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 https://student.wp.odu.edu/sschu001/ 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. APPLICANT INSTRUCTIONS: 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. DEADLINE & INTERVIEW TIMELINE: 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 Email: sschu...@odu.edu