Buck Island Sea Turtle Research Program Research Assistant Vacancy Announcement 2015

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Buck Island Reef National Monument (BIRNM), located on the island of St. Croix, US
Virgin Islands, is seeking applicants for the position of Sea Turtle Research Assistant
(intern) to conduct sea turtle research and monitoring. This will be the 28th year of the
Buck Island Sea Turtle Research Program (BISTRP), a long-term monitoring, research,
and conservation project supported by the National Park Service (NPS), Buck Island Reef
National Monument. BIRNM is a nesting beach for hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata),
green (Chelonia mydas), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), and loggerhead (Caretta
caretta) sea turtles.

This project will be up to 12 weeks in duration beginning in mid-July 2015 (applicants
must state availability in their cover letter) and are expected to stay the length of the
project upon selection. This is a highly competitive project that is physically and mentally
intense, aimed at individuals who want to make ecology/resource management their
career. Access to the island is by boat only, where there are minimal facilities. Interns
must work equally effectively as a team and alone.

Interns will provide assistance to the NPS staff in the collection and processing of field
data. A mixture of methods will be used: night duty and day patrols. Night duty focuses
on working with animals during the laying process. During this time, all nesting turtles
will be encountered; biometric data will be collected on turtles, physical data will be
collected on nest locations, and animals will be tagged (inconel and PIT). Imperiled nests
will be relocated to mitigate risk and increase hatch success. Nests will be excavated to
determine hatch success. Day patrols will require accurate assessment of the previous
night’s nesting activities from tracks left in the sand alone. Nests that hatch will be
excavated to estimate hatching success and beach productivity. Throughout the project
interns will be required to perform data entry, and equipment maintenance.

Interns are also responsible for weekly daytime monitoring of beaches at The Buccaneer
Hotel, their residence, recording activities using GPS. Interns will also conduct outreach
to hotel guests and will write a report at season’s end summarizing turtle nesting
activities at The Buccaneer Hotel. In addition to BISTRP objectives, interns will provide
assistance to NPS staff and collaborators in the deployment of acoustic and satellite tags
and aid in the collection of tissue and blood samples as part of directed research to
assess sea turtle health. Interns may also participate in snorkel surveys for foraging sea
turtles and/or assist in sea turtle stranding response incidents.

Interns will receive two meals/day and lodging from The Buccaneer Hotel at no cost to
the interns. A small weekly stipend will be allotted to each intern ($100), and travel costs
will be covered by the NPS. Interns need to seriously consider their finances before
applying to these openings; it will not be possible to work locally while conducting intern

Qualifications Required - Must:
• Communicate effectively in English, orally and in writing  
• Have biology training/background
• Collect data and maintain records precisely according to standardized protocol
• Enter and analyze data (written and computer database format)
• Be in excellent physical shape
• Be able to persevere under stressful conditions
• Work outdoors, day and night in isolated conditions, and in adverse weather.
• Walk in the sand up to 10 kilometers/night; climb rocks; stoop, kneel and stand on
soft substrate and in cramped conditions.
• Have a strong work ethic
• Be able to work all night and on weekends
• Be able to lift and move heavy objects
• Operate communications equipment properly (cell phone, hand-held VHS radio,
marine radio)
• Be able to swim; crew a boat in open water conditions
• Have a valid US driver’s license

To apply, send a cover letter stating your interest in and qualifications for the project, a
resume or CV summarizing your experience, and contact information for three references
to the email address below. The document(s) you submit should include your last name
and document type in the file name. Email is preferred, but postal mail/fax is accepted.
Deadline for application: 2 March 2015, no applicants will be considered after this date. 
If selected for interview you will be contacted by March 16th, please do not make follow
up inquiries.

Buck Island Reef National Monument
BISTRP C/o Clayton Pollock
2100 Church Street, #100
Christiansted, St. Croix, Virgin Islands 00820

Email: Clayton_Pollock@nps.gov
Telephone: 340.773.1460 x 236
Fax: 340.719.1790
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