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  • Seabird GPS Tracking Research Assistant

    Guest Paula Shannon
    • Employer: Audubon Seabird Institute
      Location: Maine coast islands
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 03/31/2023
      Open Until Filled: No

    Position starts mid-May, and ends late-September, exact dates flexible.

    Position Description:  Audubon's Seabird Institute is conducting a study on the movement ecology of terns and storm-petrels in the Gulf of Maine. The project is using miniature GPS devices attached to seabirds to record foraging tracks during the nesting season, as well as movements during the staging, migration, and wintering periods. This study will occur alongside the Seabird Institute’s long-term seabird monitoring and management work, and the research assistant will work closely with a graduate student carrying out this work as part of PhD research.

    From mid-May until August, the research assistant will work on several islands in Maine and duties include: assisting with the capture of birds at nests and deployment of GPS tags;  banding and taking basic measurements;  recapturing previously tagged birds and removing tags; downloading data and reprogramming tags as needed; monitoring breeding birds; conducting observations from bird blinds using spotting scopes and binoculars; and managing data.

    From August through September the research assistant will relocate to Cape Cod, Massachusetts to track staging Common and Roseate Terns. Applicants with access to a vehicle preferred (work mileage reimbursed), but those without access to a personal vehicle will be considered.  Much of this work will be conducted under minimal supervision and the technician must be comfortable working independently.

    Primitive camping and working on offshore islands is required.  Food is provided, as well as housing on the mainland when moving between island field sites and in Cape Cod. The island field stations will have limited electricity (solar panels power research needs), propane stoves, composting toilet, and no running water (rainwater is collected for washing; drinking water is brought from the mainland).

    Compensation: $550-665/wk DOE plus food and housing


    • Experience with bird capture, handling, and banding.  Experience with data-logging telemetry tags and tag attachment techniques is a plus;
    • Comfortable living and working with others on remote islands with limited amenities;
    • Excellent physical condition (capable of climbing over rugged terrain and slippery rocks and able to lift approximately 50 lbs.);
    • Wilderness camping experience;
    • Ability to work independently and as part of a team, and to get along with people of diverse backgrounds;
    • Capable of working long hours outdoors in variable weather conditions;
    • Must be able to sit in a small blind for extended portions of the day and maintain focus on data collection;
    • Comfortable on the water in small boats
    • Having access to a personal vehicle is preferable (work mileage reimbursed)

    To apply: submit resume and cover letter for the Seabird GPS Tracking Research Assistant position on the Audubon website at https://careers-audubon.icims.com/jobs/5306/seabird-gps-tracking-research-assistant/job.  For questions about the position contact Keenan Yakola, kyakola@gmail.com and Paula Shannon, paula.shannon@audubon.org.  Application deadline is March 31, 2023 but the position may be filled earlier.

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