Seabird scientist – Tetiaroa, French Polynesia

University of Washington
Tetiaroa, French Polynesia
Job Category
Temporary/Seasonal Positions
$3,300 / month + housing and benefits
Last Date to Apply
The UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences has an outstanding opportunity open for a Temporary Research Scientist/Engineer - Assistant. This position is part of a team focused on marine bird ecology. The team is working at Tetiaroa Atoll, French Polynesia, a private atoll comprised of 12 small islets (motus) that is home to 10 seabird species. Seabirds on the atoll are threatened by invasive rats, a serious conservation problem throughout the world’s islands. In order to investigate the ecological effects of both rat eradication and changing ocean conditions, this position will be engaged in collection of data on bird demography and behavior before, during, and after the eradication. Baseline data collection will include habitat surveys, nest monitoring, point counts, and bird banding With this research project, the team will undertake an evaluation of the effects of rat eradication on seabirds at Tetiaroa, by examining both distribution and reproductive success of seabirds in the system, pre- and post-eradication. The team also will lay the groundwork for a longer-term study of the combined effects of rat eradication and changing ocean conditions on seabirds in this system, as interactions with changing ocean conditions are expected to be the major remaining threat to seabirds at Tetiaroa in the wake of rat eradication. We currently have plans to visit the atoll with a team of 3-5 people during 2-week stints for more intensive work twice per year. This position will live on Tetiaroa for the duration of the appointment and will lead field work, data collection, and data entry, working closely with employees of the Tetiaroa Society, a non-profit organization focused on science and conservation at atoll, and participating in the work undertaken by the larger UW team during the periodic 2-week visits RESPONSIBILITIES The person in this position will collect data on 11 of the 12 islets and will travel daily from the inhabited islet to the other islets for fieldwork in a small boat operated by Tetiaroa Society staff. Data collection will include: 1) monitoring seabird nests, which consists of sampling nests in nesting colonies, marking them, and then visiting marked nests multiple times per week to determine nest outcomes (e.g., hatched, failed, etc.); 2) collecting habitat data, which consists of going to randomly selected sites across the atoll to collect data on plant structure using a Daubenmire frame and spherical photography; 3) maintaining audio monitoring stations, consisting of placing audio monitoring equipment at randomly selected sites and periodically revisiting to swap batteries and download data; and 4) when the larger UW team is visiting, participating in physical captures of birds for purposes of banding.
REQUIREMENTS Bachelor’s degree in biology, ecology or related field and less than one year’s experience in field work. • Ability to take safety into account in planning field work (first aid training will be provided); • Ability to use a GPS device for navigation; • Ability to swim; • Ability to accurately and completely record field data. *Training in specific field skills will be provided.* DESIRED EXPERIENCE • Avian field work, including nest monitoring, habitat surveys, and bird banding; • Data entry and management software such as Microsoft Access or Excel; and • The ability to operate small boats inside the atoll. This position is open until filled - but we are looking to start someone as soon as possible.
Contact Person
Sarah Converse
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