ASSIGNED Volunteer / research assistant… wanting to gain fieldwork experience and looking forward to contribute to a long-term individual-based study on a long-lived seabird: the common tern

coraline-bichetCoraline Bichet
  • 11 Nov

We study common terns (Sterna hirundo) at a long‐term study population located in the Banter See at Wilhelmshaven on the German North Sea coast. Since 1992, all locally hatched birds have been marked with a transponder shortly prior to fledging and we use antennae at resting places and around nests to identify both breeding and non‐breeding individuals. Combined with 3‐times‐weekly checks of nests to record reproductive parameters and to mark offspring, our methods enable the systematic and remote documentation of individual presence and reproductive performance at the colony. Once birds have established themselves as Banter See breeders, their re‐sighting probability is almost 100% and their return rate is 90%, such that we can collect data over long individual life cycles.

For the upcoming breeding season, we are looking for a highly motivated volunteer who can start c. end of April 2020 and who would like to gain experience using several fieldwork methods across different research topics. The volunteer will participate in the general monitoring of the breeding population, as well as in the research projects of our post-docs, PhD and Msc/Bsc students. For instance, the volunteer can be involved in (i) behavioural observations, (ii) reproductive checks, (iii) blood sampling, (iv) ring reading and (v) general colony maintenance.
The fieldwork is intense and will require patience, but is shared within a team and will involve many close interactions with the birds. Prior experience with birds or fieldwork is appreciated, but not required. Crucial, however, is that the volunteer enjoys working in an international team and is happy to use English as the main working language. Free (shared) accommodation in the institute’s guest house can be provided, but travel costs unfortunately cannot.

Starting date: end of April 2020 (the exact date is flexible)
Duration: minimum of 6 weeks (can be extended)
Position opens for 1 to 2 person(s)

For more information and/or sending in an application, please contact:
Sandra Bouwhuis (sandra.bouwhuis@ifv‐vogelwarte.de), Institute of Avian Research, Wilhelmshaven, Germany. A brief motivation statement and CV with the contact details of one referee will be appreciated.
Also see: sites.google.com/site/drsandrabouwhuis/ and twitter.com/CommonTerns.