VOLUNTEER FIELD RESEARCH ASSISTANT: An assistant is needed to aid in investigating cooperative breeding and joint-nesting behaviour in the Pukeko (Porphyrio melanotus melanotus), a rail native to New Zealand. Assistance is required to conduct a variety of field duties in Tawharanui, New Zealand for a minimum three-month commitment within the period of mid-August to mid-December 2019. This position is ideally suited for applicants seeking broad and valuable field biology experience useful for future graduate studies and/or avian research. The successful candidate will receive full accommodation, food, amenities, and travel to and from New Zealand.
For more information about the type of research our lab has been conducting at our study site, please refer to the listed articles:
Dey CJ, Dale J & Quinn JS. 2014. Manipulating the appearance of a badge of status causes changes in true badge expression. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: 281, 20132680.
Quinn, J.S., J. Haselmayer, C. Dey, and I.G. Jamieson. 2012. Tolerance of female co-breeders in joint-laying pukeko: The role of egg recognition and peace incentives. Animal Behaviour 83: 1035-1041.
DESCRIPTION OF DUTIES: Briefly, the successful candidate will assist in trapping birds, which will include banding, bleeding, and measuring individuals before release. Nest searching will be a frequent and necessary task, as well as carrying out routine nest checks and carefully processing nestlings. Conducting population censuses, documenting sightings of colour-banded birds, and documenting behaviour and social interactions of birds will all be integral duties for the successful candidate.
The applicant will be required to hike off-trail across uneven terrain while carrying equipment (e.g. spotting scope). Working hours will be long and variable, although consistent time off will be allotted (typically one day off per week).
QUALIFICATIONS: Previous field experience – particularly with birds - and a strong background in animal biology is preferred but not required. We ask that applicants are in an able physical state and are willing and able to work long days in the field under sometimes adverse conditions (hot days and cold and windy days). Attentiveness, efficiency, organization, ability to problem solve, and readiness to learn and participate are compulsory. Ownership of a valid driver’s license and ability to drive manual transmission are assets.
To apply for this position, please submit applications with a cover letter, resume, and contact information for at least two references attached to Pukeko.email@example.com. Only selected candidates will be contacted by email to organize interviews.