Type: Temporary/Seasonal Position
Salary: $700 per month plus housing, utilities, shared use of vehicle, and flight to Panama (not to exceed $700)
Start date: ~January 8, 2024
End date: ~June 7, 2024
Seeking field technicians to work on a project in central Panama studying army ants and ant-following birds. The project investigates how species share resources at ant swarms, how species vary in their roles within a swarm, and how communities respond to species loss. Additionally, the project aims to deepen our understanding of how swarm attendance by birds varies on spatial and temporal scales, as well as our basic understanding of army ant ecology. Fieldwork will include locating and tracking ant swarms, point counts and behavioral observations of birds at swarms, and mist netting birds at swarms. Data entry and equipment maintenance will also be required. Work will be five days a week, and technicians will be expected to enter data upon returning from the field. Candidates selected for this position will work on a field crew with several people, including other technicians and a graduate student. The crew will live in Gamboa, Panama, home of one of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s research facilities. Gamboa is a small town along the Panama Canal located 45 minutes outside of Panama City. It is a diverse community with many international researchers.
Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in biology, natural resources, wildlife management, ecology or a related field. Applicants must be responsible, organized, and comfortable living and working as a team. An enthusiasm for research and fieldwork is essential, as are patience, a strong work ethic, and strong communication skills. This project is demanding and takes place in challenging, remote conditions. Attention to safety is a must, as are resilience and a sense of humor in the face of challenging situations. Applicants must be in good physical condition and be able to handle steep terrain, biting insects, hot, humid conditions, and nighttime fieldwork. Applicants should also be comfortable working alone and with a group. If it sounds like hard work, it is. However, it can be extremely rewarding working in this team environment to answer questions about an understudied system.
Candidates must have experience in one of the following: point counts, behavioral observations, or mist netting of passerine birds. Ideal candidates would have experience in all three, as well as experience conducting research in the tropics. Candidates with experience driving manual transmission in muddy, off-road conditions will be given priority. Proficiency in Spanish and English is ideal, as the crew will likely be bilingual. International applicants are encouraged to apply.
Contact: Applications must include a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and contact information (email and phone) for 3 references familiar with your fieldwork experience as a single PDF. To apply, please fill out the following google form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfsGoyS6BwD1SoKks305CZ0Mtx9y0l9v_QVDEaWehAXVIxQAw/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1&flr=0.