We are seeking Research Assistants for our Leatherback and Pacific Green Sea Turtle Research and Conservation Project in Ostional, Costa Rica for two time periods:
• November 1st, 2012 until January 20th, 2013 (81 Days)
• January 15th, 2013 until March 31st, 2012 (75 Days)
Purpose of Project
improve the knowledge of the biology and ecology of the Leatherback
(Dermochelys coriacea) and Pacific Green (Chelonia mydas agassizii) sea
turtles on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and implement guidelines for
better conservation actions, and through working with international
volunteers to build an appreciation for the species and the environment
in which it lives.
Ostional beach is
located within the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge (ONWR) in the
province of Guanacaste on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. It is an
important nesting beach for three of the world’s seven species of sea
turtles, and has been active in sea turtle conservation for the past 40
The three species that use the beach are:
• Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), which nests from October – March.
• Pacific Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas agassizii), which nests from September – May.
Olive Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), which nests year-
round. This species exhibits solitary nesting, as well as, an unusual
mass nesting behavior called arribada. Ostional is one of only a few
arribada beaches world-wide.
The project was founded in 2005, and this will be the ninth season that the ISV project has been running in Ostional.
research is focused on the Leatherback and Pacific Green turtle
populations, which historically have received less attention than the
Olive Ridley turtles that nest at this beach. Until 2004 no
comprehensive research on Leatherback and Pacific Green turtle activity
at Ostional had ever been carried out and, despite high rates of
poaching being reported, no specific measures had been implemented to
protect these species.
The Leatherback sea turtle is in critical
danger of extinction, having experienced a loss of 80% of the total
world population in the last 10 years. Populations on the main nesting
beaches of the Pacific have declined in some cases by 90%. It is
estimated that by the year 2020 the Pacific populations of Leatherback
may disappear completely if no actions are taken. The Pacific Green sea
turtle (also known as the black turtle) is currently classified as
Years of nest stealing and an excessive mortality rate
of adults and juveniles caused by fisheries and pollution can be
considered the main causes for these turtles decline.
clearly an urgent need of conservation to safe guard these populations,
however without data that provides knowledge of their biology and
nesting habits it is difficult to frame appropriate management
strategies. It is hoped that long term monitoring will yield data on
adult females and their nests to enable the formulation of management
alternatives that can be put into practice at this beach.
November 1st – March 31st each year
• Leading groups of volunteers on nightly beach patrols
• Collection of biometric data from nesting females
• Relocation of nests
• Morning track surveys
• Equipment maintenance
• Beach slope measurements
Overseeing the operation of the hatchery (nest monitoring, collection
of biometric data from hatchlings and hatchling liberation)
• Volunteer training and involvement in educational discussions
• Assisting the Field Coordinator in the general smooth running of the project
work involves beach cleanup (to remove debris that would impede the
movement of nesting females or hatchlings) and varying projects
including the initial construction of a beach hatchery.
Assistants will stay in the station of MINAET (Ministry of Environment
and Energy and Technology) for the duration of the project.
Assistant (RA) positions are voluntary, and chosen RAs are expected to
cover their own travel expenses, as well as to cover their own room and
board during their stay ($15 per day for accommodation and three meals
at the MINAET station)
• 21+ years of age
• Good physical condition
• Student of or Bachelor degree in Biology, Environmental studies, Ecological tourism or related field
Previous field experience related to conservation (preferably reptiles)
in remote and climatic difficult areas (preferably tropics)
• Fluency in English and/(or) Spanish
• Ability to work as part of a culturally diverse team
• Adherence to project rules to maintain a professional working environment and project image
• A positive attitude to motivate volunteers and help create an enjoyable experience
• Ability to withstand hot, humid and dry climate, and sleep deprivation
• Able to cope with VERY limited private space
• Ability to walk long distances (up to 12kms per night) on soft sand
• Personal travel medical insurance policy
Previous sea turtle experience is a great advantage, however full training will be provided upon arrival to the project site.
appreciate people who use their initiative, are problem solvers, look
to be useful in their spare time, and are interested in getting to know
the community, understanding what community life is like, and what the
community is trying to achieve without compromising their values.
Assistants must have a good level of fitness as the work can be
strenuous to heavy, depending on the task. The project requires details
of any pre-existing injuries or medical conditions to be declared at the
time of application.
For more info, contact:
Interested applicants please send a cover letter, their current CV with
contact details of three references (in pdf or word format) stating
their preferred time period to:
Marta Pesquero (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject title: RA Application Ostional 2012-13