Primate Info Net Banner Wisconsin PRC Logo

Positions Available

Research Assistantship: Primate Sensory Ecology

Hiring Organization:
Field Projects International

Date Posted:

Position Description:
Primates are often heralded as a group of mammals that rely more on their vision than their olfactory senses. Tamarins are a particularly unique subset in which to examine the role of vision because they display a sex-biased variation in trichromatic, or colour, vision. In this project, we use feeding experiments to test the reliance of tamarins on vision, olfaction, and taste in the wild. We also explore sensory ecology concerning a variety of stimuli, such as familiar/unfamiliar alarm calls, urine, or scent-gland compounds. Participants will learn how to conduct the experiments, record behavioural data, and perform fundamental data analysis in the field.

Research assistants on this program will delve into these interesting topics while learning to carry out experiments on individually identifiable primate groups. Generally speaking, experiments are conducted in the morning or afternoon at several different locations, and data entry follows in the afternoon or evening. Free time is scheduled into each week for assistants to pursue other interests and sightseeing activities (oxbow lakes with river otters, palm swamps with anacondas, canopy tower, and tagging along with other FPI research programs).

At the end of this program, you will be able to:

*Design an experiment
*Record focal behavioral data
*Work with video recording equipment
*Complete basic video edits
*Understand relational databases
*Perform basic behavioral data analyses
*Recognize all 11 species of primate at Los Amigos
*Distinguish species specific vocalizations
*Gain a general knowledge about rainforest ecology

We are currently recruiting participants with the following requirements. If you are uncertain if you are eligible, contact us to confirm.

*Must be at least 18 years of age by the time the training program begins

*Demonstrate a grounding or strong interest in physical anthropology, animal behavior, zoology, or psychology

*Previous field experience is not required, but previous research experience (either outdoors or in the laboratory) will be a plus

*Must be able to justify why this program is important to you and what you hope to gain from it

*Able to provide a letter of recommendation from a source that can substantiate the your competency and any skills

*Unafraid of insects, reptiles and the jungle in general

*Must be in good physical condition, with the capability to walk 4 miles a day while carrying field equipment

*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.

*Willingness to adjust your schedule to primate daily activity patterns. This can require waking up early, sometimes by 5 am, and going to bed early.

*Due to the nature of the work and weather constraints, participants MUST be willing to be flexible about their days off. Assistants will typically have one-two days off per week; however we cannot guarantee a set schedule and breaks are normally divided into half-days.

*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 evening.

Program fee: $1350 for 3 weeks; $450 each additional week

Term of Appointment:
June 3 ? July 30, 2019

Application Deadline:
April 14 for June start dates, May 24 for July start dates (2019)

Start dates: June 3, June 10, June 17, June 24, July 1, or July 8
Minimum stay required: 3 weeks; Appeals to majors: Animal Behavior, Anthropology, Captive Zoo Management, Psychology
Training areas: Foraging behaviour, ecological experiment design and analysis, focal behaviour sampling, video analyses

Contact Information:
Mrinalini Watsa


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