VOLUNTEER FIELD ASSISTANTS (2): behavioral ecology of lance-tailed manakins in Panama

Florida State University
Isla Boca Brava, Panama
Job Category
Volunteer Openings
$500 honorarium, living and food expenses, reimbursement of airfare upon completion of the field season
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
Positions are available 15 Feb to 15 Jun 2018 for an ongoing behavioral study of female mate choice and male display behavior in lance-tailed manakins (Chiroxiphia lanceolata) in Panama. Females of this small, lekking bird “shop” among males that display in cooperative pairs on dispersed display territories. Successful applicants will be involved in work 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. Responsibilities include 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. Experience in one or more of these areas is strongly preferred. Applicants should have a very strong interest in animal behavior, birds, and field biology. The full field crew includes 4-5 adults and one five-year-old (!) who 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: experience working in isolated field settings and/or shared living situations with little privacy is highly desirable.
Applicants should be enthusiastic, physically fit, and emotionally grounded. 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. A sense of humor, ability to work independently, and willingness to accommodate unpredictable changes is especially important (you saw that the research team includes a 5-year-old child, right?). Conversational Spanish ability is strongly preferred for this position. Assistants are also required to complete online animal care and use training shortly after being hired. Food, housing, and required transportation within Panama will be provided, as well as a $500 honorarium upon completion of the field season to help defray costs of health insurance and personal purchases. Assistants will be reimbursed for round-trip airfare to Panama City, Panama (up to $750) upon completion of the field season, and will need to provide their own snake gaiters. Food, housing, and required transportation within Panama will be provided. For more information on the research, see (URL: http://www.bio.fsu.edu/faculty-duval.php). Panamanian citizens are encouraged to apply, and assistants not requiring airfare to reach the Republic of Panama would receive a modestly increased personal honorarium. To apply, send: 1) cover letter explaining your motivation and suitability to work on this project, 2) resume, and 3) email and phone numbers of three references familiar with your field skills, personality, and motivation to: DR. EMILY DUVAL and ELLIOT SCHUNKE, Florida State University Department of Biological Science, (EM: Elliot. schunke AT gmail.com). Please use the subject line “Lance-tailed Manakin field assistant application.” Review of applications will continue until positions are filled.
Contact Person
Elliot Schunke and Emily DuVal
Contact eMail
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