University of Pennsylvania
Eduardo Fernandez-Duque, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, is looking for one or two qualified, enthusiastic RESEARCH ASSISTANTS to join the Owl Monkey Project of Argentina, a long-term study of the behavior, ecology and demography of monogamous owl monkeys in the Argentinean Chaco (http://owlmonkeyproject.wordpress.com/). The assistant will participate in a 3-year NSF-sponsored project titled: “Costs and Benefits of Biparental Care in Owl Monkeys of Argentina”.
Depending on the length and timing of the stay, the assistant will be responsible for collecting behavioral, foraging, and ranging data, as well as data on phenological patterns and fruit availability in the research site. The assistant will collaborate in all aspects of the logistics of running such a project including equipment maintenance, data organization, entry and summary, camp maintenance, etc. The assistants will join a team that at the time of appointment (December 2013) will include a college graduate from the US who has been there since August, and two local technicians and an Argentinean biologist who have been working in the project for many years.
The field site is located in a 25,000 ha cattle ranch, 30km away from Formosa city (150,000 people). The area includes gallery forests, savannahs and wetlands. Over the course of the year, it is extremely likely that the assistant will come across two species of peccaries, two species of deer, rheas, armadillos, howler monkeys, various snakes, toucans, and tamanduas. Every now and then we encounter capybaras, tapirs, cats, foxes, giant anteater and maned wolf. We can guarantee the assistant will also experience other creatures from the forest: mosquitoes and ticks are definitely bad (but carry no diseases in this area). There are no significant dangers of poisonous snakes or spiders (although we had the first bite by a poisonous snake in 2010), but the assistant will be working during dark hours and should be prepared for that.
The work will be rigorous and demanding. Assistants will be expected to work about 12 hours in the field each day, about 15-20 days out of each month. There will also be significant time spent in the Field Station in the City of Formosa, where the assistant will stay at least one or even two days every 10 days. The climate is very frequently hot, thus persistence, maturity, dedication, and good humor are very important.
I am looking for applicants whose qualifications include a background in primatology, animal behavior, ecology, biology, or biological anthropology, and who have a demonstrated motivation and capacity for independent work. Proficiency in Spanish is helpful, though you need not be a fluent speaker. Good social skills and a profound sensitivity to and respect of foreign cultures are a MUST. Flexibility and adaptability to different living conditions also a must. Significant previous field experience is required. Expertise in data management, ArcGIS, telemetry, behavioral methods, and/or statistics will be considered a plus.
The position would ideally start in December 2013, but there is flexibility, even going into January or February. A commitment to the project of at least 6 months is expected, but preference will be given to those who can commit for a longer period (e.g. one year).
For all participants, the project will cover the lodging fees in the field station in the city of Formosa (which includes shared room and bathroom, use of laboratory facilities, use of kitchen), the research fees associated with staying in camp, the costs of traveling back and forth to the field when needed and the required membership with Fundacion ECO of Formosa. Necessary research gear (e.g., binoculars, notebooks) will also be provided, but applicants are expected to cover their own visa costs, health and accident insurance, immunizations, personal field gear (clothes, boots, pack, etc), and personal expenses. Any additional funding will be contingent on the qualifications of the candidate and the time commitment.
provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
Accomodation will be in a few different settings. The project has access to a house in the city of Formosa, 25km away from the forest, where there will be lodging facilities during weekends, when the weather is not conducive to being in the field or when there is the need to work in the office. In the forest accommodation will be in tents, where there is no electric power and no toilettes.
Term of Appointment:
Minimum 6 month commitment, longer commitments preferred.
until position is filled
Ideally, this experience will be seen as an internship for your own future research. I do, however, strongly encourage assistants to work with me coauthoring papers based on or stemming from the data they collect. If you are interested in pursuing a graduate degree that involves field work in the tropics, this should be a fantastic experience, and I am hoping that an assistant performing well in this position would be interested in joining my research team as a graduate student in Anthropology at Yale University, where I will start July 2014.
Interested applicants should send or arrange to have sent the following materials to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. I will then contact you for additional information if necessary.
* Letter of interest
* CV including courses taken in ecology, biology, botany, and animal behavior
* Description of your computer skills, including details of your expertise with Excel, stat packages, Access and Arcview.
* Description of previous fieldwork and outdoor experiences
* Email references from three people (preferably professors or research supervisors with whom you have worked closely) in which they provide information about you experiences, skills, and training
* Information on how you can be contacted during October-December 2013.
Additional information about the study site and some of the research projects that have taken place or will take place in the future can be found on my web site or the project's website:
432 University Museum, 3260 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
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