Title: Research Assistants in Tropical Herpetology and Conservation Ecology
Agency: Reptile & Amphibian Ecology International
Job Description: We are currently seeking research assistants to join our field team in Ecuador studying the conservation ecology of reptiles and amphibians.
While Ecuador is a relatively small country - it's roughly the size of Arizona - it stands as the third most diverse country in the world for amphibians (510 species) and is seventh for reptiles (430 species), making it a herpetologically mega-diverse region. Due to the severe deforestation taking place in addition to many other pressures on Ecuador's fauna, RAEI's research program aims to study, document, and preserve these rich and unique communities of reptiles and amphibians found within the country's diverse array of ecosystems.
As we are now in our 8th year working in Ecuador, we have study sites encompassing both the coastal forests in western Ecuador and the Amazon rainforest on the eastern side of the Andes Mountains. The work that research participants will be involved with will primarily consist of conducting night surveys for reptiles and amphibians (however other taxa such as invertebrates are also of interest), animal data collection, and lab work. Lab work consists of more detailed information such as scale counts (for reptiles) and other morphological information, animal measurements, screening for chytrid desease (amphibians), preservation (only when necessary), and acquisition of DNA samples. Diagnostic photographs of all animals are taken. Other tasks include animal handling and general note taking and data organization. Please go the following link for more information about the work: (http://www.reptilesandamphibians.org/participate/ecuador/ecuador_work.html)
Volunteer participants will gain valuable research experience, contribute towards our mission in conservation ecology, and will have an unforgettable experience that provides the opportunity to study the most biologically diverse region of reptiles and amphibians in the world (this is not an exageration!).
Qualifications: Research volunteers accepted to join our team should be able to slowly walk 10+ miles a day in hot, humid, and muddy conditions and have at least a general interest in conservation ecology. However, the most important qualifications that you can bring to the project are enthusiasm and a good work ethic. Anyone meeting these general criteria is encouraged to apply. Training for field techniques will be provided upon arrival and participants will be briefed on safety and risks prior to and during the research experience.
Students usually can acquire academic credit (often towards senior thesis) or apply for an internship with RAEI and their current college or university. Depending on the requirements of your program, you may be asked to collect a unique data set, write a paper, and/or receive a written evaluation from your expedition leaders. If your program does not have a similar document, participants will fill out a signed agreement with RAEI and an academic advisor specifying the goals and deliverables of the experience.
A participation cost of $1200 will cover expenses for a full tour, which includes in-country travel, food, specialized field equipment, lodging, guides, training, and staff.
Salary: Please visit our website for more information
Last Date to apply: June 1, 2013
Contact: Paul Hamilton, Ph.D