The Alliance for a Sustainable Amazon (ASA), a research-focused non-profit organization working in the southeastern Peruvian Amazon, is seeking a volunteer field research assistant in Lepidoptera beginning in March, 2018. The successful applicant will be based at the ASA’s field site in Peru’s Madre de Dios Department.
POSITION: Volunteer Field Research Assistant
LOCATION: Finca Las Piedras, Madre de Dios, Peru
POSITION DURATION: Minimum 6 months
SCHEDULE: 6 days/week, flexibility in scheduling required
START DATE: March 19, 2018
APPLICATION DEADLINE: December 1, 2017
Field Research Assistants (FRAs) work closely with ASA faculty and staff to facilitate ongoing biological research and monitoring projects at Finca Las Piedras, the ASA’s field site and base of operations in Peru’s Madre de Dios Department. FRAs are part of the public face of the ASA’s programs in Peru, and are part of a dynamic team of researchers, conservation and development professionals, and students from around the world. In addition to assigned tasks, FRAs are encouraged to develop individual projects within their areas of interest and that overlap with the ASA’s priority research areas.
This is a residency position, meaning that the successful applicant will live on site, full time. FRAs receive the equivalent of one day off per week, although given the nature of field research and ongoing projects at the field site, time off will be scheduled to ensure that a staff member is always available on site daily to perform essential tasks.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The Lepidoptera FRA will contribute primarily to several ongoing, long term projects focused on Lepidoptera diversity and biology at the field site and throughout the Madre de Dios region. Current projects include a survey of the butterfly and moth fauna of Finca Las Piedras and adjacent areas, as well as a rearing study that aims to document the host plants for several focal groups of Lepidoptera.
Example tasks & duties
-Daily care of rearing study, including recording data for immature Lepidoptera, finding & changing host plants, vouchering specimens, etc.
-Searching for new host plant records along trails and in forest plots
-General maintenance and upkeep of butterfly rearing facility & flight cage
-General maintenance and upkeep of host plant shade house
-Survey (i.e., collecting) of the Lepidoptera of the field site & adjacent areas
-Data collection & management
Upon arrival at Finca Las Piedras, FRAs undergo an intensive, one-week training period. Research Assistants are given an overview of current Lepidoptera-related projects, as well as the methodologies used. FRAs will also be trained informally throughout the duration of their term at Finca Las Piedras.
The successful applicant can expect to learn a number of skills useful in field research in the tropics, including ideintification of Lepidoptera and other insects, off-trail navigation, collection, management, and analysis of spatial data, methods for collecting adult Lepidoptera and rearing immatures, experimental design, ecological data collection and management, and field laboratory maintenance.
This is an unpaid, volunteer position. However, all room and board is provided on-site at Finca Las Piedras, 7 days per week, for the duration of the appointment. Work-related local transportation, including pickup from the Puerto Maldonado airport (PEM) or bus terminal, is covered. FRAs are responsible for their international flight to Peru (if applicable), including airfare, taxes, airport fees, flight insurance, etc., and domestic air or land travel to Puerto Maldonado.
HOW TO APPLY
The following are required to apply for this position:
1. A cover letter of interest
2. Current CV/resume with contact information for two references
3. Most recent unofficial university transcript
Completed applications should include each of the three required items, and should be submitted as a single PDF document, in the order listed above, by the application deadline (December 1, 2017). Document title should read: “last name”_“FRA Lepidoptera application”.pdf
Send completed applications to: email@example.com with “Lepidoptera Assistant application” in the subject line.
• Minimum 6 month commitment required (March – September, 2018)
• Minimum bachelor’s degree in natural or environmental sciences or related field
• Knowledge of and experience in entomology and/or field Lepidoptera research
• At least basic Spanish (preferred)
• Experience working/living abroad, especially in the tropics (preferred)
• Enthusiasm and strong work ethic
• Flexibility in schedule and work environment
• Maturity/must live with and work well with others in close setting
• Excellent physical condition
• Traveler’s insurance (proof required upon acceptance)
• CPR/first aid certification (proof required upon acceptance)