Field Volunteers are needed to assist USGS researchers in a mosquito population dynamics study in the Alakai Wilderness Preserve (and other areas) on the island of Kauai from September 2018 through February 2019. Introduced mosquito-borne avian diseases are key limiting factors for endemic Hawaiian forest birds and are, in part, likely responsible for past extinctions and the continued decline of extant species. Recent innovations in landscape level mosquito suppression may provide new tools to control or eliminate vectors from forest bird habitat. The main objective of the project is the collection of baseline data on mosquito (Culex quinquefasciatus) abundance, seasonal occurrence of adults, adult movement and identification of larval mosquito habitats in the Alakai Wilderness Preserve to support future mosquito control efforts.
The field site is located at high elevation in the center of the island and is one of the last remaining native forest habitats in Hawaii and home to three critically endangered endemic, forest bird species: Akikiki, Akekee, and Puaiohi. Although work for this project will focus on mosquito trapping and larval sampling, there will be opportunities to observe these bird species in the field.
Field volunteers will be expected to:
- Assist in daily trapping of adult mosquitoes and weekly larval mosquito surveys as well as the initial establishment of trapping grid and stream transects.
- Assist researchers in identifying mosquitoes and non-target organisms in addition to organizing and labeling specimens.
- Live and work out of a remote field camp for up to 10 days at a time.
- Hike long distances with a heavy pack (up to 50lbs) of equipment over steep, wet terrain including wading along stream channels.
- Maintain a positive attitude despite extremely wet and challenging field conditions.
The field site is located in the remote Alakai Wilderness on Kauai. Access to the site will be by helicopter and/or hiking 7 miles of forest trail. The weather varies from beautiful sunny days to periods of heavy rainfall with the potential for flash flooding. The field camp is rustic. Weatherport sleeps 6 with little to no privacy. Meals are prepared on gas stove and drinking water is filtered from nearby streams. There is no refrigeration. Safety of the field crew is our top priority, so work will be done in pairs with GPS, radio and access to a satellite communication device, but normal phone or wifi reception is not available for the duration of the field trips. There are also opportunities for shorter trips to sites around Kauai, and day trips to less remote sites. Field equipment, raingear, and camping gear will be provided, but personal clothing and food will be the responsibility of the volunteer.
Commitment and Compensation
Opportunities can be as short as one two-week trip, or one month and longer stints bridging two trips (2 months). There may be opportunities for shorter trips for those already on-island. Volunteers will be provided lodging while not in the field, i.e. before and after trips, but long-term housing is not available. No travel or other monetary compensation can be provided at this time.
Application and Dates
Please send a resume, and three references to Bryn at firstname.lastname@example.org Volunteers are needed as soon as September 16th, 2018 through February 2019.
Applicants should provide references that can attest to their ability to hike several miles a day through a challenging environment while carrying a heavy pack. Experience with remote camping for extended field trips is required, and college level study in conservation, ecology, and the scientific method is preferred.