lunes, 25 de junio de 2012

Volunteer research position: Lemur monitoring in Madagascar

Volunteer research assistant: Feeding ecology and ranging of greater bamboo lemurs (Prolemur simus) in Kianjavato, Madagascar
Project Description: A project led by researchers at the Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo’s Center for Conservation and Research seeks a qualified, self-confident and highly motivated volunteer assistant. The project involves following social groups of critically endangered greater bamboo lemurs (Prolemur simus) in the Kianjavato-Vatovavy landscape in southeastern Madagascar. In this area nine lemur species are present and a rich variety of other endemics (birds, chameleons, tenrecs, etc.).
The primary responsibilities of the volunteers include: 1) collect behavioral, feeding, and ranging data on three social groups 5-6 days/week, up to 9 hours/day; 2) coordinate collection and storage of fecal samples for DNA analyses from study and non-study individuals in several forest fragments; 3) enter and transmit data to the principal investigators via internet every two weeks; 4) possibly assist in collecting phenological data in established vegetation plots. Most of these tasks are carried out with the assistance of research technicians, and there is some flexibility in scheduling.
Volunteer will be trained by the principal investigator, the postdoctoral research associate, and the current field team. Volunteer will partner with another project volunteer and will also work with an experienced and very helpful local team of Malagasy assistants for all activities. Limited English is spoken by the team, but French language skills will be useful. It should also be possible for the volunteer to learn to communicate in basic Malagasy during their stay. The terrain is quite steep and the weather is typically very warm and humid, particularly December - April. Adequate physical fitness in these conditions is required. There are no dangerous fauna, except the scorpion. However, precautions should be made to avoid tropical diseases (e.g. malaria, schistosomiasis) including vaccinations and preventative medications.
Research is based at the newly-established Kianjavato Ahmanson Field Station (KAFS). Infrastructure upgrades are ongoing, however conditions are currently relatively rustic. Volunteers will sleep in self-provided tents under a fixed shelter which is shared with other volunteers, and meals are basic camp fare (be prepared to eat rice at each meal). There is generally good cellular phone reception at the station and in some parts of the forest. Volunteers will need to obtain their own phones and will have to pay for their own calls (even international rates are reasonable). A generator is present to power laptops, recharge batteries, etc. on a restricted basis. Internet will only be available during twice monthly trips to larger towns.
Qualifications/Experience: As indicated, adequate physical fitness is required. We prefer volunteers with at least a BA or BSc in the biological or environmental sciences (including biological anthropology). Some independent research experience will be an advantage, as will work or travel experience in tropical countries. A willingness to work in isolated conditions, the ability to solve problems independently, and dedication to a positive and respectful working environment are required.
Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging): No salary is offered, but in-country permits, food, and transportation at the site will be provided.
Term of Appointment: A four-month commitment is required (late August - 21 December 2012). Volunteers are welcome to stay longer; please indicate this in your letter of interest.
Application Deadline: Immediately; the positions will be filled by the first qualified applicants.
Comments: Applicants should send a letter of interest, curriculum vitae, and contact information for two references to Shannon Engberg (
For additional information, please see:

For more info, contact:

Shannon Engberg (