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  • Research Assistant - Tern and Plover

    • Employer: San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research
      Location: Naval Base Coronado, Coronado, CA
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 01/19/2020
      Open Until Filled: No

    ***Must apply at https://zoo.sandiegozoo.org/jobs. Emailed applications will not be accepted or considered.***

    Location: Institute for Conservation Research - Recovery Ecology Group – (Naval Base Coronado) Duration: Seasonal/temporary - Full Time 3 - 5 months (March - July 2020) Positions available: 4 Non-Union position: Starting hourly rate $17.00 and commensurate with experience Application Deadline: Sunday, January 19, 2020

    PLEASE NOTE: Other Research Assistant positions are also available at Navy Base Coronado. However, applicants should submit applications under ONE preferred site, but will be able to note their preference and willingness to work at either location during interviews. Please avoid submitting duplicate applications for these postings.

    **A combined cover letter and résumé for this position is highly recommended. The cover letter/résumé should specifically address qualifications for this position and can be uploaded during the application process.**

    PRIMARY PURPOSE The Research Assistant assists with the gathering and analysis of research data from the laboratory or the field; and attends to the care of research collections of animals, plants, or biological samples. This position reports to the Conservation Program Manager for Terns and Plovers at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. The Terns and Plovers team in Recovery Ecology conducts research, monitoring and applied management to aid the recovery of endangered California Least Terns and threatened Western Snowy Plovers at important coastal sites in San Diego County. Research Assistants will work with the team to monitor the status and reproductive success of these two species. Work will include implementing field methods and assisting with research projects, logistics, outreach, site maintenance, data collection, and program support components. Work will be conducted primarily in the field, with some occasional work at other sites, at the Institute for Conservation Research, at San Diego Zoo, and at other facilities. The schedule 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. We anticipate Research Assistants to work 40 hours per week on average during the peak nesting season. During some weeks, however, assistants will work less than 40 hours, and during peak breeding season weeks, Assistants may work as much as six days a week and more than 40 hours (overtime with compensation). Hours will include some weekend shifts for outreach, field monitoring activities, and occasional data entry, analyses, writing, and/or other office or lab work. Interested applicants should expect to arrange their own housing and transportation; a field vehicle is provided for the field crew to work within the beach study sites. Positions are seasonal and will last approximately 3.5 to 5 months. Start dates are late March or early April. A commitment until early July is required as a minimum, but end date is negotiable. Our field sites are not remote but native habitat is present, and Assistants should expect field conditions that include cold or hot weather conditions, some bugs, muddy sites, awareness of environmental hazards (rattlesnakes, some vegetation with thorns or thick brush, and insects), and walking a few miles on beach habitat each day. Basic safety training will be provided.

    ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS Research Assistants will be required to assist with daily monitoring to locate tern and plover nests and to monitor productivity, assist with research projects, and conduct behavioral observations of shorebirds, seabirds, and predators. Applicants will also document human disturbance and predation. Research Assistants will be required to interact with military personnel and the public regarding range regulations and to inform others about the birds in a positive and professional manner. Applicants will conduct data collection using electronic systems with a high level of accuracy, and use GPS units, tablets, and basic tools for site maintenance; training will be provided. Research Assistants will report issues or needs to senior program personnel, and will participate in outreach activities, showing commitment and passion for conservation.

    REPRESENTATIVE DUTIES Based on the assignment, performs field and office duties, animal care (such as measurements, banding, or transport of eggs or birds to captive-rearing and rehabilitation facilities), sample collection, data analyses, assisting with reporting and articles, site and equipment maintenance (with training provided), and other duties. ANCILLARY FUNCTIONS Performs related duties and responsibilities as required

    QUALIFICATIONS Must have a Bachelor's degree in biological sciences or related field, Must have at least one year of field experience, and ideally, working with shorebirds and/or seabirds, At least one of year experience working with a conservation or environmental organization, or in environmental education, may be considered in lieu of some wildlife experience, Must be a United States Citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card holder), as positions are short-term (seasonal), Ability to be self-motivated and able to work well independently and as part of a field crew, Ability to take direction and follow detailed protocols with high attention to detail, Ability to interact positively and respectfully with members of the public, military personnel, and with team members, Ability to 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 many miles per day in soft sand, heat, and changeable weather), Flexibility and willingness to work at other study sites as required, Willingness to work at some field sites in native habitat, without facilities (e.g., sites without restrooms or drinking water), Experience with additional field research or wildlife management programs as an employee or volunteer, Knowledge of local predators in California (raptors, mammals and other species), A valid California driver’s license (if out of state, you will be required to get one)

    Although not essential, the following qualifications are beneficial:

    o Field experience with terns and/or plovers o Bird banding and handling experience o Experience resighting color banded birds o Experience working on military instillations and/or public lands o Experience with electronic data entry systems o Proficiency at identifying local bird species and potential avian and mammalian predators (including evidence of predators)

    WORKING ENVIRONMENT Assignments involve working outdoors with wild animals in varying weather conditions, possible exposure to zoonotic diseases, radiation, and potentially hazardous chemicals and materials, and working with sharp instruments.

    PHYSICAL DEMANDS Some assignments require the ability to move moderately heavy objects approximately 25-40 pounds; travel maybe required.


    SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL IS AN EEO/AA/DISABILITY/PROTECTED VETERAN EMPLOYER – San Diego Zoo Global makes every effort to ensure equal employment opportunities for all individuals and abides by EEO and nondiscrimination provisions of all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations. If you require a reasonable accommodation to complete an application, please email your request to sdzgcareers@sandiegozoo.org and provide the job title and location to which you are applying.

    All New Hires are subject to passing a drug screen and some employment is contingent upon passing pre-placement testing.

    Contact Person

    Travis Wooten or Gabriela Ibarguchi

    Contact eMail


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