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


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 Green Turtle Program (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. Name and email contact of three professional references.

Completed materials should be emailed to Dr. Roldán Valverde at

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.

2016 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 7 – August 14, 2016
            Group 2: August 9 – November 1, 2016
Application Deadline: March 14, 2016

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.

2016 Green Turtle RA Application

Sea Turtle Conservancy
4424 NW 13th St, Suite B-11
Gainesville, FL 32609
Phone: 352-373-6441
Fax: 352-375-2449
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