Join our team!

TWO field assistants needed for the Capuchins at Taboga Project, a long-term project in Costa Rica on the behavior, communication, endocrinology, and conservation of wild white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus). All research is conducted at a field station located in the Taboga Forest Reserve in the Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica. Directors of the project are Dr. Thore Bergman, Dr. Jacinta Beehner, Dr. Elizabeth Tinsley-Johnson (based at Michigan State University), and Dr. Marcela Benitez (based at Georgia State University). The successful candidate will be responsible for the following: (1) habituating new study groups and identifying individuals; (2) collecting demographic, reproductive, and ranging data (using GPS) as part of routine monitoring of the study population; (3) helping to clear and maintain a network of trails throughout the forest; (4) digitizing and sending ID sheets, group census sheets, and ranging data to the project directors; (5) maintaining camp equipment, and (6) managing personnel (the project currently has two full-time Costa Rican field assistants, and several Costa Rican student volunteers).

The project field station is part of a field campus of the Universidad Técnica Nacional of Costa Rica at Taboga. You can read more about the location here: https://www.costaricainfolink.com/es/reserva-forestal-taboga-costa-rica/. For more information on the project directors, the project publications, and some photos of the fieldsite, please see the project website: https://sites.lsa.umich.edu/capuchin/. We have and enforce a strict anti-harassment policy for all team members, which includes all forms of harassment (including but not limited to sexual harassment). We have a 4-bedroom house that sleeps >10 comfortably and has a full kitchen (fridge/freezer, stove, etc.) and two bathrooms with showers. The house is shared living space with our Costa Rican assistants and all project assistants. There is running water (potable), electricity full-time, and cell phone reception is decent in the house and in the forest.

Qualified applicants will have a B.S. or B.A in Biology, Zoology, Biological Anthropology, or a related field. Applicants must be fluent in English and be proficient in Spanish which is necessary to communicate with others at the field station. Prior travel and/or field experience in tropical regions is preferred. Good physical fitness is absolutely essential – the terrain is hilly and the temperature is usually quite hot and humid. Good organizational skills and experience with basic database management a must. Experience with leadership also a plus – as you will be working closely with other students and field assistants. Priority will be given to those with more field experience and/or better Spanish ability.

Salary/funding: These are volunteer positions, so there is no salary. However, round-trip airfare and all living support will be provided for the volunteers (visa expenses, travel, meals, lodging). Additionally, volunteers will be provided with basic accommodations, food, and other basic supplies while at the field site. The volunteers are responsible for any additional expenses incurred while traveling in Costa Rica (during breaks from work). The project will provide emergency travel health insurance, but the volunteers are required to have basic health care insurance and must acquire the necessary vaccinations (including a TB test) prior to entry to Costa Rica. The volunteers will need to provide their own field clothing and footwear. We will provide snake gaiters and offer advice about what items are necessary for daily life in a tropical dry forest. If you have moderate monthly expenses (i.e., student loan minimum payments) that might prevent you from applying to this position, we encourage you to apply anyway (no need to tell us about these unless you are selected). We have sources of funding that may be able to offset these extra expenses on an individual basis. We would like to see applications from a wide variety of candidates, and we particularly encourage applications from individuals who are from groups that have traditionally been under-represented in STEM fields.

Appointment: A 1-year commitment is preferred, and longer-term appointments are also possible after the year is up. We are looking for someone who can start their appointment anytime between May and Aug 2020. Applicants who decide to remain for longer than one year, will receive one round-trip flight to their home country for a break in between appointments.

Deadline: Positions will remain open until filled. Priority will be given to (1) applicants who apply earlier; (2) applicants who can arrive in the field within the specified start dates; and (3) applicants with better Spanish abilities. We hope to fill the position before May 2020; and we hope to have both volunteers in the field by Aug 2020 at the latest.

Application: Please email the following materials to Dr. Jacinta C. Beehner at (jbeehner@umich.edu): (1) a letter of interest stating how and why this position satisfies your interest and future career goals, explaining your suitability for this project, plus a time frame during which you are available to work (when you are free to travel), (2) a CV or resume detailing relevant experience, (3) a summary of college courses taken and the grades received, to be followed by an official transcript, and (4) contact information for at least two references, preferably at least one academic reference as well as one person who has worked closely with you or who has closely supervised your work. The subject heading of the email message should read: “Application for Costa Rican field position”.