SUMMARY: 1-2 volunteers are needed for approximately 3 months beginning 
January 10th 2016 to assist a PhD student investigating avian seed 
dispersal in the Dominican Republic.

ORGANIZATION: Avian Ecology Lab, Old Dominion University (Virginia, 
United States)

RESEARCH LOCATION: Jarabacoa, La Vega, Dominican Republic

POSITION DESCRIPTION: Volunteer field assistants will be involved in a 
number of activities, including monitoring and collecting samples from 
seed traps in abandoned pastures, censusing seedlings using a photo 
guide key, observing flowering and fruiting phenologies of study trees, 
conducting point counts and foraging observations of birds, collecting 
fruits from native forest plants, radio-tracking birds, and data entry.

For more information about the project, visit

LOGISTICS & COMPENSATION: For the duration of their stay at the field 
station, assistants are expected to contribute to field and office work 
for 5-6 days per week. All costs for in-country transportation and 
lodging will be provided by the project (with the exception of 
recreational trips on off days). Volunteers are expected to cover their 
own travel costs the Dominican Republic. As this is a volunteer 
position, no salary is available. Volunteers will be responsible for 
their own food, which has averaged $30 USD per week for past tenants at 
the field house. Funding may become available to offset some of these 
costs pending the decision of several small grant applications; however, 
this cannot be relied on.

FIELD STATION & AMMENITIES: Assistants should expect to encounter 
crowded living conditions at the field station, which we share with two 
other graduate student investigators and their teams. Sleeping 
accommodations are dormitory-style with 1-5 same-sex roommates. Potable 
water, refrigerator, gas stove/oven, (cold) showers, and wireless 
internet are available in the field house.

QUALIFICATIONS & EXPECTATIONS: Competitive candidates for this position 
will have demonstrated experience with botanical or wildlife research in 
the field. The applicant must be in good physical condition with a 
willingness to tolerate difficult working conditions. We routinely hike 
7 km each day, often carrying heavy equipment. Patience is an essential 
virtue for this type of work, given that much of it will involve sitting 
or standing quietly for long periods to collect data. Strong 
organizational skills are expected for this position to adequately 
manage data collection and entry as well as the ability to work 
independently at times. As with all field biology work, things do not 
always go according to plan. An ability to cope with flexible schedules 
and a sense of humor go a long way. While knowledge of Spanish is not 
required for this position, a strong willingness to learn the language 
is expected as volunteers will need to work effectively with Spanish 
speakers at times, and we strive to maintain positive relations with the 
community and cooperating land owners.

OTHER COMMENTS: This position is ideal for undergraduates or recent 
graduates looking for experience in field ecology and wildlife/plant 
sciences for their careers. Undergraduates considering applying should 
communicate with their academic advisor to inquire about the possibility 
of using the experience to count for course credits. Those who are 
interested but unable to join the project in January should still 
contact; more opportunities will become available as the year goes on, 
and you can request to be put on a shortlist to be notified about these 
other opportunities.
Please send…
(1) A one-page cover letter detailing your interest in the position and 
summarizing your relevant background and professional goals. I 
especially want to know how you see this experience benefitting you 
moving forward with your career.
(2) A resume or CV detailing your experiences relevant to the 
qualifications discussed above.
(3) Information for 2 references who, preferably, know your work habits 
in a field or laboratory/office setting. Provide name, title, and email 
for each of these persons. 

Materials must be received by October 31st 2016 to guarantee 
consideration, though interviews may begin sooner, so there is an 
advantage to applying early. Decisions will be made by the second week 
in November, following phone/Skype interviews.

Send all materials in a single PDF document to:

Spencer Schubert
Department of Biological Sciences
Old Dominion University

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