Field assistant, Lomas Barbudal Monkey Project (Capuchins, Costa Rica)
The Lomas Barbudal Capuchin Project has been running for 24.5 years, and (funding permitting) will continue for many years to come. Each year we accept about 6 interns who stay a full year and participate in data collection. The project currently monitors 10 social groups of monkeys. Virtually all monkeys are well habituated, and their genetic relationships are known, as well as social histories dating back several years in most cases. The primary foci of research currently are (a) alliance-formation and bond-testing signals, and (b) life history strategies, but we are shifting to focusing on nutritional ecology and the effects of climate change on behavior and population dynamics.
Application instructions and a detailed guide to working on the project are on the following website:
Please read the detailed guide to working on the monkey project BEFORE applying or contacting the project, as this will answer virtually all questions. Applicants are also strongly encouraged to read the book "Manipulative Monkeys: The Capuchins of Lomas Barbudal," which is a popular science book documenting not only the first 15 years of scientific research, but the life style of researchers working at this site.
There are no absolute criteria, and we try to hire people with a blend of different talents. But some traits that help are good grades (>3.3 GPA), some prior Spanish training, and prior experience studying animal behavior and working in the field. Skills in auto mechanics, construction (for house repairs), computer maintenance and website design would be nice additional perks but are non-essential. The most important trait in a field assistant is strong work ethic and the ability to make a firm commitment for a year. Please do not apply if you are the sort of person who signs contracts and then backs out, as such behavior is highly damaging to the project (as well as to your own reputation). It is also highly desirable for applicants to have done some reading in primatology (not just websites, but journal articles and books, including some from this project) before applying.
None. However, a field manager position (which some salary in addition to room and board) will open in mid-2015, and this position will almost certainly be chosen from this year’s group of interns. Until we hear back about our pending grants, we will not know what level of funding we provide. See below.
provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
Minimally, we can guarantee free housing and some contribution towards food costs. Interns must feed themselves when away on vacation and visa trips. Our best guess at the moment is that field assistants will need to pay ~$800 to cover the costs of their food and sundries during the training period (typically ~ 3 months), and that the project will be able to pay their food costs for the rest of the year, once they are fully trained. (I.e. the quicker the assistant finishes training, the less s/he pays.) However, these cost estimates change over time as grant support changes, so the applicant should inquire about current conditions. Assistants must buy their own medical insurance and plane tickets to the site.
A field site manager will be selected from among the interns, and that person will earn a modest stipend. Please, when you apply, specify the minimum among of financial support you would need in order to be a viable applicant, and state dates of your availability.
Term of Appointment:
Minimum one year. Start dates are flexible, but we need people to start in April-June 2014 and every couple of months thereafter. We consider shorter stays for people who can fund their own way entirely.
Rolling deadlines: Try to apply at least 3 months before desired start date if possible. We will be accepting at least 2 more people between the months of April 2015 and August 2015, and would prefer people who can start sooner rather than later.
These internships are excellent preparation for graduate school. Interns who finish their terms have always received admission to high quality graduate programs (>60 of our past interns have been accepted to graduate school).
Dept. of Anthropology, Box 951553, UCLA
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1553
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