Research Assistant / Recovery Ecology

San Diego Zoo

San Diego , California

The San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research is the largest zoo-based multi-disciplinary research effort in the world. Based at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for Conservation Research adjacent to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, more than 200 dedicated scientists carry out research vital to the conservation of animals, plants, and habitats, locally and internationally. It is located adjacent to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is located in San Pasqual Valley near Escondido, California. This adventure offers ZOO Perks which include discounts on food/premium products, free and discounted admission to local attractions, and accrual of vacation and sick time (exception for some grants and Summer Fellowships).

Requirements Include:

The Research Assistant will assist with research and husbandry of Mojave desert tortoises in southern California, as well as assisting with burrowing owl research as needed. The desert tortoise project includes two head-starting facilities at Edwards Air Force Base and near Chambless, CA, which are about 2.5 hours apart.

Primary duties will include husbandry responsibilities, field work involved in release and tracking tortoises, as well as assisting with burrowing owl research in southern California. This is full-time hourly position. Hours of the position are variable and may occur anytime between dawn and dusk, and may involve some weekend work. The schedule may change and requires flexibility.

**The position will last approximately 6 months, with a possibility for extension depending on the availability of funding. Start date is in May 7, 2018.

Responsibilities and duties include:

  • Providing food and water for tortoises held in head-start facilities
  • Collection of basic data on health, behavior and husbandry
  • Assisting with field research, including tortoise capture, health assessments, radiotracking, and habitat assessments
  • Assisting with field surveys, including capture and banding of owls, installation of hacking cages and artificial burrows, supplemental feeding, camera trapping, habitat assessments, and GPS tracking of owls
  • Site visits to locate burrowing owl nests and monitor productivity
  • Behavioral observations in the field and review of camera trap photos in the lab
  • Ordering supplies and equipment
  • Maintenance requirements (minor repairs) for head-start facilities
  • Coordinating volunteers
  • Writing simple reports
  • Data collection and data entry
  • Use of hand-held GPS units
  • Working closely with and assisting senior program personnel

Representative qualifications include:

  • Must have either a Bachelor's degree in biological sciences or related field and at least one year of field experience working with wildlife
  • Experience with field research
  • Ability to be self-motivated and able to work both independently and in a team
  • Ability to take direction and follow detailed protocols
  • Physically fit to engage in long periods of fieldwork
  • Effective communication, time management and record keeping skills

Although not essential, the following qualifications are considered beneficial:

  • Experience with radiotracking, habitat data collection, and
  • Data collection and data management experience
  • Experience using tools and making minor repairs


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