Join Us in the Field, Summer 2016 | Field Projects International
 

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Join Us in the Field, Summer 2016

Field Projects International is announcing our Research Assistantship programs for Summer 2016!

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All programs will be held at the Los Amigos Biological Station in Southeastern Peru.

 


WILDLIFE HANDLING PROGRAM


This is a volunteer training program targeting students with an interest in wildlife handling or veterinary science. This program will train students to participate in an annual capture and release program for tamarins, wherein each participant will individually handle upwards of 25 animals of two species of primate while also gaining valuable knowledge on the natural history of 9 other primate species at this site. This program is part of an ongoing long-term tamarin monitoring project that  began in 2009.

Wildlife Handling Program Details

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Start date: June 7, 2016
Minimum stay: 5 weeks
Application deadline: April 17, 2016
Cost: $450/week. (Food, lodging, travel from Puerto Maldonado to the field station, training, and field equipment will be covered by your fee.)

At the end of this program, students will be able to:

  • Identify all materials used in an animal field processing kit
  • Collect swabs of secretions and genetic materials from the primates
  • Determine sex and appropriate age of individuals by morphological characters for two primate species
  • Appropriately handle wild primates under time constraints
  • Record temperature, pulse and respiration (TPRs) at regular intervals
  • Manipulate a weighing scale to accurately record the body mass of subjects
  • Collect, store, and process biological samples analyses of endocrinology, parasitology and reproductive physiology

Learn more: fieldprojects.org/research/wildlife-handling


PRIMATE COMMUNITY
DISEASE ECOLOGY


This training program involves primate disease ecology of 11 primate species, and hinges on collecting and analyzing the feces of each of them. We can identify an individual primate, determine its sex, tell if it is sexually mature, assess its stress level, and describe its health status (particularly in terms of parasites and disease): all from a single fecal sample.  If we collect from these primates consistently over time, we can eventually follow parasites and diseases as they spread through populations and possibly spill over between species (an exceedingly important consideration for humans).  We can also conduct population genetics on these monkeys, which – among other things – is a major tool for monitoring primate conservation status.

We are looking for highly motivated and driven field assistants. Previous experience is not required; we provide all training on site. This is a great opportunity for students interested in graduate programs or careers in biology, conservation, ecology or anthropology. This kind of fieldwork is physically demanding and requires long days of hiking and data collection, but it is incredibly rewarding.

Primate Disease Ecology Program Details

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Start dates: June 10th and July 10th, 2016
Minimum stay: 4 weeks
Application deadline: Accepted on a rolling basis
Cost: $450/week. (Food, lodging, travel from Puerto Maldonado to the field station, training, and field equipment will be covered by your fee.)

At the end of the program, research assistants will be able to:

  • Track primates by movement and vocalizations, as well as radio telemetry
  • Work off trail systems and conduct full-day follows
  • Conduct behavioral observations on known-individuals (scan and focal animal sampling)
  • Record data on feeding ecology
  • Correctly sex individual primates
  • Collect GPS data on species movements to create a large, overarching primate movement database.
  • Become proficient in collecting and storing primate fecal samples in field conditions, including participating in downstream applications like endocrinology and parasite analyses.
  • Input sample and movement information into databases for further analyses.

Learn more: fieldprojects.org/research/community-disease-ecology/


PRIMATE COMMUNICATION


This training program targets those with a strong interest in primatology or wildlife biology. We work with ~5 groups of saddleback and emperor tamarins that are individually identified and habituated to human observers. We study chemical (scent) and vocal signals used to convey information inter- and intra-specifically. With scent communication, we want to understand the mechanisms that underlie the behavioral and physiological phenomenon known as reproductive suppression.  What forms of communication from dominant female are responsible for suppressing maturation of subordinate females? As for vocal communication, we are interested in the function of vocal communication in reproduction, dispersal, and the location of mates.

Primate Communication Program Details

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Start dates: June 10th and July 10th, 2016
Minimum stay: 6 weeks
Application deadline: Accepted on a rolling basis
Cost: $450/week. (Food, lodging, travel from Puerto Maldonado to the field station, training, and field equipment will be covered by your fee.)

At the end of the program, research assistants will be able to:

  • Comfortably and safely work on and off trail systems
  • Conduct half and full-day follows of these miniature primates
  • Learn to identify primates based on individual identification markers
  • Track primates by movement and vocalizations
  • Become well-versed in scan and focal animal behavior sampling protocols
  • Use radio telemetry systems
  • Operate high pitch audio recording systems and use audio analyzing software
  • Learn how to collate data collected into a usable database for further analyses
  • Record data ad libitum on several unique behaviors such as mating, aggression, competition, and grooming
  • Identify life-stages of the tamarins, and specific behaviors particular to those time stages

Learn more: fieldprojects.org/research/primate-communication/


SENSORY PERCEPTION PROGRAM


This program examines sensory perception in neotropical primates (aka platyrrhines), in part because they have an interesting sex-linked color vision disparity. Excluding howler monkeys, male platyrrhines are all dichromatic, meaning they can discern only two wavelengths. On the other hand, about half of all the females have trichromatic vision, which allows them to perceive three wavelengths on the light spectrum. This phenomenon allows us to design experiments in the field, such as testing what senses primates use to select ripe fruit, for example.

Sensory Perception Program Details

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Start dates: Every Tuesday beginning June 7th until final start date of July 12, 2016
Minimum stay: 4 weeks
Application deadline: Accepted on a rolling basis
Cost: $450/week. (Food, lodging, travel from Puerto Maldonado to the field station, training, and field equipment will be covered by your fee.)

At the end of the program, research assistants will be able to:

  • Record focal behavioral data
  • Work with video recording equipment
  • Complete basic video edits
  • Understand relational databases
  • Perform basic behavioral data analyses
  • Recognize all 11 species of primate at our field site
  • Distinguish species-specific vocalizations
  • Gain a general knowledge about rainforest ecology

Learn more: fieldprojects.org/research/sensory-experiments/

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