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Research Assistant in Tropical Herpetology and Conservation Ecology

Main Project Information
Goal Study conservation ecology of reptiles, amphibians in Ecuador
Task Become a volunteer research assistant, travel to Ecuador
Where Ecuador

We are currently seeking research assistants to join our field team in Ecuador studying the conservation ecology of reptiles and amphibians.

While Ecuador is a relatively small country—it’s roughly the size of Arizona—it stands as the third most diverse country in the world for amphibians (510 species) and is seventh for reptiles (430 species), making it a herpetologically mega-diverse region. Due to the severe deforestation taking place in addition to many other pressures on Ecuador’s fauna, RAEI’s research program aims to study, document, and preserve these rich and unique communities of reptiles and amphibians found within the country’s diverse array of ecosystems.

As we are now in our 8th year working in Ecuador, we have study sites encompassing both the coastal forests in western Ecuador and the Amazon rainforest on the eastern side of the Andes Mountains. The work that research participants will be involved with will primarily consist of conducting night surveys for reptiles and amphibians (however other taxa such as invertebrates are also of interest), animal data collection, and lab work. Lab work consists of more detailed information such as scale counts (for reptiles) and other morphological information, animal measurements, screening for chytrid desease (amphibians), preservation (only when necessary), and acquisition of DNA samples. Diagnostic photographs of all animals are taken. Other tasks include animal handling and general note taking and data organization.

How to Join

For 2012 we now have expeditions scheduled in Western Ecuador for February 3-14 and in Amazonian Ecuador for May 29 – June 9.

Research volunteers accepted to join our team should be able to walk 10+ miles a day in hot, humid, and muddy conditions and have at least a general interest in conservation ecology. However, the most important qualifications that you can bring to the project are enthusiasm and a good work ethic. Anyone meeting these general criteria is encouraged to apply. Training for field techniques will be provided upon arrival and participants will be briefed on safety and risks prior to and during the research experience.
Students usually can acquire academic credit (often towards senior theses) or apply for an internship with RAEI and their current college or university.

Please apply at:

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Expenses $1200
Required Gear

Please visit our website for detailed information

Ideal Age Group Adults
Spend the Time outdoors
Project Updated 04/21/2017