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  • Field Assistants: Parakeet Sociality

    Elizabeth Hobson
    • Employer: Hobson Lab
      Location: Gainesville, FL
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 02/15/2020
      Open Until Filled: Yes

    Recruiting field assistants for March 2020!

    I am currently recruiting 3-4 field assistants to collect data and run social experiments with Monk Parakeets. The goal of this project is to determine how social groups respond to perturbations. We will allow parakeets to interact in a group in a large semi-natural flight pen and collect observations of social interactions in order to quantify social structures like dominance hierarchies and affiliation networks. Once social structure has formed and stabilized, we will perturb the system by removing one of the individuals from the group and determine how the group responds. We will also be conducting playback experiments to test how individuals may be attracted to or repulsed by audio recordings. 


    Duties will involve catching and handling captive parakeets, long days of social observation and data collection on social interactions, running social experiments, and processing data. While this is a captive population, the flight pen is outdoors, so field assistants will need to be able to deal with weather, the possibility of bugs/snakes, and long days outdoors. The field assistants will work under the guidance and supervision of Hobson Lab Postdoctoral Researcher Annemarie van der Marel, with additional training and support from Dr. Hobson. Dr. van der Marel will lead the field crew and will be in residence for the field season; Dr. Hobson will help with setup and training in the initial part of the field season. Field assistants will be considered “independent contractors” and will not have any association with the University of Cincinnati.


    I am searching for reliable, hard-working field assistants that are capable of working both independently and in teams. The basic qualifications are an interest in social interactions, keen observational skills, and the patience and resourcefulness to thrive in field conditions. Field assistants should be able to lift equipment (~40 pounds max) and carry it short distances, be able to walk over loose sandy ground, be able to sit still for long periods of time, quietly and attentively observing behavior, be able to reliably record high quality data, and to work well as part of the team. Animal handling experience (especially handling birds, and any mist-netting/banding experience) are desired, but people without these skills can be trained. All field assistants must complete an online CITI training course prior to starting work and provide documentation of course completion. Due to university regulations covering these hires, applicants need to be US citizens.

    People interested in research questions about social structure, information, recognition, cognition, and memory are particularly encouraged to apply, as are people who may be interested in eventually joining the Hobson Lab.


    Gainesville, Florida


    Reimbursement of up to $500 for travel costs

    Shared housing for crew members

    Monthly stipend = $1500 per month


    People interested in the field assistant positions should enter their information into this form: https://forms.gle/Rj5iLNuL71UeAATT8.

    Applicants should be prepared to answer questions about their interest in the project, their relevant previous experiences, upload a current CV in pdf form, and enter the names of 2-3 references who will be contacted for finalists.

    ** Highly qualified candidates will be contacted on a rolling basis as soon as the position is advertised **

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