mardi 25 janvier 2011
Volunteer research assistant: Ecology and social behavior of howling monkeys in Palenque, Mexico
Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM)
We are looking for volunteers to assist in projects studying the social system and ecology of black howler monkeys (Alouatta pigra) at Palenque National Park, Mexico. Volunteers will assist in two simultaneously running projects:
(1) Social and genetic factors mediating individual participation in naturally occurring howling bouts and group defense in black howler monkeys (by Dr. S. Van Belle)
(2) Seed dispersal by black howler monkeys and dung beetles and tropical rainforest regeneration in Palenque (by Dr. A. Estrada and David Munoz, PhD student)
An additional complimentary field project will start in July:
3) Medium and large sized terrestrial mammals in Palenque National Park and in protected and unprotected forest fragments in the vicinity (by Dr. Alejandro Estrada and Diana Flores, MSci. Student)
You will assist in these projects. If needed, you will participate on a rotating basis. Training will be provided, but you can also choose to focus on only one field project. Participation is also geared to meet academic requirements at your institution of origin e.g. practicum, academic internship, thesis. If this might be the case, contact Dr. Alejandro Estrada (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Specific tasks you will participate in:
Project 1: Social and genetic factors mediating individual participation in naturally occurring howling bouts and group defense in black howler monkeys (by Dr. S. Van Belle)
Study site: Palenque National Park
1. Collecting of behavioral observations and scan samples on howling monkey groups in Palenque National Park.
2. GPS recording of ranging patterns of the howler monkey groups under observations.
3. Data entering in computer databases
Project 2: Seed dispersal by black howler monkeys and dung beetles and tropical rainforest regeneration in Palenque (by Dr. A. Estrada and David Munoz, PhD student)
Study sites: Palenque National Park and 6 forest fragments in its vicinity
1. Collection of dung beetles attracted to howler monkey dung using baited pitfall traps.
2. Germination experiments for seeds dispersed by the howler monkeys and for control seeds (collected from fresh fruits)
3. Seed predation experiments on seeds dispersed by howler monkeys using camera-traps
4. Vegetation data collection: census of vegetation at the study sites – to be done only once
5. Data entering in computer databases
Project 3: Medium and large size terrestrial mammals in Palenque National Park and in protected and unprotected forest fragments in the vicinity (by Dr. Alejandro Estrada and Diana Flores, MSci. Student)
Study sites: Palenque National Park and 6 forest fragments in the vicinity
1. Nocturnal and diurnal visual census of terrestrial mammals using line transects
2. Setting up camera-traps, sand-traps and monitoring captures every 15 days
3. Data entering in computer databases
Resting periods: resting days will be scheduled regularly as part of the field work program.
The qualifications we are looking for in a research assistant are:
-Be physically fit, and capable of undertaking fieldwork in hot/humid conditions.
-Be capable of team work and not have issues with authority figures.
-Have a background in biology/anthropology/zoology/psychology or a relate field.
-Be interested in the behavior, ecology, conservation of primate and other mammal species of tropical rainforests
-Be hardworking, disciplined in following field procedures and be reliable.
-Some knowledge of animal behavior and data collection preferred but not required.
-Enjoy being outdoors and experiencing the tropical rainforest.
-Enjoy being in the culture of southeast Mexico
No salary will be provided.
Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
Assistants will be responsible for airfare/transportation to and from Palenque town and for food costs. Lodging will be provided by the field project in a comfortable fully equipped house (electricity, hot water, high speed internet, bunk beds, two bathrooms with showers, a large living room kitchen area) about 2 km from Palenque National Park. The town of Palenque is only 2 km away where banking, additional telephone services, hospitals, supermarkets, drugstores and others are available.
Term of Appointment:
3 - 12 months or more starting May 2011
To apply, please email a recent copy of your CV and send a letter of motivation describing your research interests and experience, and your availability for this position.
Note on contingencies: Volunteers should be covered by medical insurance when traveling to Mexico. They will need to sign a releasing liability form upon joining the research team in Palenque.
Dr. Alejandro Estrada
Field Research Station Los Tuxtlas-UNAM
Dr. Sarie Van Belle
Dept. of Anthropology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Sarie Van Belle