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Zoological Field Assistant - Antartica

British Antarctic Survey

Location: Antarctica - Antarctica
Salary: £24,272 per annum initially
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 25th February 2020
Closes: 31st March 2020
Job Ref: BAS 20/29
 

What is it about?

Zoological Field Assistants will be recruited to carry out fieldwork on seabirds and seals. Bird Island is small (7 km in length) and forms part of the South Georgia archipelago where it is buffeted by both prevailing westerlies and cold winds from Antarctica. It has a high annual rainfall and variable snow cover during winter. In summer tens of thousands of seals and hundreds of thousands of seabirds breed there. Up to 10 staff live in a modern research station with a satellite link to the outside world and comfortable accommodation.

The successful applicants will work and live on Bird Island continuously, living with other residents and 3 summer only visitors. Whilst everyone is assigned duties to keep the research station running (including cooking and cleaning), the residents have extra responsibilities (after pre-deployment training), such as providing IT, communications and medical cover. They will each be responsible for one element of a long term science programme. The learning curve is very steep and so all candidates must have previous experience of handling appropriate wild animals, but BAS will provide a finishing school (at Bird Island) to hone these skills. A recent magazine article gives an insight into what it is like to do one of these jobs.

Work in the wildlife breeding season at Bird Island is very intensive, with long hours of fieldwork and data preparation, so it is important to be well organised. Data are collated using databases and by submitting reports, observing deadlines at frequent intervals. The results underpin key research into regional and global change processes based on seabird and seal life histories, reproductive success, behaviour and diet.

The position of Zoological Field Assistant offers a unique opportunity for highly motivated and disciplined individuals with relevant fieldwork skills and a keen interest in wildlife, who will adapt well to small island living in a challenging sub-Antarctic environment.

Purpose

To work at Bird Island for 18 months (with a possibility of extension) preparing, collecting and recording seal and seabird data for a long term science programme. To assist with other elements of the zoological research programme as required.

Qualification

Must have been awarded an honours degree in biology/zoology or equivalent.

Duties

Field Assistant 1:

Responsible for work on seals
Monitor a population of tagged fur seals, sample for diet and weigh pups (to estimate growth rates).
Systematically tag and re-sight leopard seals during winter.
Assist with penguin and flying bird monitoring.
Collect project data for BAS scientists and visiting researchers (e.g. deploy transmitters and loggers to determine at-sea behaviour).

Field Assistant 2:

Responsible for work on albatrosses.
Monitor and collate data from four species of albatross including parameters on population size, breeding success, chick growth and diet.
Assist with seal and penguin monitoring.
Collect project data for BAS scientists and visiting researchers (e.g. deploy transmitters and loggers to measure aspects of foraging and chick provisioning strategy).

Field Assistant 3:

Responsible for work on penguins and giant petrels.
Monitor and collate data from penguins and giant petrels including parameters on population size, breeding success, chick growth and diet.
Assist with seal and albatross monitoring.
Collect project data for BAS scientists and visiting researchers (e.g. deploy transmitters and loggers to measure aspects of foraging and chick provisioning strategy).

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