Primate Info Net Banner Wisconsin PRC Logo

Positions Available

PhD Field Assistant for Primate Seed Dispersal Research

Hiring Organization:
Liverpool John Moores University, University of Venda, Primate & Predator Project and Lajuma Research Centre

Date Posted:

Position Description:
Are you interested in primate conservation?
Would you like to learn more about primates? role in ecosystem engineering and seed dispersal in a forest environment?
Would you like to learn research skills and project planning?

Field assistants are sought for a primate seed dispersal project, for a minimum of 8 weeks, with positions available for 3 - 5 months as well
The project aims to investigate seed dispersal effectiveness of three sympatric diurnal primate species, vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops), samango monkeys (Cercopithecus albogularis ssp. schwarzii) and chacma baboons (Papio ursinus), in a montane environment in South Africa.
The role of primates in seed dispersal is well documented, however their role in maintaining forest species composition is less documented. The study site offers a unique place to study the role of South Africa?s 3 diurnal species of primate simultaneously.
The study will be conducted at the Primate & Predator Project, based at the Lajuma Research Centre, located in the Soutpansberg Mountain, in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. This montane environment has a mosaic of habitat types within savannah, woodland and forest vegetation types. Located in the UNESCO Vhembe Biosphere Reserve, Lajuma has been declared a Natural Heritage Site. It has beautiful mountain scenery, a variety of veld types including montane forests and grasslands, clear mountain streams with waterfalls, interesting archaeological sites and a remarkable diversity of plants and animals.

The successful candidates will gain valuable training in experimental design, and learn the skills required in the following research areas: faecal sample collection and processing for seeds; seed identification; conducting seed germination experiments; phenology data on fruit availability; and coding photographic data. Field assistants will be actively involved in primate follows for faecal collection.

No formal qualifications are required for the position, however an interest in ecology, biology, animal behaviour and conservation is preferred.
The language spoken at the research centre is English, however all nationalities are welcome.
Previous field work experience is preferred, but not required. The primates range over rocky, mountainous environments and, as such, applicants should be able to follow them over such terrain.

In general, applicants should be:
- physically fit, emotionally mature, friendly and energetic
- able to work as part of a structured team as well as independently
- comfortable living under basic conditions in close proximity to others
- comfortable being far away from family/friends
- willing to adapt to a foreign culture and a hot/humid climate
- able to maintain a positive attitude towards work.

Currently not available

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
There is currently no funding available. Return airfare from Europe is around ?600 ? ?800, depending on departure country. Lodgings are approximately ?300 per month, including hot showers, internet connection and fortnightly travel to the nearest town for food shopping (not included).

Term of Appointment:
A minimum of 8 weeks commitment is required, although positions are available for 3 ? 5 months as well.

Application Deadline:
Until positions are filled

Applicants should send their CV with a covering letter describing their motivation, research interests and experience. Contact details for 2 referees should also be supplied.

Contact Information:
Simon Stringer, none
South Africa


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