The Cheviron Lab at the University of Montana is seeking field technicians to assist in data collection for a long-term demographic study on high-altitude deer mice in Colorado. The project is a long-term demographic sampling effort aimed at understanding high-altitude adaptation in deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus). We maintain three separate demographic plots along the Mount Evans highway, each at a different elevation (2400m, 3000m, 4350m). Thirty mice from each plot are sampled over ~5 consecutive days (weather permitting) before moving on to the next site.
Technicians are expected to:
- Aid in the setup of the trapping grid (200-330 traps) for each site
- Check traps in the mornings, and open traps in the evenings
- Handle live deer mice
- Assist in measuring an array of physiological and morphological phenotypes
- Help set up field equipment as needed
- Participate in housekeeping chores, including cooking, cleaning, and shopping
Work is slated to start around May 1, and last for 3 weeks. All three members of the field team will stay in the University of Denver High-Altitude field station at Echo Lake, Mount Evans. The field station is rustic, but has basic amenities including hot water and Wi-Fi.
Note: This is a volunteer position. However, all food, housing, and travel to and from the field is provided by the Cheviron lab (i.e. you will not have to spend any of your own money to perform the duties required).
Experience with Sherman traps/small mammal handling is a plus, but not a requirement. MUST be able to hike long distances in rough terrain while carrying heavy equipment. Familiarity with high-altitude environments (10,000+) is also a plus. Weather at 14,000 feet can change rapidly. Spring weather at high-altitude can range from summer to winter-like conditions. Applicants are expected to possess adequate gear and clothing to handle this.
Must be passionate about science, independent, good-natured, love working in the outdoors, and able to share close living quarters with other researchers. Wi-Fi at the field station is functional, but very slow (streaming does not usually work). Trapping days can be a grind, especially when weather is poor. Some of the field sites require navigation over steep, rocky terrain, often while carrying heavy gear. Motivation and hard work are an asset in this position. Priority will be given to applicants that live near the field site (Denver area).
Due to pandemic, masks will be required whenever the crew is in public. The crew lead will be vaccinated by the start of field work. It is encouraged that applicants get vaccinated before the start of the season, if possible.
To apply, please send a cover letter and resume (including contact information for three references) detailing your experience and/or interests with field biology, outdoor skills, and small mammal trapping to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications must be received by April 15th for full consideration, but late applicants may be considered.