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NSF REU Positions available for grassland food web and climate change study

Job Type: full-time temporary position

Location: California

Posting Date: 29 Jan 14

Closing Date: 30 Apr 14

Dates: June through August

Student Benefits: Hands-on field research experience in a remote natural area, development of a diverse set of field survey skills, experience working with endangered wildlife

Compensation: $2,000/month stipend, $1,000 travel allowance, and on-site housing.

Location: Carrizo Plain National Monument, California (60 miles east of San Luis Obispo)

Position Description: Undergraduate students will gain research training and experience by participating in a long-term food web study in the Carrizo Plain National Monument. The Carrizo is the largest remnant of the San Joaquin grassland ecosystem and contains many endangered plants and animals. Interns will work on a team of 3-5 people and will conduct a variety of surveys, focusing especially on mark-recapture of endangered kangaroo rats. Visual line transects for reptiles, pitfall trapping for invertebrates, and spotlight surveys for predators and lagomorphs may also be conducted, and team members may also help with vegetation sampling. This will be the first year that the study incorporates precipitation treatments to investigate climate change impacts on this ecosystem and its inhabitants. Interns will assist in the building of rainout shelters as part of the new climate change monitoring protocol. For more information about the project, visit

Students will receive mentorship from Dr. Laura Prugh (University of Alaska Fairbanks) in developing an independent research project associated with the larger study. Additional mentorship will be provided by co-PI’s Dr. Brashares (UC Berkeley) and Dr. Suding (University of Colorado Boulder).

Who should apply: Students in their sophomore or junior years of college, with strong credentials and majoring in ecology, biology, conservation, or related discipline are encouraged to apply. Participants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. A strong interest in natural history, conservation, and/or management and a high level of responsibility, organization, and motivation are required. PIT tagging experience, small mammal trapping experience, and familiarity with the plants and animals of California are preferred. Must be flexible and live and work well with others in an isolated setting. Applicants must be able to maintain work quality and a positive attitude during challenging field conditions. Applicants must be in good physical condition and experienced with or able to tolerate hot and cold field conditions. Must be able to work long hours and be comfortable working at night. Prefer applicants with experience and strong interest in grassland or desert species.

Work schedule: Approx. 40 hrs per week, variable throughout season


Contact Information:

To Apply: Please email a cover letter, resume, and contact information for 2-3 references as a single Word or PDF attachment to Rachel Endicott at Review of applications will begin Feb. 17, 2014.

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