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Volunteer Field Assistant - Barbary Macaque Project, Morocco
University of Lincoln
We are looking for keen and motivated research assistants to continue work on an ongoing project examining the role that forest ecology (e.g. tree phenology and food abundance) and human activity play on the behaviour (e.g. feeding ecology and ranging patterns) and conservation of the Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus) in the Middle Atlas Mountains of Morocco. The project is part of a longitudinal study on the socio-ecology of the Barbary macaque started in January 2007 (for more information about the field site and work in Morocco, please visit our website/blog: http://barbarymacaque.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk).
The field site is in the beautiful cedar and oak forest of the Atlas Mountains and it is close to the Moroccan imperial cities of Fez and Meknes. Work at the field site is physically and mentally demanding; it is between 1,400 and 2,000 m above sea level and weather conditions can vary dramatically across the year, with temperatures ranging between a current 35ºC, and -5ºC in the winter months. Hence, applicants should be physically fit and ready for long, sometimes challenging days; just as important however is the possession of a mental toughness that will allow you to work with a (reasonably!) cheerful disposition even when tired. Applicants should be enthusiastic, hardworking and a flexible team member, with the ability to work independently to a high standard and be competent working unsupervised.
This really is a key requirement for the positions, both in the field and in the apartment where we live; we share our working and personal space with the same small group of people and it is essential that applicants can behave maturely and reasonably, living in relative harmony with others, even if tired, homesick, ‘not used it’ etc. The rewards, both in terms of the career experience gained and the daily experience of working in the forest with the monkeys, are certainly worth the effort!
The successful applicants will live in the town of Azrou in an apartment block with basic amenities including wireless internet access and hot water. The accommodation will be shared with various international researchers and assistants from different universities and projects, making a total of 5/6 people in the apartment (sharing rooms with one other person) and we share all cooking and cleaning duties. These positions would be particularly suited for individuals who wish to expand their field experience, immerse themselves in a wide-ranging project, and are looking to pursue careers in this field; if these are not your primary goals then you may not be happy here.
The main responsibilities include (but are not limited to):
1) Collection of behavioural data (e.g. activity budgets, ranging patterns) on the monkeys.
2) Collection of ecological data (e.g. climate, tree phenology and growth) on the forest used by the macaques
Previous field experience (though not necessarily with primates) is essential.
• Have a background and strong interest in conservation biology, ecology, primatology or related fields.
• Have a sound knowledge of ecological (e.g. transect and quadrat methods) and behavioural (e.g. scan and focal sampling techniques) data collection methods.
• Be prepared for long days in the field in a challenging environment.
• Be open-minded and independent, prepared to adapt to living in a foreign culture, and able to work as part of a team.
• Being able to speak French/Arabic would be an advantage; being able to speak English is essential.
• A valid driving license would be useful, but is not essential
This is an unsalaried post, and in order to help cover the basic living costs involved with the project applicants will be required to contribute £170/200EU/$175 per month. This will go towards rent, internet and utility bills etc., and should be sufficient to cover collective food costs also (which we generally share as we cook on a rota system).
provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
The research assistant will be responsible for their own flight costs and health insurance, however I can collect applicants from Fes airport if required upon arrival.
Term of Appointment:
We hope to fill these positions as soon as possible, so early availability is a bonus when applying. In addition, given the time required to familiarise applicants with individual monkeys, and the time required to ensure scan/focal agreement between observers, we would ask that applicants can commit for no less than 6 months. We require applicants to begin as soon as possible (Jan/Feb 2014).
Review of applicants will begin immediately and will continue until the positions are filled.
57 Farah 2
Azrou, none 53100
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