[Coral-List] Research Opportunity in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Victor Galvan vgalvan2000 at gmail.com
Fri Dec 7 18:20:38 UTC 2018

Research Opportunity in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic for Post-docs or

Grupo Puntacana Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation established in
1994 to protect and preserve the natural resources of the Punta Cana
region, while contributing to the sustainable development of the Dominican
Republic. For the last several years our areas of action have included
working in a variety of both land and marine based environmental
conservation and restoration programs. Among its most successful programs
are: i) the reintroduction of the endemic and critically endangered
Ridgway’s Hawk (*Buteo ridgwayi*) into the Punta Cana area, ii) the
development of alternative income generation sources for local fishermen
and their families, providing employment opportunities for close to 20
fishermen and helping to protect an estimated 123kg of parrotfish daily,
iii) community empowerment and environmental awareness programs helping to
establish the first man-made, community run, wetlands  pond to help treat
black-water discharge, and iv) the *Acropora* coral restoration program
that has seen over 4.5km of coral tissue returned back onto natural coral
reefs in the last 2 years, promoting natural recovery of the species. In
addition to this, the Foundation has been recently designated as one of the
co-managers of the MPA – Santuario Marino Arrecifes del Sureste
on the eastern end of the Dominican Republic with an estimated 7,500km2 of
area. This project is intended to take place within this area, in
particularly the area east of Grupo Puntacana to Cabeza de Toro.

In February of 2018, the Center for Marine Innovation was officially
inaugurated with 5 operational goals that include: i) scientific research
and project implementation to support the development of practical tools
that help reduce environmental impacts, ii) to serve as national and/or
regional capacity building and environmental awareness and training center
for conservation and restoration of the marine environment, iii) to support
the development of young scientific professionals through the foundation’s
paid internship program, iv) explore new relationships with other
institutions of mutual interest, and v) develop alternative income
generation opportunities for local fishermen taking into account the
development of gender inclusion in such activities.

The Center for Marine Innovation is currently operating the following
projects and programs:


1)    *Acropora* coral restoration program through the use of *In-situ*
coral nurseries.

2)    Conceptualization and development of alternative income generation
opportunities for local fishermen.

3)    Caribbean coral reef restoration through microfragmentation.

4)    *Acropora* coral spawning monitoring.

5)    Ornamental fish propagation pilot project.

6)    Hawksbill turtle monitoring and conservation program.


7)    Long term monitoring of the population density of the highly
important *Diadema antillarum* sea urchin in 5 different communities in the
Dominican Republic.

8)    Long term monitoring of the lionfish population density in Punta Cana
and 4 other coastal communities in the Dominican Republic.

9)    Long term monitoring of sea cucumber (Echinodermata) populations in 5
Dominican Republic communities.

10) A first study on population changes of parrot fish pre and during the
two-year national band in three communities with variable protection levels.

11)  Support for young scientists in professional development through paid

12)  Environmental education and awareness program.

13)  Artificial, low-costs coral predator control techniques.

14)  Pilot mangrove restoration project.

The Grupo Puntacana Foundation is looking to expand and grow these projects
and programs. Further, the foundation is also looking for new project
proposals that would help the foundation continue its mission statement of
helping to protect and preserve the natural resources in the area.

We are looking for post-docs and/or faculty members that are able to take
sabbatical to submit a research proposal in any of the above-mentioned
primary projects of interest for the foundation. Proposals that are
slightly out of these areas are also welcomed and will be evaluated. The
candidate expressing interest should keep the following guidelines in mind
when preparing his or her proposal.

·         The minimum time commitment on-site for this sabbatical is 6
months and a maximum of 12 months.

·         The proposed project or research should yield tangible results at
the end of the work. This can be a published scientific paper, a best
practices manual, a new protocol for specific work, an educational
curriculum, and/or a tool (physical or digital) that can be used directly
to support the foundations conservation work.

·         All the work is to be done within the “Santuario Marino Arrecifes
del Sureste
co-management zone and at least 50% within the Punta Cana area.

·         University and/or interinstitutional collaborations are highly

·         The proposal should be kept to between 8-10 pages and include
sufficient information in the introduction for the selection committee to
get a good understanding of the project goals and objectives and how these
will further the foundations goals. Methods that describe how the proposed
work will be done along with a list of expected material and equipment
needs should also be included if possible.

·         Applicants should also prepare a budget that contemplates on the
ground expenses such as materials, equipment, travel, and assistances (if
applicable). The budget should not include lodging or meals.

Grupo Puntacana Foundation will provide a single occupancy room at the
foundation’s Center for Sustainability. The center has 12 rooms with
running water, A/C, fan, and housekeeping and a private bathroom. A full
kitchen and a laundry facility are also available for use. Wi-fi is
available on all common areas and class rooms. Access to a work area and
office supplies will be provided.

The Foundation will also provide all three meals of the day as part of the
sabbatical package.

A stipend provided by the European Union and the German Agency for
Collaboration is available to support project needs (materials, equipment,
etc.) and expenses (including taxes and fees). The first round of funding
will be made available within 45 days of the signing of the contract by
Grupo Puntacana Foundation and the remaining balance will be paid out as
needed by the project with a maximum of 3 total payments. Alternatively, an
internal account can be set-up where materials, equipment and other
expenses can be charged to without needing to give payment installments (to
be determined by the candidate).

The proposals should be submitted to the following email:
vgalvan at puntacana.com with the following title on the subject line:
“Biodiversidad y Negocio Sabbatical” no later than February 10, 2019.

Please also contact the above email address for sabbatical specific

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