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Positions Available

Field Assistant for Santa Rosa Capuchin Project in Costa Rica

Hiring Organization:
The University of Tokyo

Date Posted:

Position Description:
We are seeking a field assistant for a project on polymorphism of color vision phenotype and foraging ecology of white-faced capuchins at Sector Santa Rosa, Área de Conservacíon Guanacaste in Costa Rica. The project will be conducted by The University of Tokyo post-doctoral researcher Mari Nishikawa, with an approximate duration of 6 months. The project is conducted collaboratively with Dr. Amanda Melin (University of Calgary) and Dr. Shoji Kawamura (The University of Tokyo). We are looking for applicants who can make at least a five-month commitment.

The capuchins of Santa Rosa have been studied continuously for over 30 years and there are currently four habituated study groups. Field assistants will assist in locating monkey groups based on known ranging territory, following monkey groups and collecting behavioral, biological, phenological, and ranging data. Field assistants will be responsible for learning and recognizing most animals, learning the relevant ethogram for behavioral data collection and data entry for statistical analyses. Field assistants will be trained by Mari Nishikawa and local project personnel, a process that takes ~4 weeks, but learning the material takes self-motivation and perseverance. Field assistants must be able to work long hours in the field (approximately 8-10 hours/day), often getting up before dawn or coming back to the field station after dusk. The days most often involve intense hiking in tough terrain in a hot and humid climate. You will have approximately 1 to 2 days out of the forest per week. You will also have 2-3 days off near the end of the month, as long as data collection goals have been met.

The field site is remote and you will be living in the project?s field house within the park. Applicants must be clean and tidy, responsible, respectful, and have experience living with housemates. There are snakes and other wildlife (which makes it fun and interesting!) that you must be able to cope with, and hopefully enjoy. We wear snake guards in the forest to prevent snake bites, though in the more than 30 year history of the project no one has been bitten. Wasps, large spiders, scorpions, chiggers, and ticks are all common and non-lethal, but somewhat painful, stings and bites will happen. This position is not recommended for anyone with a severe bee/wasp allergy.

Fedigan LM, Jack KM. 2012. Tracking Neotropical monkeys in Santa Rosa: Lessons from a Regenerating Costa Rican Dry Forest. In: Kappeler PM, Watts DP, editors. Long-term field studies of primates. p 21?45.

1) Physical fitness is a must. The terrain is rough, it?s hot, and during the rainy season it?s buggy and humid.
2) No extensive fieldwork experience is needed, though those that have completed a field school, or have comparable field experience, will be given priority.
3) A driving license and ability to drive a vehicle in Costa Rica.
4) An interest in scientific research and primate behavior.
5) A background in biology or anthropology is preferred.
6) The ability to live away from close friends and family for an extended period of time.
7) Fluency in English and preferably also Spanish.

$300 per month to offset living expenses while assisting on this project

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
Lodging in a shared (with one other person) room in a modest house will be provided. Round-trip airfare (up to $700) will be reimbursed upon completion of the applicant?s term of service (no less than 5 months). A taxi from the airport to the field site will be covered.
Applicants will be responsible for their own food (usually purchased communally and cooked as a house). Depending on dietary preference, this costs between $130 and $180/month.
Applicants will be in Costa Rica on tourist visas, which are good for 90 days. Applicants will be responsible for making a ?visa run? to nearby Nicaragua, or Panama, or a destination of their choice, for 3 days. Necessary costs incurred will include visa renewal (~$29), 3 nights in a hostel (~$10/night), and food (~$3-10/meal).
Applicants will be required to purchase travel health insurance (usually $30-50/month).
Applicants are responsible for all of their field gear, including sturdy field water bottles, field pack, field clothing, hiking boots, etc. A tablet, GPS unit, and binoculars will be provided for data collection.

Term of Appointment:
Groundwork for the field season will begin in December, 2018. Applicants must be able to make a five-month commitment, with the anticipated end date being around May 31, 2019. The start date will be as soon as possible, ideally before January 7.

Application Deadline:
Until filled

To apply, please submit a CV and cover letter describing relevant experience, reason for interest, qualities that make you a superior applicant, availability, and anything else you deem relevant. Please provide the names and contact information for 2 to 3 references, as well. Preferably references would include an academic reference, a work-related reference, and a personal reference. This posting will be removed when the position is filled.

Contact Information:
Mari Nishikawa, none

E-mail Address:

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