lundi 18 avril 2016

Volunteers for South Africa: socio-ecology of striped mice

Volunteers needed
Evolution and Socio-Ecology of small Mammals in the Succulent Karoo of South Africa

Opportunity: This is a great opportunity for anybody who wants to get more experience in field work related to animal behavior, evolution, eco-physiology, and ecology before starting an MSc or PhD project.
Project: We study the evolutionary and ecological reasons as well as physiological mechanisms of group living, paternal care, communal nesting and social flexibility in the striped mouse. One focus is on the adaptation to droughts, combining physiological, behavioral, ecological and evolutionary research. As this species is diurnal and the habitat is open, direct behavioral observations in the field are possible.
What kind of people are needed? Biology/zoology/veterinary students are preferred as candidates. Applicants must have an interest in working in the field and with animals. Hard working conditions will await applicants, as the study species gets up with sunrise (between 5 and 6 o` clock), and stops its activity with dusk (19 o` clock). Work during nights might also be necessary. Work in the field will be done for 5 days a week. Applicants must be able to manage extreme temperatures (below 0 at night in winter, sometimes over 40°C during summer days). Applicants must both be prepared to live for long periods in the loneliness of the field and to be part of a small social group.
Work of volunteer field assistants: Trapping, marking and radio-tracking of striped mice; direct behavioral observations in the field. Volunteers will also see how blood samples are collected for physiological measurements. Volunteers are expected to help with maintenance of the research station (water pump, solar power, etc.).
Confirmation letter: Students get a letter of confirmation about their work and can prepare a report of their own small project to get credit points from their university for their bachelor or masters studies.
Costs: Students have to arrange their transport to the field site themselves. Per month, an amount of Rand 1450 (around 175 US$, 100 Euro) must be paid for accommodation at the research station. Students must buy their own food etc in Springbok (costs of about R 3000, approx. 350 US$ or 250 Euro/month). Including extras (going out for dinner; shopping), you should expect costs of about 600 US$ / 450 Euros per month. Students get an invitation letter which they can use to apply for funding in their home country.
Place: The field site is in the Goegap Nature Reserve near Springbok in the North-West of South Africa. The vegetation consists of Succulent Karoo, which has been recognized as one of 25 hotspots of biodiversity. It is a desert to semi-desert with rain mainly in winter (June to September).
When and how long: At the moment we are looking for two volunteers starting in May 2016 and two volunteers to start in June / July 2016. Volunteers are expected to stay for 2-3 months. We are also looking for volunteers for later in 2016.
How to apply? Send a short motivation letter stating why and for which period you are interested and your CV via email to

More information under

Dr. Carsten Schradin
Director of the Succulent Karoo Research Station (South African non-profit organization), Goegap Nature Reserve, PO Box 541, 8240 Springbok, South Africa