Research Assistantship Programs in Peru (Primatology)

Field Projects International is recruiting participants interested in joining one of our research teams this summer in Southeast Peru.

Positions in each of our four programs are competitive, filled on a rolling basis, and include site fees that cover room and board, meals and snacks, and transfers between Puerto Maldonado and the field site.


This program was launched in 2012 and is now one of the most comprehensive studies of gastrointestinal parasites in South America. We employ microscopic and genetic tools to evaluate parasite infections in non-invasively collected fecal samples. Using these samples, we can identify an individual primate, determine its sex, tell if it is sexually mature, assess its stress level, and describe its health status (particularly in terms of parasites and disease). Since we are collecting samples from these primates consistently over time, we can follow parasites and diseases as they spread through populations and possibly spill over between species. We can also conduct population genetics on these monkeys, which =96 among other things =96 is a major to=

ol for monitoring primate conservation status. With baseline data on parasites from already 11 primate species at the field station where we work, we can monitor if and how climate change may be altering parasite-

host relationships.

Community Disease Ecology Program Dates for 2017:

Session one: June 1st =96 July 1st

Session two: June 16th =96 July 16th

Session three: June 30th =96 July 30th

Session four: July 14th =96 August 13th

Application deadline: April 17th, 2017, or until all program openings are full

Program fee: $1800; $450 each additional week

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This is a training program targeting students with an interest in wildlife handling, zoology, or veterinary science. Students will participate in an annual capture and release program mainly focused on tamarins (small Neotropical primates) in southeastern Peru. As part of our ongoing long-term monitoring project begun in 2009, each participant will handle upwards of 25 animals, gain valuable knowledge of their biology, learn to record morphometrics, collect and process a variety of samples, and become competent in several roles that are vital to a successful health screening program.

Wildlife Handling Program Dates for 2017

Start date: June 1st

End date: July 1st

Application deadline: April 17, 2017, or until all program openings are full

Program fee: $1800

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Tamarin mating systems are exceptionally flexible, ranging from pair-

bonded monogamy to polygamy, even within the same species. Their vocalizations, which encode information on the producer=92s age, sex, and=

reproductive status, may be integral to identifying mates and guiding dispersal. We aim to catalog the vocalizations of emperor and saddleback tamarins, and test whether calls can identify potential mates. We also collect data on adult scent gland morphology and scent-marking behavior, another main form of communication among tamarins. With olfactory communication, we want to understand the mechanisms that underlie the behavioral and physiological phenomenon known as reproductive suppression. What forms of communication from dominant females are responsible for suppressing maturation of subordinate females?

Participants will conduct full- and half-day follows of individually tagged primate troops, recording context-specific vocalizations alongside non-vocal forms of communication. Research Assistants will also learn to perform playback experiments, during which different vocalizations are played over a speaker to certain individuals and their responses are recorded.

Primate Communication Program Dates for 2017:

Session one: June 1st =96 July 15th

Session two: June 16th =96 July 30th

Application deadline: April 17, 2017, or until all program openings are full

Program fee: $2700; $450 each additional week

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Primates are often heralded as a group of mammals that rely more on their vision than their olfactory senses. Tamarins are a particularly unique subset in which to examine the role of vision because they display a sex-biased variation in trichromatic (color) vision. To probe this topic, we use feeding experiments that test the reliance of tamarins on vision, olfaction, and taste when selecting ripe fruit.  We will also be conducting playback experiments to investigate whether various tamarin alarm calls emitted in response to specific threats can be distinguished across different species, as well as using urine and scent gland compounds to determine what olfactory signals are being emitted and how they are received.

Sensory Ecology Program Dates for 2017:

Session one: June 16th =96 July 8th

Session two: June 30th =96 July 22nd

Session three: July 14th =96 August 5th

Application deadline: April 17, 2017, or until all program openings are full

Program fee: $1350; $450 each additional week

Learn more: