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  • California least tern and Western snowy plover seasonal field research monitor


    Guest Ignacio Vilchis
    • Employer: San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
      Location: Naval Base Coronado and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 01/31/2022
      Open Until Filled: No

    Our Recovery Ecology group within Wildlife Conservation Science at the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance uses ecological research to address pressing wildlife conservation problems. Our conservation toolbox includes developing and testing conservation breeding techniques, reintroduction and translocation strategies, and monitoring and management in species recovery programs. We use approaches that integrate behavioral ecology, population ecology, and spatial ecology with other disciplines. 

    Job Description

    This position is part of a team focused on research, monitoring and applied management to aid the recovery of endangered California least terns and threatened Western snowy plovers in San Diego County. Our team works on two military bases, Naval Base Coronado (NBC) and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton (MCBCP). We have eight seasonal positions open for our 2022 nesting season: three for MCBCP and five for NBC. Main goals of our work are to investigate ecological effects of changing ocean conditions and other factors on the reproductive success of terns and plovers. This position will be engaged in assisting nest monitoring, point counts, bird banding, field research and logistics, site maintenance, as well as electronic data collection. 

    Work will be conducted primarily in the field. Schedules may need to change with short notice and may begin as early as 6 am or end at dusk based on our monitoring needs for the species. Average work weeks are 40 hours during the nesting season. Some weeks may require less and others more. During peak breeding for instance, we might work as much as six days a week with >40 hours (with overtime compensation). Positions are seasonal and will last approximately 3.5 to 5 months. Positions are seasonal and will last approximately 3.5 to 5 months. Start dates are late March or early April. We ask for a commitment until early July, but end date is negotiable. Interested applicants will need to arrange their own housing and transportation. Field vehicles are available for field work within the beach study sites. Our field sites are not remote but native habitat is present, and you should expect field conditions that include cold or hot weather, bugs, muddy sites, lots of sand, awareness of environmental hazards (rattlesnakes, some vegetation with thorns or thick brush, and insects), and walking miles of beach habitat each day. Basic safety training will be provided. This position requires successful completion of physical ability test. 

    Application Process

    Application process is online (https://sandiegozoowildlifealliance.org/jobs/job-openings) (Req# 1674) and includes signing in or creating an account as well as completion of a variety questions to obtain information that will be used in the evaluation process. Here you will have the opportunity to upload cover letter, and résumé. We prefer a combined cover letter and résumé in one pdf.

    Time line

    Job closes on Jan 31th and will interview candidates in February. Stat date is late March/early April. 

    Salary 17.25 hourly rate

    Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

    ·      Monitoring California least tern and Western snowy plover nests, which consists of searching for nests within colonies and nesting habitats, marking them, and visiting marked nests multiple times per week to determine nest outcomes (e.g., hatched, failed, etc.)

    Assisting in completing deliverables for Base as well as federal and state permits.

    ·      Installation and maintenance of field equipment including chick pens and nest protection equipment.

    ·      Collecting data accurately and with attention to detail.

    Personal Attributes

    ·      Positive attitude and a team-centered approach to problem solving

    ·      Resourceful attitude and ability to take initiative

    ·      Excellent communication and interpersonal skills

    ·      Flexible working style, with an ability to work independently and with teams to meet project goals

    ·      Determination and commitment to conservation

    ·      Professionalism and integrity

    Working Conditions and Physical Demands:

    ·      Ability to work long hours outdoors

    ·      Ability to walk 5 to 10 miles outdoors in various beach/sandy and rugged terrain

    ·      Ability to lift 50 lbs.

    Minimum Qualifications:

    ·      B.S. in an environmental science related field (such as but not limited to ecology, zoology, or oceanography)

    ·      Monitoring/survey experience

    ·      Flexible with unexpected changes in work schedule

    ·      Ability to effectively focus on a variety of tasks to produce quality results within deadlines

    ·      Must be authorized to work in U.S. without company sponsorship.

    ·      Self-motivated and able to work well independently and as part of a field crew

    ·      Take direction and follow detailed protocols with high attention to detail

    ·      Interact positively and respectfully with members of the public, military personnel, and others

    ·      Work with discretion to collect and analyze confidential and sensitive data 

    ·      Physically fit to engage in long periods of fieldwork under variable environmental conditions (walking >10km per day in soft sand, heat, and changeable weather)

    Preferred Qualifications:

    ·      Experience monitoring seabird and shorebird colonies

    ·      Bird banding and handling experience 

    ·      Experience resighting color banded birds

    ·      Field experience with terns and/or plovers

    ·      Experience working on military instillations and/or public lands

    ·      Experience with electronic data entry systems and GNSS positioning devices

    ·      Proficiency at identifying local bird species and potential avian and mammalian predators (including evidence of predators)




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