Waterbird Breeding Ecology Study at Arctic NWR-Alaska

Agency
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Location
Arctic Refuge, Alaska
Job Category
Temporary/Seasonal Positions
Salary
DOE
Start Date
05/21/2018
Last Date to Apply
05/07/2018
Description
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is currently assessing interest for two positions. One investigating the breeding ecology and limiting factors of tundra nesting birds (including shorebirds, geese, eider, loons, gulls, and passerines) along the Canning River delta and the second investigating the breeding ecology and limiting factors of Common Eiders on barrier islands in the Beaufort Sea. Position 1: Work will occur at a remote research camp along the Canning River in Arctic Refuge which offers amazing birding and arctic wildlife viewing opportunities. The position will begin mid-late May for training in Fairbanks before leaving for the field the first week of June. Field work will conclude late July to be followed by data management and equipment organization in Fairbanks until the beginning of August. Positions have the possibility for extension into the fall or spring depending on applicant’s interest, project necessity, and funding. The Canning River Delta study site in Arctic Refuge was established in the late 1970s and has since become the primary tundra nesting bird research station for the refuge. This is a collaborative project, and the crew will include up to 10 scientists and technicians from Manomet Inc. (https://www.manomet.org), ANWR (https://www.fws.gov/refuge/arctic), graduate students from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and interns / volunteers. Field work will involve setup and maintenance of the remote camp, nest searching, trapping, measuring, banding shorebirds and waterfowl, collecting tissue samples, and monitoring nests with time-lapse cameras. There will also be opportunities to engage with scientists working at the camp on lemmings, Arctic foxes, water quality, and botany projects. Field assistants typically work 12 hours/day, 7 days/week while in the field. The intern will be treated as a member of the broader team and will be involved in all aspects of the project. Field Conditions: The intern will be at the remote field camp from early June through mid-July and there will not be opportunities to take leave during that period. Conditions will generally be cold, windy, and buggy. Access to the site is by small single engine aircraft or helicopter. Camp life will be remote and primitive (tents only). During periods of bad weather, staff can be cut-off from any outside help for several days. Assistants will be required to carry firearms in the field for bear protection. Excellent physical condition is necessary to meet the strenuous demands. Crews work 7 days a week and will be exposed to long days hiking (up to 15-20 miles per day) in waders over very uneven tundra and wetlands while carrying a heavy backpack; it will be necessary to wade through icy ponds to access nests. The weather will be cold, wet, and windy (daytime highs in early June are generally around freezing and winds usually a constant 15-25 mph with many gusty days of constant 25-30 mph winds). There will also be LOTS of mosquitoes later in June and July. Candidates should have a strong interest in bird ecology, a desire to live in a remote field camp with almost no contact with the outside world for 6 weeks, and the ability to maintain a positive attitude and work well with others under difficult field conditions. Position 2: In partnership with the Student Conservation Association (SCA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is currently accepting applications for an internship on a project investigating the breeding ecology and limiting factors of Common Eiders breeding on barrier islands in the Beaufort Sea. Applications will be reviewed as they are received and the position will be filled as soon as possible. The position will begin in late May or early June and continue through August. There may also be an opportunity to extend the position through spring 2018. Field work will occur both at remote spike camps on the Arctic Refuge Beaufort Sea coast and from the village of Kaktovik, AK. All field work will be done by accessing islands using small (16-20’) inflatable boats. The crew will consist of 2 University of Alaska graduate students and 1-2 interns. Field work will involve daily travel by boat to and from islands, nest searching, trapping breeding hens, measuring and banding birds, collecting tissue samples, and monitoring nests with time-lapse cameras. We will also capture post-breeding sea ducks using floating mist-nets to screen for disease. Field assistants typically work 7 days/week, 10+ hours/day while in the field and 5-6 days/week while in the Fairbanks office. Interns will be involved in all aspects of the project, including field work and setup and maintenance of camps and gear at remote sites. Before the field season, the intern will attend training, organize gear, and help with logistics at the Fairbanks office. After the field season, the intern will assist with data entry, video analysis, and maintenance of field gear at the Fairbanks office. Field conditions: It will be cold, windy, and wet. Boating will involve navigating the ice-choked Beaufort Sea in small inflatable boats up to 100 km from the nearest village. Crews will generally travel along the coast for 1-2 weeks at a time camping along the way. Spike camp life will be remote and primitive with no access to the outside world except for a satellite phone. During periods of bad weather, staff can be cut-off from any outside help for several days. Assistants will be required to carry firearms in the field for polar bear protection. Excellent physical condition is necessary to meet the strenuous demands. Crews will be exposed to long days hiking in waders (up to 15+ miles per day); cold, wet, windy weather; and traveling in unpredictable seas.
Qualifications
Requirements: • Strong interest in avian ecology • A desire to live in a remote field setting • The ability to maintain a positive attitude and work well with others under difficult field conditions • Willingness, physical ability, and desire to hike over uneven terrain carrying a 30 lb pack for 15 miles+ per day, 7 days a week. • Available late May/early June to early-mid August 2018 • US Citizen, Permanent Resident, or otherwise permissible to work in the US • We expect to fill an additional graduate position on the project in the near future, so please indicate if you have plans to pursue graduate education. Desired Qualifications: • Knowledge of the principles of waterfowl and shorebird biology and ecology, sufficient to complete field projects. • Marine boating experience • Electrical and mechanical skills, survival training, and extensive backcountry experience • Knowledge of nest searching, capturing, handling, banding, and collecting blood samples from waterfowl and shorebirds. • Experience working on field crews on avian biology studies or extensive subsistence hunting and fishing. • Experience living and working in remote field camps for extended periods where work conditions are hazardous and there is no immediate access to medical assistance. • Experience using a firearm for hunting, in the military, or for bear defense while conducting field work. Process: To apply, please email a letter of interest, resume, unofficial transcript, and completed questionnaire in a single document to Elyssa Watford (emwatford@alaska.edu) and Christopher Latty (Christopher_latty@fws.gov). Please title the email, “Interest in 2018 Tundra Nesting Bird Project”. Emails will be reviewed as they are received so we encourage those interested in the position to send the documents AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Please feel free to contact Elyssa Watford or Christopher Latty with any questions. Questionnaire: Do you have any reason to believe you will be unable to pass an FBI background check (necessary for partner computer access and carrying a firearm); this would include being convicted of a felony or misdemeanor crime of domestic violence? For each task in the following group, please BRIEFLY state your level of experience/expertise. For questions about animal handling, please state the number of individuals handled for that activity. 1. Identify North American waterfowl by sight. 2. Identify North American shorebirds by sight. 3. Use a shotgun or rifle. 4. Conduct nest searching for waterfowl. 5. Conduct nest searching for shorebirds. 6. Band waterfowl with leg bands. 7. Band shorebirds with metal and plastic leg bands and flags. 8. Collect blood samples from birds. 9. Use nest cameras to collect bird behavior data. 10. Conduct small mammal and mesocarnivore trapping. 11. Enter and proof field data into a tablet (e.g. using Arc Collector, Trimble Terrasync, etc). 12. Work as part of a small team to collect biological data. 13. Follow detailed data collection protocols for research projects. 14. Work in remote and primitive field camps. 15. Operate outboard motorboats in unpredictable seas.
Contact Person
Elyssa Watford
Contact eMail
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