Summer Research Technicians - Ground-Nest And Chick-Brood Monitoring

University of South Carolina Beluga River, Alaska
Deadline Mar 01, 2019
Job Type Seasonal / temporary

Alaska Opportunity - Summer Research Technicians - Ground-Nest And Chick-Brood Monitoring

The Senner Lab at the University of South Carolina is seeking experienced technicians to assist in field methods for the study the nesting ecology, resource availability, and brood - group of newly hatched chicks - survival of migratory shorebirds and waterfowl. With particular focus on the Hudsonian Godwit - a shorebird in sharp, global decline that migrates from Chilé to sub-Arctic Alaska, we will address how ground-nesting birds respond to spatio-temporal predator risk and what repercussions this has on space-use decisions, access to resources, and community structure. This study is part of a 9-year investigation into the climate-related fitness effects that accumulate in long-distance migrants and will help clarify the effects of climate change on these populations.

Field technicians (2 positions) will be responsible for the following:

- Collecting, recording, and collating data

Ground Nest Monitoring:

  • Initial survey of all waterbird nests (75 to 100)
  • Twice weekly monitoring of all Hudsonian Godwit nests
  • Deploy of nest-cameras for nest predator ID (35 nests)

Adult bird capture:

  • Mist net capture and leg-banding
  • Attaching GPS unit of incubating adult godwits
  • Chick Capture and Brood Monitoring:
  • Capture of newly hatched godwit chicks to mark with individually identifiable flags
  • Installation of one miniaturized VHF radio on one chick per brood.
  • Twice weekly triangulation of radio-tagged chicks throughout pre-fledge
  • To monitor brood survival, chick growth, and space-use

Macroinvertebrate Monitoring:

  • Continued monitoring of 3 deadfall trap transects
  • Identify macroinvertebrates to genus

Applicants should have experience with:

  • VHF ground telemetry (and triangulation)
  • Bird handling and/or banding techniques *preferred*
  • Use of binoculars and spotting scopes

*Proficient with shorebird and waterfowl species ID*

  • Be willing to learn macroinvertebrate genera
  • Routine, diligent data collection and collation
  • Data-sheet (paper) organization skills
  • Experience working and communicating as a team
  • Camping, knowledge of personal hygiene in backcountry settings
  • Hiking long distances in adverse weather and difficult terrain
  • General proficiency with self-care: weather, mosquitoes, and nutrition.

This project will take place in a remote location (Beluga River, AK), with limited electricity or access to telecommunications. Applicants should be comfortable with sharing space with others (crew of 5) throughout the field season, and be ‘team players’.


Alaska applicants are strongly encouraged to apply. Start date is flexible for students.

Email Applications to with the subject line “Tech_Nest_2019” and include:

(1) a one page cover letter describing your interest in this project and your past experience with these (or closely related) methods.

(2) CV

(3) 3 references (provide reference’s phone and email).

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.
Newly hatched Hudsonian Godwit chick (pc Andy Johnson). Uploaded by University of South Carolina
Newly hatched Hudsonian Godwit chick (pc Andy Johnson). Uploaded by University of South Carolina
Category Ecology, Wetland, Wildlife