SUMMARY: 1 volunteer research assistant is needed for approximately 4
months beginning December 15th 2018 to assist a PhD student
investigating avian seed dispersal in the Dominican Republic.

ORGANIZATION: Avian Ecology Lab, Old Dominion University (Virginia,
United States)

RESEARCH LOCATION: Jarabacoa, La Vega, Dominican Republic

POSITION DESCRIPTION: The volunteer field assistant will be trained to
identify approximately 40 species of birds and 50 species of fruit-
bearing plants in order to carry out avian biodiversity and plant
phenology surveys. Other data collection protocols will include focal
foraging observations on marked populations of plants, collecting
samples from seed traps, collecting/identifying fruits and botanical
samples, and data entry. The volunteer will be expected to assist with
some manual labor activities such as plot fence repair and maintaining
rustic trails along transects. The field crew will work 5-6 days per
week with the sixth day typically devoted to service and conservation
projects overseen by local partners. Such work may involve invasive
species control, forest restoration project, and development of
educational materials for local school groups.

LOGISTICS & COMPENSATION: Accommodations will be provided at a rental
house that operates as a field station. Meals, consisting of typical
Dominican food, will be provided to the volunteer at no cost during
their stay. Reimbursement will be provided for food expenses for daily
field trips to distant sites. All costs for in-country transportation
and lodging will be provided by the project (with the exception of
recreational trips on off-days). Transportation to field sites (i.e.
rural farms) will be as a passenger in a 4×4 SUV or as a passenger on a
motor-bike. No funds are available for air travel to/from the Dominican
Republic, and volunteers are expected to cover these costs. The target
start date for this position is December 17th, 2018 (flexible) and the
assistant must be able to commit to a minimum of 16 weeks on the

FIELD STATION & AMENITIES: Assistants should expect to share a
dormitory-style room with one or more same-sex roommates. Potable water, (cold) showers, and wireless internet are available at the field station.

QUALIFICATIONS & EXPECTATIONS: Competitive candidates for this position
will have a demonstrated interest in botanical or wildlife research in
the field. The applicant must be in good physical condition with a
willingness to tolerate difficult working conditions. We regularly hike
10 km each day off-trail, often carrying 20-30 lbs of equipment, going
up and down steep slopes, frequently crossing barbed wire fences. Strong
organizational skills are expected for this position to adequately
manage data collection and entry as well as the ability to work
independently at times. Intermediate verbal communication skills in
Spanish is highly preferred, and applicants will be tested on this
ability during the interview. These communication skills are essential,
since the volunteer will spend most of the time working in a team
setting with a Dominican field crew leader as well as communicating
with private land owners and our conservation partners.

OTHER COMMENTS: This position is ideal for undergraduates or recent
graduates looking for experience in field ecology, wildlife/plant
sciences, and conservation biology for their careers. Undergraduates
considering applying should communicate with their academic advisor to
inquire about the possibility of using the experience to count for
course credits.

Please send…
(1) A one-page cover letter detailing your interest in the position and
summarizing your relevant background and professional goals. I
especially want to know how you see this experience benefiting your
career development.
(2) A resume or CV detailing your education and experiences relevant to
the qualifications discussed above (2 page max).
(3) Information for 2-3 references who, preferably, know your work
habits in a field or laboratory/office setting. Provide name, title, and
email for each of these persons.

Materials must be received by October 15th 2018 to guarantee
consideration, though interviews may begin sooner. Decisions will be
made when a qualified candidate is found, following phone/Skype
interviews and consulting references.

Email all materials as a single PDF file attachment using the subject
header “Volunteer Research Assistant Application” to:

Spencer Schubert
Department of Biological Sciences
Old Dominion University
Email: sschu001@odu.edu