Submitted: 5 July 2017
Department: Psychology
Institution: University of Michigan
Job type: Volunteer
Apply by: 31 August 2017
Application email: [email protected]

ONE field assistant / camp manager needed for the Capuchins at Taboga ([email protected]) Project, a new long-term project in Costa Rica on the behavior, communication, endocrinology, and conservation of wild white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus). All research is conducted at a field station located in the Taboga Forest Reserve in the Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica. Directors of the project are Dr. Thore Bergman, Dr. Jacinta Beehner, Elizabeth Tinsley-Johnson (based at the University of Michigan), and Dr. Marcela Benitez (based at Georgia State University). The successful candidate will be responsible for the following: (1) habituating new study groups and identifying individuals; (2) collecting demographic, reproductive, and ranging (using GPS) data as part of routine monitoring of the study population; (3) help to clear and maintain a network of trails throughout the forest; (4) digitizing and sending ID sheets, group census sheets, and ranging data to the project directors; (5) maintaining camp equipment, and (6) managing personnel (the project currently has one full-time Costa Rican field assistant but will soon be adding 1-2 more).

The [email protected] Project field station is part of a field campus of the Universidad Técnica Nacional of Costa Rica at Taboga. You can read more about the location here: https://www.costaricainfolink.com/es/reserva-forestal-taboga-costa-rica/. We have a 4-bedroom house that sleeps >10 comfortably and has a full kitchen (fridge/freezer, microwave, etc.) and two bathrooms with showers. The house is shared by our Costa Rican assistant(s) and the project managers. There is running water (potable), electricity full-time, and cell phone reception is decent in the house and in the forest. This is a new research project, but the directors have considerable experience running primate field stations (see our other project here: https://sites.lsa.umich.edu/gelada/). This is an exciting opportunity to get involved in the initial stages of a project working with incredibly dynamic monkeys.

Qualified applicants will have a B.S. or B.A in Biology, Zoology, Biological Anthropology, or a related field. Applicants must be fluent in English and be proficient in Spanish which is necessary to communicate with others at the field station. Prior travel and/or field experience in tropical regions is preferred. Good physical fitness is absolutely essential - the terrain is hilly and the temperatures can get quite hot. Good organizational skills and experience with basic database management a must. Experience with leadership also a plus – as you will be working closely with other students and field assistants. Priority will be given to those with more field experience and better Spanish ability.

Salary/funding: This is a volunteer position, so there is no salary. However, round-trip airfare and all living support will be provided for the volunteer (visa expenses, travel, meals, lodging). Additionally, volunteer will be provided with basic accommodations, food, and other basic supplies while at the field site. The volunteer is responsible for any additional expenses incurred while traveling in Costa Rica (during breaks from work). The project will provide emergency travel health insurance, but the volunteer is required to have basic health care coverage and must acquire the necessary vaccinations prior to entry to Costa Rica. The volunteer will need to provide their own field clothing and footwear. We will provide snake gaiters and offer advice about what items are necessary for daily life in a tropical dry forest.

Appointment: Minimum of 6 month (1-year commitment is preferred) available immediately (July 2017). Applicants committing to a 1-year or longer period will receive one round-trip flight to their home country every 6 months.

Deadline: Position will remain open until filled. Earlier applications will receive priority (as will applicants who can commit to one-year and/or speak fluent Spanish). We hope to fill the position before the end of September, 2017.

Application: Please email the following materials to Dr. Thore Bergman at [email protected]: (1) a letter of interest stating how and why this position satisfies your interest and future career goals, explaining your suitability for this project, plus a time frame during which you are available to work (when you are free to travel), (2) a CV or resume detailing relevant experience, (3) a summary of college courses taken and the grades received, to be followed by an official transcript, and (4) contact information for at least two references, preferably at least one academic reference as well as one person who has worked closely with you or who has closely supervised your work. The subject heading of the email message should read: “Application for field research position”.

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