I am accepting applications for volunteer research assistants for a project about climate change and amphibians in the remote Peruvian Andes. Volunteers can be either students or recent graduates looking for research experience, or conservation-minded tourists who wish to contribute to biological research.
We will conduct field research to understand the effects of climate change on aquatic communities in newly created wetlands. We will hike through some of the most beautiful scenery on Earth, but this is not for the faint of heart or lung. We will be working in a very high-elevation (and therefore physically challenging) field site. Field work will involve hiking at 5000+ meters above sea level on recent glacial moraines, and conducting surveys for tadpoles and adult frogs in glacial melt ponds. Volunteers will be trained in many skills related to identification and sampling of amphibians, measuring environmental variables, and using common scientific equipment (e.g., GPS, dataloggers, timelapse cameras, calipers).
Monthly field expeditions will consist of 4 days prep work and altitude acclimatization in Cusco, Peru (also possible to visit Machu Picchu during acclimatization); 4 days travel through some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world into the field site; 10-14 days at the field site. The dates currently available will be the expeditions starting 22 September - 4 October 2013. However, additional expeditions will be available in the following months, so please inquire if interested.
Non-Peruvian volunteers will need to cover their own costs while working on the project: air/ground travel to Cusco, Peru; living costs in Cusco, Peru, for at least 4 days prior to departure to the field. In addition, students/recent graduates will pay a subsidized portion of the cost of their ground transportation to/from Cusco to the dropoff point, pack-horse team and drivers, food. This is a significant financial commitment, but for current undergraduates looking for a research internship and recent graduates looking forward to graduate school, the skills you learn will benefit your future career, and at the end of your time you’ll take skills and incredibly valuable experience with you to profit from them elsewhere. Exceptional volunteers who are interested in continuing on to graduate school will also be given authorship on a paper. Equipment required during the expedition will be provided.
Applicants must be at least 20 years old, have travel insurance, have a strong interest in biology, conservation, and/or environmental science, be physically fit, and be able to work well with others under difficult conditions. A good sense of humor is also required. Volunteers with backcountry experience are preferred. Knowledge of Spanish is recommended but not required.
Students and recent graduates: To apply, please send a cover letter explaining your interest in the project and relevant experience (including outdoors experience - maximum of 2 pages), resume, and contact information for 3 references. Please send an email with any questions or for additional information.
For non-students who are interested in participating in a research expedition as a conservation tourist, please inquire for more information.
proranas @ gmail.com