Antarctica: Zoological Field Assistants

The British Antarctic Survey (BAS), part of the Natural Environment Research Council, aims to undertake a world-class programme of scientific research, and to sustain for the UK an active and influential regional presence and a leadership role in Antarctic affairs.
At Bird Island, South Georgia, Zoological Field Assistants will be recruited to help carry out fieldwork on seabirds and seals. Bird Island is small (7 km in length) and forms part of the South Georgia archipelago where it is buffeted by both prevailing westerlies and cold winds from Antarctica. It has a high annual rainfall and variable snow cover during winter. In summer tens of thousands of seals and hundreds of thousands of seabirds breed there (including 2 species of penguin and 4 species of albatross). Up to 10 staff live in a modern research station with a satellite link to the outside world and comfortable accommodation.
The successful applicants will work and live on Bird Island continuously, living with other residents and up to 6 summer only visitors. Whilst everyone is assigned duties to keep the research station running (including cooking and cleaning), the residents have extra responsibilities (after pre-deployment training), such as providing IT, communications and medical cover. They will each be partly responsible for one element of a long term monitoring programme. The learning curve is very steep and so all candidates must have previous experience of handling appropriate wild animals, but BAS will provide a finishing school (at Bird Island) to hone these skills.
Work in the wildlife breeding season at Bird Island will be very intensive, with long hours of fieldwork and data preparation, so it is important to be well organised. Data are collated using databases and by submitting reports, observing strict deadlines at frequent intervals. The results underpin key research into regional and global change processes based on seabird and seal life histories, reproductive success, behaviour and diet.
The position of Zoological Field Assistant offers a unique opportunity for highly motivated and disciplined individuals with relevant fieldwork skills and a keen interest in wildlife, who will adapt well to small island living in a challenging sub-Antarctic environment.

Qualifications: Degree in biology or zoology; experience of remote, unsupervised fieldwork and animal handling skills (i.e. of appropriate wild animals in their natural habitat). Applicants must be competent and efficient in managing, analysing and reporting on large data sets. Meticulous time management, attention to detail and effective communication are important attributes. Candidates should also be comfortable working in a small and vibrant science community.

Duration: Appointments will be for a period of approximately 18 months, with a possibility of extension.

Closing date for applications: 20 Apr 2014 at 11:59pm

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