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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 (RA) to conduct sea turtle research and monitoring. This will be the 26th 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.

RAs must be available from 15 July through 4 October 2013 (applicants must state availability in their cover letter) and are expected to stay the length of the project. This is a highly competitive project that is physically and mentally intense, aimed at individuals who want to make ecology/resource management their career. RAs must work equally effectively as a team and alone.

The primary function of the RAs will be to assist NPS staff in conducting the BISTRP. RAs will provide assistance to the NPS staff in the collection and processing of field data. Buck Island’s nesting beaches will be monitored 7 days/week sundown to sunup, by a joint team of NPS staff and RAs. Access to the island is by boat only, where there are minimal facilities. 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).  Nests will be excavated to determine hatch success. Imperiled nests will be relocated as part of continuing research to determine optimal relocation conditions. 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. RAs may also participate in snorkel surveys for foraging sea turtles and/or assist in sea turtle stranding response incidents.

Each RA will be scheduled for up to 5 nights on the beach, or 4 nights and 1 day of lab/office work (data entry and sample processing), on a dynamic schedule. RAs will be responsible for field equipment care and maintenance. RAs are also responsible for weekly daytime monitoring of beaches at The Buccaneer Hotel, their residence, recording activities using GPS. RAs will also conduct outreach to hotel guests and will write a report at seasons end summarizing turtle nesting activities at The Buccaneer Hotel.


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

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 summarizing your experience, and contact information for three references to the email address below. Email is preferred, but postal mail/fax is accepted. Deadline for application: 3 March 2013, no applicants will be considered after this date.  If selected for interview you will be contacted by March 25th, 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=09

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

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