[Coral-List] Buck Island Sea Turtle Research Program Research Assistant Vacancy Announcement 2012

Ian Lundgren Ian_Lundgren at nps.gov
Wed Feb 1 14:35:03 EST 2012

Buck Island Reef National Monument (BIRNM), located on the island of St.
Croix, US Virgin Islands, is seeking applicants for the position of Sea
Turtle Research Assistant (RA) to conduct sea turtle research and
monitoring. This will be the 25th year of the Buck Island Sea Turtle
Research Program (BISTRP), a long-term monitoring, research and
conservation project supported by the National Park Service (NPS), Buck
Island Reef National Monument. BIRNM is a nesting beach for hawksbill
(Eretmochelys imbricata), green (Chelonia mydas), leatherback (Dermochelys
coriacea), and loggerhead (Caretta caretta) sea turtles.

RAs must be available from 15 July through 6 October 2012 (applicants must
state availability in their cover letter) and are expected to stay the
length of the project (specific dates will be identified in phone
interviews). This is a highly competitive project that is physically and
mentally intense, aimed at individuals who want to make ecology/resource
management their career. RAs must work equally effectively as a team and

RAs will provide assistance to the NPS staff in the collection and
processing of field data. Buck Island’s nesting beaches will be monitored 7
days/week sundown to sunup, by a joint team of NPS staff and RAs. Access to
the island is by boat only, where there are minimal facilities. RAs will be
trained to meet the high standard of competency in sea turtle monitoring
established in the BISTRP protocol manual (
http://fl.biology.usgs.gov/Seaturtles.pdf). All nesting turtles will be
encountered; biometric data will be collected on turtles, physical data
will be collected on nest locations, and animals will be tagged (inconel
and PIT).  Nests will be excavated to determine hatch success. Imperiled
nests will be relocated as part of continuing research to determine optimal
relocation conditions. RAs will collect soil samples, deploy temperature
loggers, take water-related measurements, and participate in processing
histological samples. RAs will also assist in deploying satellite and
acoustic tags. RAs may participate in snorkel surveys for foraging sea
turtles and/or assist in sea turtle stranding response incidents. RAs will
gain an invaluable experience learning research techniques from NPS
biologists and encountering threatened and endangered sea turtles in a
pristine nesting habitat.

Each RA will be scheduled for up to 5 nights on the beach, or 4 nights and
1 day of lab/office work (data entry and sample processing), on a dynamic
schedule. RAs will be responsible for field equipment care and maintenance.
RAs are also responsible for weekly daytime monitoring of beaches at The
Buccaneer Hotel, their residence, recording activities using GPS. RAs will
also conduct outreach to hotel guests. RAs will write a report at season’s
end summarizing turtle nesting activities at The Buccaneer Hotel.

RAs will receive two meals/day and lodging from The Buccaneer Hotel at no
cost to the RAs. A small weekly stipend will be allotted to each RA (less
than $100), and travel costs will be covered by the NPS. RAs need to
seriously consider their finances before applying to these openings; it
will not be possible to work locally while conducting RA duties.

Qualifications Required - Must:

·         Communicate effectively in English, orally and in writing
·         Have biology training/background
·         Collect data and maintain records precisely according to
standardized protocol
·         Enter and analyze data (written and computer database format)
·         Be in excellent physical shape
·         Be able to persevere under stressful conditions
·         Work outdoors, day and night in isolated conditions, and in
adverse weather
·         Walk in the sand up to 10 kilometers/night
·         Climb rocks; stoop, kneel and stand on soft substrate and in
cramped conditions.
·         Have a strong work ethic
·         Be able to work all night and on weekends
·         Be able to lift and move heavy objects
·         Operate communications equipment properly (cell phone, hand-held
VHS radio, marine radio)
·         Be able to swim; crew a boat in open water conditions
·         Have a valid US driver’s license

To apply, send a cover letter stating your interest in and qualifications
for the project, a resume summarizing your experience, and contact
information for three references to the email address below. Email is
preferred, but postal mail/fax is accepted.

Deadline for application: 3 March 2012

If selected for interview you will be contacted by March 16TH,

Email: Ian_Lundgren at nps.gov
Telephone: 340.773.1460 x 236
Fax: 340.719.1790

National Park Service
C/o Ian Lundgren, Biologist
2100 Church Street, #100
Christiansted, St. Croix, Virgin Islands 00820

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