Job Title: Team Leader - Forest Elephant Behavioral Ecology Project
Duration: 12-15 months
The Poulsen Lab at Duke University is looking for three enthusiastic,
motivated volunteer team leaders to manage research teams, collect and
process scientific data as part of the Forest Elephant Behavioral
Ecology Project. This project studies 34 forest elephants fitted with
GPS collars. The research focuses on tracking elephants from a distance
to study their diet, movement and social behavior. Each team will
collect plants for chemical analysis, fecal samples for genetic analysis
and record habitat variables, phenology and weather. Team leaders will
also be responsible for monthly reporting of activities and
While working in the challenging tropical forest environment, candidates
will be rewarded with the opportunity to observe animal species in their
natural habitats. Candidates will learn about tropical ecology, botany,
natural history, and conservation biology, as well as what it takes to
organize field projects in Central Africa.
- Hiring, training and managing two Gabonese field assistants.
- Tracking and collecting field data on GPS collared elephants.
- Collecting, storing and potentially exporting ecological samples.
- Working with collaborators in French-speaking Gabon.
- Reporting regularly to Duke and Gabonese government collaborators.
Applicants must hold an undergraduate or graduate degree in biology,
ecology or a wildlife-related field. Candidates must be independent,
reliable and responsible with the ability to work in challenging
environments. A successful candidate will thrive in small team settings
and work across cultures. Gabon is a French-speaking country and team
leaders will be required to communicate primarily in this language.
Candidates with previous experience in the tropics, especially Africa
will be given preference.
Elephants often occur in extremely remote and challenging habitats,
including swamps and mountainous terrain. Candidates must be able to
hike from 6-25 km (3-15 miles) daily in hot, muggy and even rainy
weather, while carrying a heavy backpack of camping and research
equipment. Research expeditions may entail camping in a tent for more
than a week at a time.
- Food and lodging at the field site
- Visa fees
- Work-related travel within country
- Round trip airline travel to Gabon will be reimbursed at completion of
a successful term of work
- Field equipment necessary for camping and conducting research
Candidates are required to cover:
- Medical and evacuation insurance
- All vaccinations required for the country prior to departure
Interested applicants may send a CV and cover letter to:
amelia.meier at duke.edu with the subject line "(candidate's last name)
- Team Leader Position.”
If your application is short-listed, you will be required to provide 2
letters of reference (this can also be submitted with the initial
application email if desired). Skype interviews will be held after
reviewing the letter of reference. A portion of the interview will be in
To read more about the Poulsen Lab and what we do visit: