
  • Up to $1,200 research allowance at SML (to pay for research vessel use, research assistance, or supplies that SML will provide or procure for scientists). Durable goods will become the property of SML. These funds are aimed to support active, on-island research while participating in this program.

Requirements and opportunities:

  • Applications are invited for any field-based natural science investigation in the Isles of Shoals. Marine topics are preferred.
  • Fellows will be based on Appledore Island and expected to reside at SML as their primary residence for a minimum of 4 days/week.
  • Applicants must be legally able to work in the U.S.
  • Research plans must be approved by SML and they must adhere to SML research policies.
  • Fellows are asked to give at least one seminar talk to the island community during their fellowship.
  • Fellows are expected to spend 10 hrs/week mentoring 8-12 undergraduate students in SML’s Research Internship Program. Fellows will serve as the secondary mentors, complimenting the guidance of each student's primary research mentor (aka the Principle Investigators). Fellows will attend weekly internship meetings where they may be called on to provide a lecture or expertise on field research methodology or some other aspect of independent research training. Lecture time will count towards the 10 hr/week commitment. Opportunities exist for fellows to have undergraduates work directly on their own research projects (advanced planning is required and is subject to the availability of funding).
  • Opportunities exist for public outreach and additional income via SML’s Adult & Family Programs in August and September.
  • Fellows will be subject to a pre-employment background check and will be required to complete the University of New Hampshire's Protection of Minors training.

To Apply:

A complete application will be a single PDF file containing, in the order shown:

  1. Cover letter describing your interest and availability, including current employment status and eligibility. If you are a postdoc, please include the name and contact information of your supervisor. Please highlight teaching and/or mentoring experience as well as research accomplishments.
  2. Curriculum vitae, including 3 professional references.
  3. A 1-2 page proposal describing your intended research at SML. Please provide sufficient information regarding facilities needed for your work.

Novel media or formats other than PDF deemed essential to an individual’s application may be submitted.

Only complete applications will be considered.

Send applications by email to Dr. Jennifer Seavey ( using the subject line “Shoals SIRF Application.”

Deadline for applications is 11:59pm on April 20, 2019

Questions? Contact Dr. Jennifer Seavey (

Past Scientists-in-Residence:

Photo of Gemma Clucas Shoals Scientist in Residence Fellow 2018

SIRF 2018: Dr. Gemma Clucas

Gemma Clucas is a molecular ecologist who uses genetic techniques to understand more about threatened marine species. Her Ph.D. research looked at patterns of gene flow and migration in Antarctic and sub-Antarctic penguins, while her postdoc research at the University of New Hampshire has focused on the population structure of Atlantic cod and how to protect the genetic diversity of remaining cod stocks. While at Shoals Marine Lab, Gemma put her genetic skills to a new test: determining the diets of Common and Roseate Terns from the fish DNA contained in the birds’ poop. As a result of the pilot research she conducted during the SIRF fellowship, she will shortly begin a postdoctoral fellowship with the Cornell Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. She will continue to develop these diet monitoring techniques and set-up a seabird fecal DNA diet monitoring network throughout the Gulf of Maine, continuing her collaboration with SML and working with NOAA scientists to use seabird diet data for the sustainable management of forage fish stocks.

Photo of Louise Roberts Shoals Scientist in Residence Fellow 2018

SIRF 2018: Dr. Louise Roberts

Dr. Roberts is an ecologist with an interest in anthropogenic impacts on marine invertebrates. She states that "My research on Appledore island regarded the impacts of seabed vibration upon invertebrates. Many anthropogenic marine activities such as drilling and pile driving produce both acoustic energy and also a vibration within the seabed by direct means (e.g. contact with the substrate) or indirectly (propagation via the water column).” at SML she employed field and laboratory experiments to examine the impacts of vibration on hermit crabs and snails. She presented her findings from the summer at the RARGOM meeting in October 2018. She recalls, “Shoals Marine Lab is a fantastic place to do research. I felt incredibly lucky being able to live there for the summer. I walked just two minutes down to the shore to carry out my work, and I was out in the subtidal everyday observing our study species in its natural habitat. And then, what better than to get out of the water knowing there was a delicious hot meal ready and waiting, and plenty of like-minded people to chat with."