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ATTENTION: This job expired Jun. 21, 2014 and is no longer linked from the job list. If you are the job poster and would like to renew the listing, please access it through "My Job Listings" (available when logged in only).

Research Assistantship in TROPICAL BOTANY

Hiring Organization:

Date Posted:

Position Description:
This training program targets students with a strong interest in botanical science, plant biology, or forestry.

Program Description: The diet of primates in the Amazon rainforest is a large and difficult area of study. It involves painstaking observation of feeding ecology, followed by the subsequent identification and marking of trees, vines, lianas and shrubs. PrimatesPeru has conducted a long-term monitoring program on a population of tamarins in southeastern Peru for four years. Every tree marked during behavioral follows is tagged by recording its spatial location via a GPS. The identification of each tree and thus, the species that was consumed by the animals, is now ongoing.

This is a challenging task, but one that is extremely rewarding when done right. At this time, after 4 years of fieldwork and nearly 2000 hours of observation, we have ~ 1000 trees with corresponding spatial information, tagged at the Los Amigos Biological Field Station. Several of these have been identified over time, and a comprehensive database of botanical information is being constructed that will serve as a permanent resource for all scientists at the station. As such, we are recruiting students with some background or strong interest in Neotropical botany, and need to gain field experience, to assist our research program.

At the end of the program, research assistants will be able to:
• Navigate off-trail to locate tagged trees using a handheld GPS devices
• Collect morphometric data and leaf/fruit samples from tagged plants
• Catalogue each feeding tree through detailed photographs of specific plant features
• Categorize the leaf patterns, sap color, and fruit characteristics of each plant, based on plant guides
• Input these data into a feeding ecology database
• Assist with identifying each tree based on these data, and if no id is available, collect data of the highest quality that experts may be consulted at a later time

We are currently recruiting participants with the following requirements. If you are uncertain if you are eligible, contact us at to confirm.
• Participants must be at least 18 years of age by the time the training program begins.
• Participants must demonstrate a grounding AND strong interest in plant biology and taxonomy.
• Previous field experience is not required, but previous botanical experience is a plus.
• Participants must justify why this program is important to them, and what they hope to gain from it.
• Participants must provide a letter of recommendation from a source that can substantiate the participant’s experience and skills.
• Participants must be unafraid of insects, reptiles and the jungle in general.
• Participants must be in good physical condition, with the capability to walk 4 miles a day or at least 2 miles carrying a 30 lb load.
• Participants will not be discriminated against for medical conditions they might have, if we determine that being on this project will not pose an immediate risk to their health.
• Participants must sign waivers of liability for this project and for the field station before their participation in the project is finalized.
• Participants must be willing to maintain long hours in the field, but also return to complete data entry in the evenings.
• Due to the nature of the work and weather constraints, participants MUST be willing to be flexible about their days off. Our time in the jungle is valuable, and participants can expect that time off will come in the form of half days and some full days (rarely).
• This work does not require extremely early days, but it compensates in toughness by requiring long walks and extra laboratory time cataloguing and photographing plant samples.

COST: $1500. Longer stays are welcome and are prorated at $375 per week.

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
The program fee for all programs cover the following:
-Transportation to and from the field station once per participant
-Lodging and meals at the field station
-Training and activities related to the program provided by experienced instructors
-Access to the internet while at the field station, although it is slow and dependent on the weather

The course fee does not cover the following:
-Travel from your home to Puerto Maldonado in Perú
-Medical insurance, which is a requirement for the program
-Food and stay in Puerto Maldonado (available for cheap)
-Costs related to exigent circumstances under which a participant requires an early departure from the field station
-Medical costs of any kind
-Binoculars – each participant must bring their own pair of binoculars
-Field boots, headlamp/flashlight and other personal effects required for the program

Term of Appointment:
June 10 – August 31, 2014 (Minimum commitment 4 weeks)

Application Deadline:
May 10, 2014 (Rolling deadlines)

More information is available on travel requirements ( and the Los Amigos Field Station ( where the program will take place.

Please see our website ( for all payment and cancellation policies, as well as other research opportunities with PrimatesPeru.
Contact for further information if needed.

Contact Information:
Mrinalini Erkenswick Watsa


E-mail Address:

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