Volunteer field assistant studying primates in Taï National Park, Ivory Coast ~ Bioblogia.net

31 de marzo de 2018

Volunteer field assistant studying primates in Taï National Park, Ivory Coast

# Nota de F: Cubren alojamiento y vuelos. Un poco en el límite de lo que suelo publicar, pero si consigues apoyo alternativo, puede ser interesante. 

Position Description:

We are looking for volunteers to the field work on a project of vocal communication in sooty mangabeys (Cercocebus atys) at the Taï National Park, Ivory Coast. Taï forest is considered as the last remaining major block of forest in West Africa and has been one of the main long-term primate study sites in the world for more than three decades.

Volunteers will participate at least in one of the following ongoing projects:

1. Acoustic convergence: genetics, social bonding, and function effects: Today, we know that different factors affect the call structure and vocal behavior of primates. For instance, genetic factors have a major influence on the general species-specific call repertoire of a primate species, while social factors can determine in some degree the fine structure of some the call types. In a similar way, the function of a determinate call (social vs. ecological function) can be related to the grade of variants of it. This research aims to (1) determinate the genetic relatedness for the sooty mangabeys study group, which will allow us to explore (2) how social bonds influence the acoustic structure of sooty mangabeys calls meanwhile genetics effects are taking into account and (3) which of the various call types of the sooty mangabeys repertoire are more acoustically variable, and consequently, more subject to social learning effects. Methods will include taking of behavioral data, recording of vocalizations, acoustic analysis, fecal sampling, and relatedness and paternal analyses.

2. Vocal and socio-cognitive development of wild sooty mangabeys: Recent findings in several non-human primates species reveal that vocal development, in the form of structural adjustments or acquisition of the appropriate usage, is strongly subject to social interactions. A potential role for social learning is when young primates start producing context-specific acoustic variants, which is presumably after they have socially learned new aspects of their socioecology. Here we will use two different approaches to investigate this vocal and behavioral development: first, identify when the different call variants emerge and how their appearance is related to the activity and behavior typical of each stage of life. Second, explore the process whereby the linkage between a call and the call-eliciting event is learned using alarm calls as a signal model, in other words, how and when sooty mangabeys alarm calls become meaningful and start to produce the adequate behavioral and vocal response to their different alarm calls. Methods will include taking of behavioral data, recording of vocalizations, acoustic analysis, and playback experiments.

We are looking for responsible volunteers able to work in small teams with people of very different culture. Previous field experience in tropical ecosystems is required and basic knowledge of French is ideal (almost mandatory).

We will consider applicants with a degree in biology, anthropology, environmental sciences, or similar related fields. We also strongly encourage volunteers to work actively in all the process of the project, from the collecting of data, through the data analysis, and the writing and publication process. In that sense, MSc students looking for research projects are desired, although we can consider applicants with different backgrounds depending on their experience.

Volunteer must be able to endure simple living conditions in the middle of the wilderness and staying away from western civilization for long periods in a multicultural environment. The volunteer should be able to walk long distances across the forest in harsh climatic conditions and work for long periods (up to 10 hr/day).

Volunteers must be able to commit to at least a 6 months stay.

These are unpaid volunteer positions. Volunteers are responsible for their own groceries expenses (200-250?/month) and all personal expenses (e.g. Ivorian sim card to have internet connection in the closest town). In addition, they are required to purchase a traveler's insurance before their arrival in the Ivory Coast.

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
Research permits, lodging, and displacements within the Ivory Coast are covered by the project. Likewise, the project will reimburse up to 1000? for the airfare if the volunteer succeeds to work at least for 6 months.

Term of Appointment:
Available immediately.

Contact Information:
Julián León
Rue Emile-Argand 11
Neuchâtel 2000


E-mail Address:

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