[Coral-List] Research assistant job offer

david at diverdavid.co.uk david at diverdavid.co.uk
Sat Jul 22 15:29:02 EDT 2006

Dear Listers

As of October 2006 the research station, San Ignacio del Huinay in Chilean
Patagonia, is looking for 2 scientific research assistants. The application
forms and job description (see also below) can be requested from
research at huinay.cl and further information about the job and the station can be
found at www.huinay.cl
This NOT a research position but you will be able to assist in important
research. The position is paid and all accommodation and food is supplied
whilst on the station. The job does require that you speak both English and
Spanish, and are a proficient diver with experience in cold strenuous
conditions (dry suit).

David Thompson MSc.

Job Description:

Job Announcement for a technical-scientific assistant

We are a private Foundation that is operating a biological field station in
Chilean Patagonia. Huinay Scientific Field Station was inaugurated in 2001 and
is situated 100 km south of Puerto Montt, in the fjord Comau; it is the only
biological station in a Chilean fjord. The surroundings are characterized by
steep mountains and volcanoes. Almost 6000 mm annual precipitation gives rise
to extremely lush vegetation characterized by extra-tropical rain forests.
The small village Huinay with its approx. 25 inhabitants can only be accessed by
a 1 hour boat-trip (speed boat) from Hornopiren. Most infrastructure - except
some small shops and a rural hospital in Hornopiren - is located in Puerto
Montt, a 3 to 4 h drive or bus trip from Hornopiren.
Knowledge on organisms and ecological functioning of the fjord ecosystems is
very poor in Chilean Patagonia especially in the marine environment. The goal
of the station is to carry out own projects and attract national and
international projects which help to fill the existing gaps.
To accomplish this, the station has a dry and a wet laboratory, diving
infrastructure and lodging facilities. Laboratories are still in process of
being improved, the building quite new and national and international projects
are just starting.

Projects involve all kinds of terrestrial and marine basic research but main
focus is on the marine environment and we are mainly promoting inventory
studies of the fjord ecosystems. The two main goals are the achievement and
establishment of a marine protected area and a scientific field guide for
marine invertebrates. This includes a lot of sampling and preservation of

We have telephone and internet access through satellite and power supply by a
hydroelectric plant. There are two biologists in charge of the scientific
operation who are approximately half the time on the station. Besides these two
scientists (the scientific director and a managing scientist) the permanent
staff consists of two scientific-technical assistants, an administrator, his
wife (and assistant) a boat captain and at least one person in charge for
cooking and cleaning. Scientists are visiting throughout the year, but most
come between December and April.

We are looking for two technical-scientific assistants for one year, beginning
in October/November 2006. We are ideally looking for technicians with
biological knowledge/interest with the following abilities.
He/She should:
-	be an open, communicative, friendly and nature-loving person that has no
problems to live in an isolated and rainy place and be able to adapt to new
-	have excellent Spanish and English communication abilities
-	have technical understanding and basic skills to take care of laboratory
(microscope, binoculars, aquaria,..) and diving equipment (compressor, tanks,
-	have a knowledge of or interest in invertebrates, as well as their sampling
and preservation
-	be an organized person (it is necessary to keep track of a lot of different
tasks, of sampled specimens, the small library etc.)
-	have profound diving skills (at least 200 dives) and experience with
cold-water (dry suit) diving and diving under difficult conditions and an
insurance covering for dive accidents (such as DAN). PADI Dive Master or CMAS
Gold/*** or higher is of advantage.
-	have general scientific, biological (taxonomical) and ecological interest and
understanding to explain projects towards non-scientific visitors and local
institutions and to understand the needs of researchers. But this is not a
research position!
-	be flexible and should be able to improvise (South America experience is of
-	have basic computer skills (WinXP, MSOffice, Internet). More advanced computer
skills are of advantage.
-	have experience in driving small motor boats (semi-rigid inflatable); driving
license is necessary but can also be made in Chile
-	bring an own dry-suit (water temperatures may be as low as 8°C). To bring
further own diving equipment is highly recommended.
-	assist the scientific staff and visiting scientists whenever required but also
be able to “see” and resolve problems and work independently.

The work includes:
-	being the contact person for visiting scientists (e.g. answering questions by
e-mail ahead of the visits and requesting and administrating required forms;
explaining logistics and infrastructure at the station, explaining lab rules;
organizing the boat trips for scientists and helping that lab work and daily
life goes smoothly)
-	being the contact person for companies when equipment is bought (asking for
prices, tracking orders, organize repairs, emitting complains when necessary

-	taking care of laboratory and diving equipment (daily care and evening check,
general maintenance, minor and simple repairs)
-	operating and maintaining the compressor
-	presenting the station to (also non-scientific) visitors and explaining
ongoing projects
-	preserving, logging and shipping of samples (e.g. specimens); possibly also
taking pictures of collected specimens
-	administration of information about visiting scientists (boat trips, rented
equipment, time of stay, questionnaires, pictures 
); regularly sending updated
information to the persons in charge of the website,

-	supervise and approve works and repairs carried out by external companies in
the labs and with the scientific equipment
-	assisting and accompanying the scientific staff with their projects during
field work (expeditions, dives, boat trips)
-	accompanying visiting scientists on dive trips: showing dive sites and taking
care that diving and sampling rules are respected (but no dive guiding)
-	entering information in databases (literature, biological, oceanographic data
on the fjord Comau)
-	assisting the scientific directors in miscellaneous tasks (e.g. acquisition
and transport of equipment, material and diving statistics)
-	supervising interns/trainee students

We offer:
-	500.000 CLP/ month (= approx. 900-1000 US$) -10% tax -7% health insurance
-	Free lodging and food on the station and free transport from and to Hornopiren
(there arise no expenses during the stay on the station)
-	8 days off every month (flexible handling is possible and necessary; but days
off cannot be accumulated for more than 2 months)

You can find more information on the website http://www.huinay.cl

We are looking forward to your applications consisting of the filled out form
and a cover letter explaining your personal incentive to apply at Huinay
Scientific Field Station. You can also include a CV if you want. Applications
that do not include the filled out form will not be considered. You can request
the application form (as Word, Excel or pdf document) at research at huinay.cl 
Letters of reference might be necessary for applicants on the short list;
please do not send them now. Please send the application to vh at huinay.cl

It is necessary that the successful applicants apply for their work visas prior
to arrival at the station, as this will save time and travel back and forth to
Puerto Montt. Successful applicants will be sent copies of the work contract
which need to be signed and returned for confirmation by a legal representative
in order for you to apply for a work visa. This process can take up to 8 weeks.

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