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    Avian Field Technician


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    • Employer: West Virginia University
      Location: Allegheny National Forest, Pennsylvania
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 05/01/2019
      Open Until Filled: Yes

    Seeking a highly motivated field technician to assist with mist netting, insect trapping, fruit surveys, and vegetation surveys from July 15th to October 31st. The technician will be participating in a project assessing the impacts of spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii Matsumura, SWD), a nonnative invasive insect pest of fruiting plants, on forest bird communities. Extensive damage to fruits of many forest plants due to SWD might significantly reduce food resources available for wildlife, which could have dramatic, negative consequences for fruit-consuming species, especially frugivorous birds.

    Field work will be conducted at Allegheny National Forest (ANF) in northwestern Pennsylvania. Daily work will consist of early mornings (waking up before dawn to prepare field gear), mist netting beginning at dawn for 4-5 hours (weather permitting), conducting fruit and vegetation surveys afterwards, and processing fruit samples and fly traps following field work. Field work will require extensive walking on hot summer days with little cover through dense, difficult-to-traverse vegetation including large bramble patches. The ideal applicant will need to be physically fit, able to work long days, flexible with day-to-day tasks, and comfortable working both with others and independently. While the applicant will be working closely with the grad student leading the project, they will need to be able to run nets, extract birds, and band birds without supervision. The ideal applicant will also bring a positive attitude, a hard work ethic, and enthusiasm for avian ecology research. In addition to early and long days, the applicant can expect to work at least 5-7 days per week (including weekends), with days off for inclement weather. Housing and field vehicle will be on-site and provided through the project, though cell service and internet might be limited.

    Primary Duties: Set up mist-nets, conduct net runs, and extract birds safely and quickly; Band, age, and sex birds, and collect multiple morphological measurements; Conduct fruiting plant surveys following mist-netting; Preparing, erecting, and collecting fruit fly traps; Conduct vegetation surveys simultaneous with fruit surveys. Additional duties will include data entry and data proofing, processing fruit samples for parasitism by SWD, and sorting adult fly samples from fly traps

    Qualifications: Previous experience mist netting, banding, and ageing/sexing birds,  Ability to identify eastern U.S. bird species (especially during migration), Possess (or working towards) a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife science, natural resources, or a similar field, Comfortable working in a remote outdoor setting, Valid driver’s license with a clean driving record. Northeastern fruiting plant species ID skills and experience with taking bird measurements are also highly desirable.

    Dates: Flexible, but expected to start July 15th and end by October 31st.

    Salary: $1600/month; field housing and work vehicle provided.

    To apply, please email 1) a cover letter outlining relevant work experiences with mist netting passerines in forest ecosystems, 2) resume/CV, and 3) contact information for 3 references to Dan Roche at dpr0008@mix.wvu.edu. Applications will be reviewed as received. Deadline for applications will be April 31st, 2019.

    Contact Name: Dan Roche

    Contact Email: dpr0008@mix.wvu.edu

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