Volunteer field helpers recruitment

PROJECT: Long term study of marine megafauna of the Falklands

POSITION: Volunteer (unpaid) field helper

DURATION: about 3 months and a half, two periods: 1) late August 2016 to mid December 2016, and 2) mid December 2016 to late March 2017; exact dates in the field to be established later

LOCATION: Sea Lion Island, Falkland Islands, Southern Atlantic.

Sea Lion Island on Google maps

- Southern elephant seals: counts, marking, mapping, observation of behavior, pup handling, collection of samples
- Killer whales: photoidentification, observation and videotaping of behavior, necropsies of preys
- Falklands skuas: counts, nest identification and mapping, observation of behavior
- Marine birds and raptors: counts and mapping of different species of marine birds (different species of penguins, cormorants, gulls, geese, and ducks) and raptors (in particular, striated caracaras)
- Environmental monitoring: collection of microclimatic data, habitat classification, collection of GIS data

DEADLINE: May 15th 2016; please note that, capabilities being equal, positions will be allocated with a first come first served policy

Volunteer field helpers are required for the 2016-2017 field season of various long-term research projects on marine megafauna of the Falkland Islands carried out by the Elephant Seal Research Group. The field work site is Sea Lion Island.

Successful applicants will receive adequate training and will help with:
- a long term project (21 years) on individual life histories and breeding strategies of southern elephant seals
- a long term project (3 years) on social and hunting bejaviour of mammal-eating killer whales
- a study of Falklands skua demography, behavior and vocal communication
- various monitoring projects on the different marine and raptor bird species breeding on Sea Lion Island
- a general environmental monitoring of the island, including the collection of data for the Sea Lion Island GIS

Volunteers will be supervised by the PIs and/or by trained technicians. Previous experience of field work is appreciated but not essential. We are recruiting helpers for two periods;
- late August to mid December: focus is elephant seal breeding, killer whale predation on weaned elephant seal pups, establishment of pairs and territories by skuas
- mid December to late March: focus is elephant seal moulting, genaral killer whale activity and behavior, intensive study of skuas behaviour and communication, monitoring of breeding of marine birds and raptors, collection of general environmental data
Only applicants who can stay for a whole period (about 3 months and a half) can be taken into consideration. No volunteer is allowed to apply to stay for both periods, so please state clearly in your cover letter for which one you are applying (first or second) or, if you are available for both, which of the two you prefer (although we cannot guarantee to meet your preference).

Applicants are required to pay all expenses to get to Sea Lion Island, and telephone/Internet expenses while there. Accommodation and food at SLI will be provided by the ESRG. Accommodation on SLI is rather basic and self-catering, but comfortable for a field research setting (heathing, hot water, shower, Internet connection hotspot in the nearby lodge).
We are considering to ask volunteers to give a 200/300 Euro contribution for management and repair of research equipment, due to the high frequency of breakage of expensive instruments. This is currently not sure but it is definitely possible.

Applicants will be required to work in the field for the whole length of the day, seven days per week, with just half day per week of rest. They are also required to help with cooking, cleaning of their cabin and general maintenance tasks . The data collection protocol is complex, the field work is physically very hard, and it is often carried out in bad weather conditions. People without a good tolerance to cold are discouraged to apply. It is a very rewarding, but demanding, experience.

The island is a wonderful place with large unspoiled sandy beaches, and a very rich and very tame wildlife, is the best hot spot for wildlife oriented tourism in the Falklands, is an Important Birds Area and an Important Plants Area, a RAMSAR convention site, and a National Nature Reserve.

To apply please send 1) a cover letter describing your interest in the position and summarizing your qualifications for it, 2) a detailed CV, and 3) a copy of an identification document (with picture). Reference letters (3 maximum) are appreciated, but not essential, and should be sent directly to the email address mentioned below.
If you think you may have extra documentation that can be relevant (eg, copy of a thesis, certificates, etc.) please mention them in your email, but don't send them unless requested (we are currently in the field, and we have limits to attachment size).
Please place all documents in a single PDF file, name it as "your_surname - ESRG2016 - application", and email it as an attachment of an email to dr. Filippo Galimberti (

Deadline for first call applications is June 15th, 2016. Due to the limited number of positions available we warmly suggest perspective candidates to apply as soon as possible.