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Volunteer field assistants needed for red-bellied lemur project in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar
Stony Brook University
I am searching for 2-3 reliable, hard-working field assistants to participate in an on-going study examining color vision, foraging behavior, and demography in red-bellied lemurs (Eulemur rubriventer) at multiple sites in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. Ultimate goals of this project are to (1) determine the relationships between light level, foraging behavior, and color vision status in red-bellied lemurs, and (2) maintain long-term demographic data on the population of red-bellied lemurs in Ranomafana.
Position 1: Assistant responsibilities will entail a combination of the following:
- Full-day behavioral observations (12-hour days)
- Recording behavioral data
- Recording light level data using a handheld light meter
- Collecting fecal samples (for genetic analyses)
- Collecting food samples (for color measurements)
- Other responsibilities may include recording GPS coordinates, data entry, and sample preparation
Position 2: Assistant responsibilities will entail a combination of the following:
- Full-day searches for red-bellied lemur groups (12-hour days)
- Recording GPS coordinates
- Recording demographic data for each group
- Taking photographs of individuals in each group (some experience in photography is preferred)
- Other responsibilities may include data entry, fecal sample collection (for genetic analyses), and sample preparation
*Assistants will work approximately 24 days/month.
My field crew and I will train assistants on-site. Assistants should be willing to work as a team and demonstrate ability in leadership positions.
Assistants will not be allowed to collect data for their own theses. However, I do encourage assistants to work with me on co-authoring professional meeting posters and papers based on the data they collect. This position is a great opportunity for someone wishing to gain field experience, as you will learn various field methods relevant to the study of animal behavior and ecology. Please contact me for a more detailed description of the project: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applicants should have a B.S. or B.A. in Biology, Ecology, Anthropology, or other related field. Preference will be given to those with prior experience with animals, camping, and/or working outdoors under difficult conditions. Applicants should have experience living or working in a foreign country, with special preference for developing countries. Knowledge of French is helpful, but not necessary; however, a willingness to learn and use Malagasy is expected. Preference will be given to applicants experienced in collecting systematic data in a scientific context, and a strong interest in primate behavior and ecology a must.
This work will be rigorous and demanding. We will be working at 3-4 sites and rotating sites weekly. While at one site, we will be based out of the Centre ValBio Research Station. The remaining 3 sites are bushcamps that require 1-4 hour hikes to and from the research station. The terrain is difficult (mountainous and steep). There is no electricity or hot water at bushcamps, but both will be accessible at the research station. Leeches and other pests are common, and the climate is often quite cold and rainy. To be comfortable in these conditions, volunteers must be in good physical and mental condition. They must feel comfortable being far away from family and friends and be emotionally mature, energetic, and patient. It is necessary that applicants have good social skills, especially in small groups, and be able to maintain a positive attitude towards challenging and tiring work.
Assistants can expect to pay:
- Round-trip airfare to Madagascar (cost varies)
- Malagasy visa (circa US$120)
- MICET facilitation fee (US$350)
- Travel within Madagascar to and from the research station (cost varies)
- Food in the bushcamps (US$4/day)
- Daily station fees (US$20/day) while at the main research station
*Appx. 14 days/month; includes campsites, hot showers and three hot meals/day
Assistants are also responsible for purchasing and providing proof of international health insurance and immunizations that permit work (anti-malarials and an up-to-date PPD skin test are a MUST; vaccinations against typhoid, rabies, hepatitis, etc., are all also strongly recommended), and their own personal field clothes and camping equipment (e.g., tent, sleeping bag, etc.).
Term of Appointment:
February 2013 (start date is flexible) – May 23, 2013 Commitment for the entire time is required.
January 15, 2013
Serious applicants please contact me at email@example.com to receive a field guide describing the project and the sites in more detail.
If still interested after reading my guide, please email the following:
1. Curriculum Vitae including relevant coursework, previous field/outdoor experience, and how you can be contacted
2. Letter of interest (please include dates you are available)
3. References from at least two persons (preferably professors or research supervisors with whom you’ve worked closely) in which they provide information about your experiences, skills, and training.
Rachel L. Jacobs
IDPAS/Anthropology Department, Stony Brook University, SBS Bldg, 5th Floor
Stony Brook, NY 11794
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