Primate Info Net Banner Wisconsin PRC Logo

Positions Available

MSc student/ field assistant: common marmoset communication - Caatinga, Brazil

Hiring Organization:
Leiden University

Date Posted:

Position Description:
Which roles did socio-ecological factors play during the evolution of human language? Which syntactic abilities are present in cooperatively breeding primates? Non-human primates are capable of combining calls into sequences but we don?t know yet if this also results in combing call meanings. As marmosets and tamarins live in cooperatively breeding social systems, probably similar to ancestral humans, their communicative abilities are of prime interest. To investigate these questions this project will examine the complexity of call combinations and their related contexts and potential functions in free-living common marmosets, a New World monkey species.

Work in the field will consist of focal individual observations recorded on audio and video, supplemented by opportunistic recordings, as well as pilot experiments. For another project on potential within-call variation linked to hormones we will also collect faecal samples. Working hours are mainly in the morning (starting early) and afternoon, with time for a break and computer work at midday.

I am looking for someone to assist me in the field and to carry out part of the field work by him/herself under my supervision. This could either be a MSc student who would like to use this opportunity for an internship (including the preparation of a thesis) or a field assistant.

? Motivated MSc student with an interest in vocal communication, primate behavior or syntax studies
? For an assistant: at least a BSc in a relevant field, ideally also a MSc or previous field experience with habituated animals
? Willingness to work in a semi-arid climate under field conditions and to adjust to a different culture and lifestyle
? Fluent in English, German or Dutch, ideally some basic understanding of Portuguese

As I am a PhD student and have limited funds, I cannot offer a proper salary. However, I am happy to assist in applying for a student travel grant! I might be able to pay a small salary for a field assistant based on the rate of undergraduate research assistants in Brazil.

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
Unfortunately, I cannot cover travel costs to Brazil. Travel from Recife to the fieldsite and back might be covered depending on the travel dates. I'm happy to help with applications for travel grants though! Lodging will be provided without any costs (incl gas/water/electricity/limited internet), meals will be self-cooked, grocery shopping costs will be shared.

Term of Appointment:
Fieldwork: October 2017 - January 2018 (4 months), for a MSc project: project start September 2017 (6-7 months in total)

To apply for the position, please send me a CV and a cover letter explaining if you're applying for a student or assistant position, your research interests and previous relevant experience. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask!

Contact Information:
Meike Zemihn


E-mail Address:

Questions and Comments

Questions about a specific job listing should be directed to the contact person listed for that job. Questions and comments about using the Primate-Jobs web site can be directed to Joe Kemnitz at