Small Mammal Undergraduate Research in the Forest (SMURF)

The Small Mammal Undergraduate Research in the Forest (SMURF) program is a collaboration between EEB and ENVS graduate students, UCSC and Cal State Monterey Bay undergraduates, the UC Natural Reserve System, and The UCSC Kenneth S. Norris Center for Natural History that monitors long term small mammal population dynamics in the UCSC Forest Ecology Research Plot (FERP), Fort Ord Natural Reserve, and Younger Lagoon Reserve. SMURF undergraduate interns trap small mammals every quarter (including summer) and then use the data to examine environmental and ecological questions.

Description of intern positions:

We offer 2-unit and 5-unit internship. All first-time volunteers must take the 2-unit course, which is an introduction to small mammal surveying and handling, data entry and management, and project organization. After completing the 2-unit course, interns can advance to the 5-unit course for the following quarter. The 5-unit course focuses on designing and conducting a research project, data analysis, scientific writing, and public speaking in addition to the further development of field skills.

 Requirements for all interns:

  • Capable of working outdoors during hot or cold weather
  • Comfortable handling rodents
  • Willingness to be exposed to poison oak and ticks
  • Capable of lifting and carrying ~20lbs of weight
  • Excellent communication and team work skills
  • Must be available to attend trapping sessions during 3 weekends

How to Apply:

Please email Alex Jones (, Joe Miller (, AND Chris Law ( with the following materials:
• Your year, major, GPA, college, resume/CV, and a brief paragraph describing your academic/career goals and what you hope to gain from this experience.