Hawksbill Monitoring Research Assistant

Hawaii Island Hawksbill Project

Hawaii National Park, Hawaii

Job Type Unpaid
Salary Details Unpaid. A $10 per workday food reimbursement will be provided.
Deadline Jun 01, 2020

Since 1989, research assistants have aided project biologists with monitoring and protecting nesting hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata). Within the Hawaiian archipelago, approximately 90% of all documented hawksbill nesting activity has occurred along the southern coastline of Hawaiʻi Island. A total of 171 nesting hawksbills have been tagged since 1991. Only 10 to 15 nesting hawksbills and 40 to 60 nests are documented each nesting season. Unfortunately, Hawaiian hawksbills are considered one of the rarest population of sea turtles in the world.

For the 2020 season, the monitoring team will consist of eight research assistants at a time from May to December (possibly later). Research assistants must commit to the entire term period requested on the application. Preference is given to those who are flexible with their availability.

Applicants are not required to have prior experience working with sea turtles or a science background. Successful applicants must have a positive attitude, diligent work ethic, and love for the outdoors. 

Monitoring Research Assistants must:

  • Commit to the project for the entire term period requested.
  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Possess a valid U.S. driver's license.
  • Be first aid and CPR certified.
  • Be able to hike up to 12 miles per day over rugged lava terrain with a 30+ pound backpack.
  • Be able to hike/work in vog (sulfur dioxide gas emitted from the nearby volcano, which can be problematic for individuals with respiratory concerns).
  • Be a team player and work well with others.
  • Be positive in adverse or challenging situations.
  • Be able to stay awake late at night.
  • Be able to work with minimum sleep.

Monitoring Research Assistants duties include:

  • Camping 6+ consecutive nights at remote beaches with a project technician or other trained team members.
  • Conducting nightly watches (from 5 p.m. until 5 a.m.) to observe nesting turtles and emerging hatchlings.
  • Hiking up to 12 miles per day over rugged lava terrain with a 30+ pound backpack to reach remote field sites.
  • 4-wheel driving on long, rough roads to reach remote field sites.
  • Day-checking other nesting beaches on a daily basis to look for signs of turtle activity by hiking up to 12 miles or 4-wheel driving.
  • Handling nesting hawksbills (i.e., restraining, measuring, applying flipper tags, and checking for injuries).
  • Ensuring that hatchlings reach the ocean by monitoring nests, rescuing stranded hatchlings, and conducting nest excavations.
  • Recording data in field notebook and on data sheets.
  • Controlling non-native predator populations by baiting and checking live-traps on a daily basis and by euthanizing mongooses, feral cats, and rats using carbon dioxide gas.
  • Interacting with the public regarding sea turtle conservation.
  • Assisting with logistics (e.g., equipment and camp maintenance, vehicle inspections).

Shared, dorm-style housing is provided at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Park housing is located within walking distance of both the visitor center and our office, in a rainforest environment at an elevation of 4,000 feet.  Bedrooms are shared by multiple volunteers.

This is an unpaid position. A $10 per workday food reimbursement will be provided. However, it can take approximately three months to receive payment. Additional funds are needed to supplement this stipend for basic needs and entertainment.  Furthermore, a vehicle will not be provided for personal transportation.

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.
Category Wildlife