I am seeking 1-2 volunteers to assist on a doctoral research project investigating the response of bird communities to forest fragmentation and conversion to oil palm plantations. Volunteers will assist with mist-netting and banding birds across a land use gradient in lowland Borneo between March and June 2018 (start and end dates flexible). Our sites are located in logged forests, logged forest fragments, and in oil palm plantations. A normal field day consists of waking up very early in the morning to travel to the banding site. Banding begins shortly after sunrise and continues for 6 hours. Volunteers will be expected to help clear net lanes, set up and take down mist-nets, extract birds from nets, as well as band and measure captured birds. We normally return to the field station/camp around 1 or 2 pm. Volunteers will usually have the remainder of the day free. In addition to training on mist netting and bird banding techniques, I am happy to work with volunteers on independent research projects and other ways to make the most out of this experience. This could be a great opportunity for someone considering graduate school to obtain research experience (and possibly publish their work).
The most essential requirement is the ability to live and work in challenging field conditions while maintaining a positive attitude. Volunteers should be in good physical condition, as we will be walking anywhere from 1-5 miles per day over hilly terrain through dense vegetation. Volunteers should be comfortable living and working in very isolated locations. While prior bird banding experience is a benefit, it is not necessary. Volunteers should have some experience with field work.
Lowland Borneo is hot, humid, and fairly buggy (mosquitos and leeches). The land leeches can be very bad at some banding sites. The terrain is hilly and muddy, with dense secondary vegetation to navigate through at many sites. Tropical field work is not for everyone, even seasoned field biologists.
Our time will be split between a research station in the middle of a selectively logged forest and at field housing in an oil palm plantation. The research station is home to other scientists studying a variety of topics. Accommodation is fairly rustic, with cold showers and limited internet. While there is a cook at the research station, we will be preparing our own food at the oil palm plantation field housing.
If you can get past the challenges, then this will be a life changing experience (hopefully in a good way!). This position is a great opportunity to work with some of the most amazing birds in the world. Our regular captures include sunbirds, babblers, and bulbuls, with some rarer captures including kingfishers, trogons, and pittas. We regularly encounter orangutans, red-leaf monkeys, and gibbons, as well as bearded pigs, civets, sambar deer, and mouse deer. We even have occasional Asian elephant sightings! The biodiversity and wild areas of Borneo are incredible to experience.
Please feel free to email with any questions!
In this position we cover station fees, food, and transportation to and from the field site. Salaries and airfare to Tawau , Malaysia (Sabah Borneo) are not provided.
How to apply:
To apply, please email a cover letter and CV outlining your experience with field work and bird banding (if any). Please include the contact for 3 references at the end of your CV and send the requested material to (EM: firstname.lastname@example.org).
January 23, 2019. Please apply as soon as possible.