FIELD ASSISTANT FOR HOST-PARASITOID INTERACTION PROJECT IN WESTERN OAK SAVANNAS led by Dr. Kirsten Prior at Binghamton University SUNY (priorecologylab.com). The assistant will work as a part of a team on a project examining host-parasitoid interactions in oak gall-wasp communities in western oak savanna ecosystems. The study sites are spread throughout western North America (from Northern California up to Vancouver Island, British Columbia). The base of operations will be around Olympia Washington, with regular sampling trips to Oregon, Northern California, and likely 1-2 trips up to Vancouver Island. The assistant will live with the field team in shared provided housing in Olympia, WA, but will camping for several days at a time while working at further field sites.
Duties will involve daily travel to and from field sites, collecting oak gall-wasps from trees, sorting and rearing galls and gall emergents, collecting other spatial and environmental data at sites, and data entry and processing. Given the nature of conducting time-sensitive surveys in the field, and the logistics of traveling to several regions, the work schedule will be flexible, and work hours will depend on when tasks need to be completed and on weather conditions. Thus, the candidate should be able to work on a flexible schedule (not a M-F, 9-5 schedule). The candidate needs to like to spend time outdoors, be comfortable hiking long distances on hilly terrain, be able to drive and travel considerable distances in a vehicle, willing to camp for several nights at a time, to work well in a team, and to maintain a positive disposition under challenging field conditions.
Qualifications: 1) A Bachelor’s degree in biology, ecology & evolution, entomology, or a related field. 2) Previous field research experience (experience working remotely at a field site or station is a plus, but not a requirement). 3) Have an interest in ecology & evolution or entomology. 4) Be mature, highly responsible, flexible, dedicated, and motivated. 5) Be able to work well as a part of a team and to live and work well with others. 6) Be willing and able to work long irregular hours outside in remote conditions. 7) Be able to hike long distances and in hilly terrain. 8) Must have a driver’s license and a passport.
Accommodations will be provided in a shared residence in Olympia, WA, along with a monthly stipend. A field vehicle will also be provided. Ideal work dates from May 1st to July 31st, but dates can be somewhat flexible. Ideally the candidate will travel with the field vehicle from New York to the west coast (travel costs will be covered); however, this depends on the current location of the applicant.
To apply send (1) a cover letter explaining why you are interested in the position and list your relevant qualifications; (2) a CV or resume; (3) the names and contact information (email and phone number) for three references. Email the document as a single PDF file (file name should include your last name) to Kirsten Prior (email@example.com) with “western savanna field assistant position” in the subject line. We will begin reviewing applicants on February 15th – please apply by March 1st for full consideration.