mardi 29 mars 2011

Volunteer Field Assistant in Capuchin Project in Argentina

Hiring Organization:
New York University - Anand Dacier

Date Posted:

Position Description:
I am searching for self-reliant and durable field assistants to work on a field experimental study of capuchin group decision-making in a subtropical rainforest at the Iguazu National Park, Argentina, bordering Brazil. This project, which is a part of my doctoral research, will investigate how individuals negotiate decisions that involve the whole group, when there is conflict of interest among group members. The capuchin population at the site has been monitored and studied for the past 20 years by Dr. Charles Janson and collaborators. Field assistants will be involved in behavioral data collecting during all day follows of capuchins groups, as well as during feeding platform experiments. Field assistants will be expected to work about 12 hours per day, about 25 days per month. A minimum commitment of five months is required (May through end of September). Field assistants will be trained in behavioral data collecting, including recognizing different monkeys individually, use of a GPS, measurement of distance using a rangefinder and by eye. Field assistants will also work with relational databases while entering data in the computer, and have the opportunity to work with GIS software to process spatial data.

This field experience and training in a series of behavioral data collecting techniques is a great opportunity if you are interested in pursuing a graduate degree that involves fieldwork in the tropics.

There are no absolute criteria for being a good field assistant. However, working in a tropical forest following monkeys is rigorous and demanding work, requiring constant alertness to collect behavioral data throughout the day. So, first and foremost, applicants should be strongly motivated and interested in animal behavioral ecology and evolution, be able to maintain a positive and humorous attitude towards challenging and tiring work, and be cooperative in their interactions with team members.

Ideally, applicants should:
-> Have a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, Ecology, Animal Behavior, Anthropology, Primatology, Psychology, or a related field;
-> Have previous experience with animal behavior in general, or primates in specific (desirable but not required);
-> Have previous field experience, preferably in a tropical environment (so as to know what to expect: spiny plants, spiders, bees, wasps, mosquitoes, snakes, slippery terrain, intense heat, rain, humidity.)
-> Be in good physical and mental condition;
-> Be energetic and motivated;
-> Be cooperative, responsible, committed and hard-working;
-> Have good social skills, especially in small groups;
-> Be prepared to share lodging accommodations with other participants of the project and other researchers at the station;
-> Feel comfortable being far away from family and friends for an extended period of time;
-> Have some knowledge of Spanish (helpful, but not necessary);

The position does not pay a salary, but partial to total costs of lodging and meals will be offered, depending on funding availability.

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
All meals will be covered while working on the project. Field station fees (which includes lodging) will be covered by the project for the at least 5 months. Additional funding may be approved in the next few months, in which case field station fees will be covered for the total duration of the study (12 months). Because additional funding may be available, I will give priority to assistants who indicate that they can stay longer than the end of September, so please be clear in your letter of intent how long you would be able to stay. Because funding is not yet certain, I would appreciate knowing whether you can partly or fully support your field station fees after the end of September. The field assistants will be responsible for the costs of travel to and from Iguazu National Park. The assistants are also responsible for pre-travel consultation and required vaccinations, as well as private field equipment (such as field clothes, backpack and other gear) and medical supplies while at the field site. The research project will supply all needed equipment related directly to obtaining data for the study.

Term of Appointment:
12 months, starting May 2011. Minimum five months (May - Sept.)

Application Deadline:
Until filled.

If interested, please send me the following via email:

- A letter of intent, indicating why you are interested in the position;
- A C.V.;
- The email of two people for further academic reference.

I will review all applications and be in contact within a week, to schedule a phone/skype interview.

Contact Information:
Anand Dacier
25 Waverly Place
New York, NY 10003

Telephone Number:

E-mail Address: