lundi 25 avril 2011

Field Assistant: Vervet Monkey Research in South Africa

Position description:

Seeking a field assistant to participate in a study of personality and social behavior in wild vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops) in South Africa. The primary responsibility associated with this position is the collection of behavioral data during all day follows of two vervet groups. Field assistants will also help with completing habituation of study groups (only partially habituated at present) and the collection of preliminary behavioral and ranging data during the first few months of the study, as well as the collection of fecal samples throughout the study.

Workdays will be long, with data collection between dawn and dusk 5-6 days per week, and data entry and organization in the evenings or on parts of off-days. The study site is Soetdoring Nature Reserve, which is a 40 min drive from Bloemfontein, a major city with hospitals, malls and other facilities. Accommodation will be either in or just outside the city, or within the nature reserve itself (to be determined).

Successful applicants will be trained in all of the specific field methods to be employed in this study, and the position provides an excellent opportunity to gain substantial experience in fieldwork and animal behavior research.


Applicants should have a BS or BA and have had coursework in animal behavior, behavioural ecology, zoology, primatology or other relevant fields. Expertise in behavioral observation methods is not required, as successful applicants will receive training in the data collection methods used in this project. Some experience in field biology, and behavioral observation especially is, however, preferred. The applicant should have experience in scientific research, and must be able to follow protocols closely and collect data in a systematic fashion.

Applicants must be comfortable spending whole days in the field and must be both physically and mentally fit for long and challenging workdays. Critical personal characteristics for this position are being a hard worker, being reliable and self-motivated, being able to follow instructions carefully, and being able to work independently. Applicants must be fluent in English, should have lived in or traveled to developing countries in the past, and should enjoy an outdoor lifestyle.

Support provided:

The position does not pay a salary, but lodging and meals will be covered while working on the project. You will be responsible for all other expenses, including flights to and from the field site ($1200 - $1700), visas, health and travel insurance, field clothing, and other personal items. Equipment directly related to data collection will be provided.

Term of Appointment: July/August 2011 – September 2012.

Because training will require 2-3 months, a minimum 8 month commitment is required, and preference will be given to applicants who can make a 12 or 13 month commitment.

Application Deadline: Until position is filled.

To apply:

Please email the following to

(1) A cover letter explaining why you are interested in this position and why you are suitable, including your previous experience, qualifications, and future career goals. Please also state your availability (duration and preferred start date).
(2) Your CV, including contact information.
(3) Contact details of at least two references. Your references should preferably be people who have supervised you in a research capacity (professors or research supervisors) and who will be able to provide information about your experience, training, and suitability for fieldwork.

Contact Information:

Maryjka Blaszczyk

25 Waverly Place; New York, NY 10003