Research Assistants are responsible for assisting the Project Coordinator with all aspects of the project, including managing volunteers, leading night patrols, organizing community environmental education activities, and with the station house maintenance.
Research Assistants are trained to conduct and lead nightly 3-4 hour beach patrols, in which they take biometric data from nesting sea turtles, tag their front flippers, and move their nests to a protected area if there is one available.
Other responsibilities vary among the projects, and include the following:
– Assisting in the training of new volunteers.
– Leading volunteers and tourists on night patrols.
– Conducting morning censuses to check the status of in situ nests.
– Recording physical data such as precipitation levels and temperatures.
– Building and maintaining the project hatchery.
– Monitoring the hatchery during the night and day for emerging hatchlings and intruding predators.
– Excavation of nests and collecting data on unhatched eggs.
– Community environmental education activities.
– Assist in gathering content for digital publications (social media platforms)
– Maintaining and cleaning the station house.
This is an unpaid position, Research assistants are expected to stay at the project site for the entire term for which they are selected. Terms usually last between 75 to 80 days. Preference will be given to potential applicants that meet the following requirements:
– Advanced university student or recent graduate in biological sciences or related fields.
– Conversational in Spanish and English.
– Independent, reliable, and responsible.
– Motivated and positive.
– Able to adapt to unexpected situations and unfamiliar cultures.
– Able to undertake physical labor, both during night and day in extreme weather conditions.
– Experience working within a team.
– Strong interpersonal communication skills.
– Comfortable working in the outdoors or isolated settings.
– Previous experience with sea turtles or conducting field research.
Since many of the research assistants’ responsibilities are physically demanding, they are expected to be in good physical and medical shape. Also, since our projects are in isolated locations where access to medical treatment can be challenging, participants must disclose any medical conditions or possible risks before confirming their placement with our program. It is important to keep in mind the frequent changes in entry requirements and guidelines from the Costa Rican government and the Health Ministry according to the status of COVID-19 in the country.
Participants must bring their own safety equipment and materials (face mask, soap, alcohol, etc), and travel policy/medical insurance with a duration equal to the period of stay (preferable), that covers, at least, medical expenses generated by COVID-19 and other diseases, plus lodging expenses due to quarantine if necessary.