Back to top

The Department of Natural Resources, in conjunction with the Arnot Teaching and Research Forest (the Arnot) and the Cornell Biological Field Station (CBFS), will offer 10-week undergraduate research internships during the summer field season. This program offers exciting opportunities for students to collaborate on research with mentor scientists conducting ecological investigations in a wide variety of ecosystems.

A Setting for Excellence

You will live and work with other interns at either the Arnot or CBFS. The Arnot is unique as a 4200+ acre working forested landscape near Ithaca that is dedicated to the department and university mission of teaching, research, and extension. Through research and extension, Arnot interns contribute to the improved management of forest-based natural resources in the Northeast.

The CBFS is a highly interactive, research-oriented environment.  Interns will exchange ideas with each other, staff scientists, and Cornell campus faculty.  The Cornell Biological Field Station is a well-equipped facility located on the south shore of Oneida Lake, NY.  The Station is located 12 miles northeast of Syracuse, and is only a 20-minute commute to shopping centers, Hancock International Airport, and the Amtrak train station.  The Field Station is recognized both nationally and internationally for its research accomplishments in basic and applied ecology.

The Programs

The objective of both programs is to provide students with hands-on experience in research and/or extension, including hypothesis formation, experimental design, data collection, and interpretation and presentation of results.  Weekly seminars will explore current topics in ecology and the environment, and interns will have the opportunity to interact with guest speakers.  


Each intern will be selected in program areas matching their interests and will be expected to: 

  1. work collaboratively with a selected mentor on an on-going research project;
  2. participate in discussions and weekly seminars; and
  3. enroll for research credit in the fall semester to prepare an oral presentation for a formal intern symposium and a final paper for inclusion in a department publication.  A webinar may also be required.

Recent intern projects have included

  • The Population Assessment of Round Gobies (N. Melanostomus) in Oneida Lake 
  • The interspecies behavioral  differences of Zebra and Quagga mussels
  • Investigation of the Presence and Role of Poly-phosphate Accumulating Microorganism in Phosphorus Cycle and Utilization in Lake Sediment
  • Oneida Lake Nutrient Limnology
  • Parasitic and Benthic Copepods of Oneida Lake 
  • Common Tern Management and Sleep Ecology
  • Walleye and yellow perch biology in Oneida Lake
  • Assessing Vegetation Impacts from Deer (AVID): a Rapid Assessment Protocol for Monitoring Deer Impacts to Forest Vegetation
  • Using Woody Material to Buffer Climate Effects and Retain Options for Forest Management
  • Use of hydroacoustics in fisheries assessment
  • Forest management effects on greenhouse gases
  • Effects of invasive species on aquatic ecosystems (plants, mussels, invertebrates, fish)
  • Influence of logging debris on herps and seedlings 
  • Fish-eating and colonial water birds
  • Hydrology of streams and groundwater
  • Soil and management effects on sugar maples
  • Invasive plants
  • Predator-prey interactions on Lake Champlain
  • Ecology of Lake Ontario
  • Grassland bird habitat enhancement
  • Benthic invertebrates in Finger Lakes
  • Oneida Lake Education Initiative


The program is open to all undergraduate students regardless of institution, but preference will be given to Cornell students when project funding is limited.  Some positions will require a current valid driver's license.  Cornell interns are expected to enroll in three credit hours of independent studies in the fall semester to complete their summer research/extension project and a final paper, and participate in the undergraduate research symposium.

TO APPLY: E-mail questions on the CBFS program to either Dr. Lars Rudstam ( or Dr. Randy Jackson (, or by phone, 315-633-9243. Questions on the  Arnot program can be directed to Dr. Peter Smallidge ( or by phone at 607-592-3640.  Questions on the colonial waterbirds project should be directed to Dr. Paul Curtis,  

An application for all programs can be completed and submitted online, including resume and three references. Questions on the application can be directed to Michelle Holeck - Undergraduate freshman, sophomores, and juniors are eligible to apply.

The application for the 2022 summer internship program will open in December 2021.  Please check back then.