Tallahassee FL and Isla Boca Brava, Republic of Panama
$4000 total stipend, plus food, round-trip airfare to Panama, in-country travel, and shared housing. Relocation allowance of up to $500 for travel to Tallahassee, where the manager will take part in field preparations and training for 10 days before, and data management for 10 days after the term of international fieldwork. Parking for a personal vehicle for the duration of the fieldwork and shared housing during the short-term stay in Tallahassee will be available free of charge.
15 February – 30 June, 2023
Seeking one outstanding field crew leader to direct the efforts of a 3-4 person team monitoring lance-tailed manakin social behavior at an established field site in the Republic of Panama. Crew leader will direct the 24th year of data collection for this project, continuing established protocols to maintain records of individual social status, reproductive success, and morphological variation in a color-banded population. Crew leader will train with PI Emily DuVal for the first month of the project, then manage the research team independently to accomplish field season goals, managing food purchases and the group budget, coordinating local travel with established contacts, and maintaining close communication with DuVal. The crew leader will also take part in daily data collection, including resighting color-banded birds, conducting many hour-long behavioral observations at display sites, daily maintenance of a video detection system, nest-searching through dense secondary-growth dry tropical forest, and mistnetting birds for banding and blood sampling, as well as data entry and organizational tasks.
Research goals: This project investigates male-male cooperation in courtship, and the evolutionary effects of strong sexual selection in a wild population. Females of this small, lekking bird “shop” among males that display in cooperative pairs on dispersed display areas. The field team will be investigating how male experience affects display performance and cooperative behavior, why dominant males tolerate subordinate cooperators, and how indirect genetic benefits affect female mate choice and maternal investment.
Living and working conditions: The research team will live and work on a remote island off of Panama's Pacific coast and share housing with close quarters. The site may have limited internet access and cell phone reception and unpredictable power outages. The site includes steep terrain, extreme heat and humidity, venomous snakes, and risk of tropical diseases. The field crew hikes off-trail in secondary growth tropical forest to monitor display sites and nests. Applicants should have prior experience working in isolated field settings and shared living situations with little privacy, be level-headed, resilient, and responsible. They should be enthusiastic, physically fit, and emotionally grounded, with a very strong interest in animal behavior, birds, and field biology. Expect to work long days (6am-6pm six days a week), be woken at 4 am by howler monkeys on a regular basis, and see some amazing bird behavior.
Timeline: 15 February – 30 June, 2023. The crew leader will spend 10 days training and preparing for fieldwork at Florida State University in February 2023, then travel with PI Emily DuVal to the Republic of Panama to train on-site with the full field team. Crew leader will assume full responsibility for the project activities April – June, and will return to Tallahassee for two weeks at the end of the field season to organize and analyze data, and take part in laboratory processing of collected samples with PI DuVal.
To apply, prepare: (1) a coverletter explaining your motivation and suitability to work on this project, 2) a resume/CV, and (3) email and phone numbers of three references familiar with your field skills, personality, and motivation. Upload these documents and answer the supporting questions here: https://forms.gle/ecQBtHiQsy9yESVb6
Additional questions may be directed to DR. EMILY DUVAL, Florida State University Department of Biological Science, (EM: ehduval AT bio.fsu.edu). Please use the subject line “Lance-tailed Manakin crew leader application.” Review of applications will begin November 10 and continue until positions are filled.
For more information on the research, see (http://www.bio.fsu.edu/duval/). Ongoing outreach efforts associated with this work include a live-streaming webcam of manakin activity run in collaboration with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and archived footage from last year can be viewed here: http://cams.allaboutbirds.org/channel/51/Lance-tailed_Manakin/ .
• Undergraduate degree in biology or related field
• Demonstrated leadership ability
• Expertise in bird banding.
• Experience conducting behavioral observations and/or monitoring nests.
• Ability to maintain high standards of field safety, data integrity, and communication in trying conditions.
• Must be able to resolve conflicts and achieve effective solutions in professional and personal contexts.
• Must abide by and promote standards of ethical interaction among crew members and with local residents.
• Must communicate effectively both orally and in writing, to maintain daily field notes, communication with supervisor, and daily data management for a small research team of 3-4 researchers.
• Must be able to think critically in stressful situations.
• A positive attitude and sense of humor, ability to work well both independently and in a team, and willingness to accommodate unpredictable changes are essential.
• Crew leader will be required to complete online animal care and use training shortly after being hired. Current Covid vaccination is required prior to departure for Panama.
Preferred qualifications: Fluency in Spanish. Prior experience with reading color bands on small birds, prior experience conducting behavioral observations, international travel experience, nest-searching skill, ability to collect blood samples from small passerines, and to manage data in a relational database.