lunes, 8 de marzo de 2010

Field Assistant: Behaivor and Physiology in Spider Monkeys Panama

Job Type: volunteer position
Opportunity location: Barro Colorado Island (BCI)
Closing date (if specified): 1 Jul 2010
Opportunity Description:

Position Description:
I am searching for a hard-working, motivated, responsible assistant to help with a project on the behavior and physiology of spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) on Barro Colorado Island (BCI), Panama. The project focuses on female spider monkey reproductive physiology and energy expenditure. The assistant will be responsible for collecting behavioral, foraging, and ranging data as well as fecal and urine samples for hormonal and energetic analyses from multiple females. Other responsibilities will include identifying plant species, tree mapping, and data entry. The assistant will be trained in all relevant data collection and archiving methods, including behavioral sampling, GPS, radiotelemetry, and sample preservation. The research assistant should view this position as an internship, thus the experience gained will be a great opportunity for a student who is interested in primatology, biology, and ecology wishing to further their academic career.

Students interested should have or in the process of obtaining a BS/BA in Physical Anthropology, Biology, Ecology, Primatology, Animal Behavior, or a related field. Although previous experience with primates in not necessary, it is strongly preferred that the student has had some experience in tropical forests (i.e. field school), working with animals, and/or working in the outdoors. The student should have a substantial background in science that allows one to understand the scientific method, basic research terminology, and the importance of collecting systematic data. More importantly, the student should have a strong interest in primate behavior and ecology. Knowledge of Spanish is helpful, but not necessary. Furthermore, applicants must be in good physical and mental condition; have the ability to hike long distances; feel comfortable being away from family and friends for extended periods of time; be emotionally mature, energetic, and patient; detailed orientated; not be afraid of snakes, bugs, etc. or being alone in the forest; have good social skills; and be able to maintain a optimistic attitude towards challenging and tiring work. The assistant will be expected to work about 6 hours a day and 5-6 days each week. The terrain at the research site is very hilly and rocky and the climate is hot, humid, and rainy; thus persistence, maturity, and dedication are very important.

Partial to full refund of plane ticket and boarding is possible, depending on the availability of grant money. Applicants who are interested in this position, please indicate how much of the cost you will be able to contribute in your letter of interest (see below). Stay at BCI (US $775/month) includes three meals a day, Wi-Fi Internet, and boarding. For more details see

Term of Appointment:
Minimum 6 month commitment; 12 month commitment preferred.

The start date for this project is July 1, 2010. If interested, please email the following to Stephanie Ramirez (

1. CV including relevant coursework, previous field/outdoor experience, and contact information
2. Letter of interest
3. References from two persons (preferably professors or research supervisors with whom you have worked closely with) in which they provide information about your experiences, skills, and training

For more info, contact:

Stephanie M. Ramirez
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, attn: BCI
Unit 9100 BOX 0948
DPO AA 34002-9998
Telephone: (country code: 507) 6558-3247