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Field assistant for gelada research project in Ethiopia
University of Michigan (Gelada Research Project)
I am looking for a voluntary assistant to help me run field-based experiments and collect behavioral data on gelada monkeys (Theropithecus gelada). I am conducting postdoctoral research for the University of Michigan, working in the Simien Mountains National Park in Ethiopia. My research is focused on the cognition and communication of the gelada, a very vocal and social primate endemic to the highlands of Ethiopia. The work is stimulating and varied, ranging from focal data collection and group counts to vocalization recordings and playback experiments. You will be expected to take part in all aspects of this research, spending 4 – 7 hours in the field every day, and helping out with data management at the research station. Although you will have exciting challenges such as hiking around 10 000 feet above sea level and having to identify 150 individual monkeys, work can also become repetitive and lonely – you will need to be prepared for that.
The geladas are fast-moving terrestrial primates that feed on grass in the Ethiopian highlands. They occur in large bands of up to 700 members and we focus on about 17 harems living in the Simien Mountains National Park. The field site, just outside the small town of Debark, is very remote and we rely on solar power for electricity and a small spring for water. We live close to a village of only 15 people, but are within shouting distance of hundreds of geladas. You can read more about the living conditions and experience of being out in the field at http://www.nature.com/naturejobs/authors/le_Roux_Aliza_2008.html.
The ideal candidate will be a highly self-motivated individual able to work under unusually demanding conditions – you will be pushing yourself both physically and mentally on a daily basis. Experience in fieldwork and/or living in a developing country is vital, and you need to have a first degree in Anthropology, Zoology, or another relevant field.
As we are living in a remote area, you must be able to function without much social stimulation, while at the same time knowing how to interact with people that do not share a common language with you. In general, an enthusiastic spirit and the desire to learn more will go a very long way.
The assistant is responsible for costs incurred in traveling to & from Ethiopia, including visa fees. While in Ethiopia, I will cover board and lodging expenses.
Term of Appointment:
August 14 - December 14, 2009, with possibility of extension
July 20, 2009
Aliza le Roux
530 Church St
Ann Arbor 48104
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