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Animal Behavior Society
Animal Behavior Society

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Volunteer field assistant – Sporophila seedeaters in Argentina
Field Assistants
Posted Aug 27
The University of Colorado, Boulder is seeking two seasonal field technicians to investigate the breeding biology of several species of capuchino seedeaters (e.g., Sporophila hypoxanthaSporophila iberaensis) for a study on mate choice and hybridization in Corrientes, Argentina.
The southern capuchino seedeaters are finch-like birds that have undergone a rapid radiation characterized by striking phenotypic variation (in male plumage coloration and song) despite low levels of ecological and genetic divergence. Seven capuchino species coexist in the grasslands of Iberá National Park. We are investigating patterns of gene flow and potential mechanisms that promote and maintain plumage and song differences among the overlapping species.
This project will take place in San Nicolás, a reserve in the Iberá wetlands of Argentina. The seasonally flooded grasslands surrounding the field station are home to abundant wildlife, including capybaras, caiman, and many species of birds (e.g., strange-tailed tyrant, greater rhea, southern screamer, jabiru).
Field assistant duties will include searching for and monitoring nests, mist-netting, banding, and extracting blood and feather samples from adults and nestlings, recording male song, conducting behavioral observations, and collecting vegetation data. Assistants will work six days a week, with early mornings and long days in the field. Field technicians are needed from mid-October to mid-December, but start and end dates are flexible.
Qualifications: Experience nest searching and/or catching birds with mist nets is strongly preferred. Applicants must be enthusiastic, have a strong work ethic, and be capable of working outside for long hours in variable conditions. Knowledge of Spanish is desirable. This work is most appropriate for those who are interested in pursuing a career in ecology, evolution, or behavior and have previous experience working in remote locations. Latin American students seeking field experience are especially encouraged to apply.
We will cover living expenses for the duration of the project. However, field assistants should bring their own tent and sleeping bag. We will camp at a remote field station with no internet, limited electricity, and basic amenities. Travel assistance may be available for qualified applicants.
Please feel free to contact Sheela Turbek ( for further information. To apply, please send a single PDF document that includes a cover letter, CV/resume, and contact information for at least three professional references by September 29, 2018 with “Sporophila Field Assistant” in the subject line.