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Field assistants for PhD project on white-faced capuchins in Costa Rica
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
I am looking for 2 field assistants to help with data collection for my PhD project on the foraging ecology of white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus) at La Suerte Biological Field Station in Costa Rica from mid-January 2013 to mid-January 2014. Both positions would entail a) collecting behavioral data on social interactions and foraging; b) collecting fecal samples from focal individuals (for later molecular analysis); c) collecting and processing samples of foods eaten by the monkeys; and d) collecting detailed ecological data.
La Suerte is in northeastern Costa Rica (~20km inland from Tortuguero National Park) and is a very wet lowland forest with no real dry season. There are three species of monkeys at the site (Geoffroy’s spider monkey and mantled howler monkeys in addition to white-faced capuchins). Applicants should have above average physical fitness, as capuchins can be quite speedy. Field assistants will be expected to work 6 days/week, though not all of those days will be spent following the monkeys. Days spent following monkeys will require leaving the house by 4:45am to make it to the monkeys’ sleeping site before they wake up and then following the monkeys until dusk (~5:30pm). Days spent doing ecological data collection or sample processing will be shorter (~6-8 hours).
Living accommodations will be in a house with electricity, running hot water, and flush toilets. There is a phone onsite for incoming calls and satellite internet in the small town of Primavera, a 15 minute walk. The larger town of Cariari is an hour away by bus and has high speed internet (along with most anything else you could want). La Suerte also runs a field school, so there are varying numbers of people at the station throughout the year. While we are the only ones on site, you would have your own room and we would cook our own meals. When there are students at the station (mostly June-August, and mid-December to mid-January), you will likely have to share a room, but meals would be cooked by the staff.
More information on the field site can be found here: http://www.maderasrfc.org/Maderas_Rainforest_Conservancy/La_Suerte_B.F.S..html.
All applicants must have:
1. A B.S. or B.A. in Biology, Zoology, Anthropology, Psychology or a related field.
2. Experience working on a research project (preferably experience working on a field project or collecting behavioral data).
3. Experience traveling or living abroad, or living in remote areas.
4. Fluency in English, knowledge of Spanish or a willingness to learn (La Suerte is not in an area of Costa Rica frequented by tourists, so English-speakers are rare).
5. The ability to work as part of a team and independently, as well as live in close proximity with a small number of people for an extended period of time.
Fieldwork tends to be hard and frustrating, but also very rewarding. You will be spending long hours in a hot, humid rainforest covered in mosquitoes and mud, lose the monkeys, miss home, and long for food that is not rice and beans. A good sense of humor, patience, flexibility, a love of being outdoors and passion for research is essential.
No salary will be provided.
provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
Living costs will be partially supported. Food costs will be covered for the duration of the project. Transportation to/from San Jose at the beginning/end of the project will be provided. Successful applicants will be expected to cover half of their field station fees ($50/week). Assistants are responsible for airfare to/from Costa Rica, visa costs, vaccinations, travel insurance, malaria prophylaxis, travel/food/lodging costs while on vacation, and all personal gear.
Additional support may be available, depending on the results of grant applications.
Term of Appointment:
A minimum 6-month commitment is required, 12-month commitment preferred. Field assistants will have 1 week off every 3 months (to travel, have family visit, renew your visa, etc).
Deadline for submission is November 1st. Please submit a letter of interest (detailing your interest in the position, how it relates to your career goals, your qualifications for the position, and your availability), CV, and contact information for at least one reference to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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