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Field Assistant- Physiological Correlates of Intra- and Intergroup Relations in Spider Monkeys and Woolly Monkeys

Hiring Organization:
Proyecto Primates

Date Posted:

Position Description:
We are searching for a highly motivated and self-reliant field assistant to work on a study of white-bellied spider monkey (Ateles belzebuth) and lowland woolly monkeys (Lagothrix poeppiggi) in the Ecuadorian Amazon with PIs Anthony Di Fiore, Andres Link, Krista Milich, and Clara Scarry. The aim of this study is to investigate the physiological correlates to male social behavior in these two sympatric species. Assistants will be trained in all relevant data collection and archiving methods, including behavioral sampling on digital devices, radio-telemetry, database manipulation, non-invasive sample collection, etc.

Assistants will not be allowed to collect data for publication independent of our research project ? e.g. for their own theses. Ideally, this experience will be seen as an internship for your own future research. We do, however, strongly encourage assistants to work with us on coauthoring papers based on or stemming from the data they assist in collecting. If you are interested in pursuing a graduate degree that involves fieldwork in the tropics, this will be a fantastic experience.

Applicants should have a BS/BA in Primatology, Animal Behavior, Biological Anthropology, Biology, Ecology, or a related field. Although previous experience with primates is not necessary, previous experience with animals, camping, or working outdoors is strongly preferred. The ideal applicant should have prior experience with living or working in a foreign country, preferably a developing country in the tropics. Knowledge of Spanish is helpful, but not necessary. Experience with collecting systematic data in a scientific context is preferred, and a strong interest in primate behavior and ecology are a must. The position requires a substantial amount of data management, therefore the ideal candidate must be comfortable using Excel and either familiar or interested in learning to use databases. In general, applicants must be in good physical and mental condition; feel comfortable being far away from family and friends; be emotionally mature, energetic, and VERY patient; have an excellent eye for detail; not be afraid of bugs, snakes, or being alone in the forest; have very good social skills, especially in small groups; and be able to maintain a positive and humorous attitude towards challenging and tiring work.

This work will be rigorous and demanding. Assistants will be expected to work about 12 hours in the field each day, beginning early in the morning, about 20 days out of each month. The terrain in the research site is quite hilly in places, seasonally floods in others, and the climate is often hot, humid, and rainy ? this is a rainforest just south of the Equator in which 3 to 4 meters of rain falls a year ? thus persistence, maturity, dedication, good humor, and an excellent work ethic are extremely important. Preference will be given to applicants with previous outdoor experience in demanding environments.

No salary is available for this position; however, living expenses will be covered (see below). Applicants must pay their own round-trip airfare to Quito, Ecuador (cost varies) and for travel within Ecuador to and from the research station (circa US$200). Assistants are also responsible for the costs of obtaining a visa to work in Ecuador (circa US$350), for health insurance and immunizations that permit that work (proof of yellow fever immunization is a must; vaccination against typhoid, rabies, hepatitis, etc., are all also strongly recommended), and their own personal field clothes and gear (backpack, insect repellent, digital watch with a chronometer and timer, headlamp, water bottles, etc).

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
We will pay the station fees (~US$38/day) for each assistant that commits to a minimum of 6 months of field work. Station fees include on-site lodging, laundry, and three meals daily. In other words, there are hardly any additional costs while at the station once the fees are covered.

Term of Appointment:
6 months minimum

Application Deadline:
Applications will be considered until the position is filled. Review of applications will begin immediately, and Skype interviews will be conducted shortly after.

Please direct all initial inquiries regarding the application process or project to Krista Milich ( and Tony Di Fiore (

Please submit the following documentation in ONE single PDF file saved with your last and first name in the file name (e.g. ?SmithJohn.pdf?).

[1] A letter of interest describing your motivation for applying for this position. Include dates you are available and the earliest you could be traveling to the field.

[2] A recent CV including relevant coursework, previous field/outdoor experience, and where/how you can be contacted.

[3] Contact information for two people (preferably professors or research supervisors with whom you?ve worked closely) who can provide information about your experiences, skills, and training.

Contact Information:
Krista Milich

E-mail Address:

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