STC Programs: Research: Assistantships for Sea Turtle Monitoring in Tortuguero, Costa Rica

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Research and monitoring of sea turtles in Tortuguero, Costa Rica was initiated in the 1950´s by legendary sea turtle researcher Dr Archie Carr. Dr Carr continued his work in Tortuguero until his passing away in 1987 and the Sea Turtle Conservancy continues to conduct annual programs at the site, making it the longest ongoing sea turtle conservation and monitoring program in the world.

Application Information for Research Assistant Positions

RA positions are voluntary and selected RAs are expected to plan and finance their own travel to and from Tortuguero. Selected RAs will receive board and lodging at the STC Field Station for the duration of their time working for STC in Tortuguero.

Good knowledge of English and Spanish, education in biology or related fields, previous fieldwork experience in the tropics, experience working/living in multicultural environments, experience working/living in isolated locations for extended periods, previous experience in environmental education and availability for the entire period of the program greatly improve your chances of being selected for a position.

STC Alumni RAs have gone on to work for conservation organizations, universities and government agencies worldwide.

Applications for RA positions must include the following materials:

    1. Application Form for the program you are applying, (Leatherback or Green Turtle, download below);

    2. A cover letter explaining why you are interested in the Research Assistant position, details of any relevant experiences and a statement of your level of proficiency in English and Spanish (either a formal qualification or an indication of your written/oral comprehension);

    3. A CV or resume with pertinent information; and

    4. The names and contact details of three professional references.

Completed materials should be mailed to:

Research Assistant Program
Sea Turtle Conservancy (Formerly Caribbean Conservation Corporation)
Apartado Postal 246-2050
San Pedro, COSTA RICA
OR
Faxed to: (506) 2297-6576

OR
E-mailed to: emma@conserveturtles.org

All application materials must be received at our office before or on the deadline listed for each program. Short-listed candidates will be contacted within four weeks of the application deadline. Please do not phone or e-mail to inquire about the status of your application.

Applicants that do not supply all requested materials will not be considered.


2014 Leatherback Program Research Assistant Position Information:

Project description: Conservation and monitoring of critically endangered leatherback turtles
Location: STC Field Station, Tortuguero, Costa Rica
Dates: March 11 – May 3, 2014
Application Deadline: January 7, 2014

Project summary:
Research and monitoring of sea turtles in Tortuguero, Costa Rica was initiated in the 1950´s by legendary sea turtle researcher Dr Archie Carr. Dr Carr continued his work in Tortuguero until his passing away in 1987 and the Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) still continues the project making it the longest ongoing sea turtle conservation and monitoring program in the world. In 1995, the STC began the Leatherback Program to study the area's little known leatherbacks (Dermochelys coriacea). Each year from March - June the STC research team collects information about this critically endangered species. STC works closely with Costa Rican authorities, the Tortuguero community and other leatherback nesting beach monitoring groups. Information collected during the annual Leatherback Program plays a key role in developing effective management strategies for sea turtles in the area. .

Work description:
Eight research assistants (RAs) will be trained in sea turtle monitoring techniques by, and work under the supervision of, the STC Field Research Coordinator. The RA team will be made up of individuals from several countries from around the world, with an emphasis on Latin America and the Caribbean. The RAs main responsibilities include nightly tagging, track surveys, nest monitoring and excavation. RAs are responsible for tagging nesting turtles, collecting biometric data from females, recording nesting activity during track surveys, and other pertinent data collection.

Leatherback monitoring is carried out along 36 km (=22 miles) of nesting beach. Work activities include long hours of walking in extremely soft sand, and an excellent physical condition is a requirement for the RA positions. RAs should expect to work at all hours of the day and night, often with little sleep. During the Leatherback Program RAs work in very isolated locations, and sometimes stay at the park ranger station for several days at a time, away from the research station in Tortuguero.

In addition to monitoring work, RAs are also responsible for training short-term paying volunteers and leading volunteer groups during beach patrols. They will also work with the STC Education and Outreach to develop and conduct a program of educational and awareness activities in the local community, and be required to assist in the STC Visitor Center to provide information about the work of STC to members of the public .

2014 Leatherback Turtle RA Application


2014 Green Turtle Program Research Assistant Position Information:

Project description: Conservation and monitoring of critically endangered green turtles
Location: STC Field Station, Tortuguero, Costa Rica
Dates: Group 1: June 2 – August 17, 2014
            Group 2: August 11 – November 1, 2014
Application Deadline: March 10, 2014

Project summary:
Research and monitoring of sea turtles in Tortuguero, Costa Rica was initiated in the 1950´s by legendary sea turtle researcher Dr Archie Carr. Dr Carr continued his work in Tortuguero until his passing away in 1987 and each year from June - November Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) conducts the Green Turtle Program, continuing the work started by Dr Carr. STC works closely with Costa Rican authorities, the Tortuguero community and other sea turtle conservation organizations in the country. Information collected during the annual Green Turtle Program plays a key role in developing effective management strategies for sea turtles in the area.

Work description:
A total of 16 research assistants (RAs) will be trained in sea turtle monitoring techniques by, and work under the supervision of, the STC Field Coordinators. The season is divided into two time periods, June - August and August - November, with eight RAs in each time period. The RA team will be made up of individuals from several countries from around the world, with emphasis on Latin America and the Caribbean. The primary responsibilities of the RAs will include nightly tagging patrols, morning track surveys, nest monitoring and excavation. RAs are responsible for tagging nesting turtles, collecting biometric data from females, recording nesting activity during track surveys, and other pertinent data collection.

Monitoring activities during the Green Turtle Program are carried out along 8 km (=5 miles) of nesting beach. RAs can expect to work very long hours, throughout the day and night, often with little sleep. Beach patrols require walking many kilometers in extremely soft sand and in very extreme weather conditions; therefore an excellent physical condition is a requirement for the RA positions.

RAs are also involved in training short-term paying volunteers in all aspects of the monitoring protocol and supervising volunteer groups during beach patrols. The RAs will also be required to develop and participate in various environmental awareness and educational activities with members of the Tortuguero community, and to assist in the STC Visitor Center to provide information about the work of STC to members of the public.

2014 Green Turtle RA Application