April 11, 2013

Maine Island Fieldwork Internship

Now accepting applications for June-August (2013)

This is a fieldwork assistant position designed to give the participant experience with ecological fieldwork, plant identification, and the opportunity to explore the ecology and natural history of Maine Islands.

You will help me sample plants, their functional traits, soils, and seed dispersal on 15 Maine coast islands. Bulk of the fieldwork will include delineating plots and estimating the percent cover of plant species found in each plot. Plant identification will be a key component of this fieldwork. Proficiency (or willingness to gain proficiency) with using dichotomous keys for identifying vascular plants is essential. But, most importantly, you should be able to endure rigorous fieldwork conditions, boat travel, and potentially long, strenuous days. You must also be willing to follow a flexible schedule that depends mostly on ocean conditions (i.e. opportunities for safe boat travel).

I anticipate the experience will provide a vast opportunity to learn about the natural history of the Maine coast. I will actively encourage the use of a field journal for recording notes about your experiences and observations, and will also provide some required readings to expand on your understanding of some theoretical ecology, especially that pertaining to this project. The fieldwork will help you learn how to confidently identify at least 200 Maine plant species in situ, but I expect you to be interested in learning other aspects of the regional natural history on your own (birds, insects, plant ecology, etc.). Fieldwork will also teach you basic field ecology methods, leaf functional trait sampling, and soil sampling methods.

Required Skills
- Experience with using dichotomous keys for vascular plant identification.
- Fit, healthy, and able to carry and lug at least 50 lbs at a time
- Good, friendly personality, and be able to cheerfully endure harsh field conditions (heat, rain, thorns, long days, mosquitos, slippery rocks, etc.)
- Comfortable with boat travel
- Experience tent camping/spending lots of time outdoors
- Able to follow directions carefully and willing to take on certain responsibilities
- Finally, you must be passionate about natural history and ecology, and be excited to learn whatever you can. This is a rigorous field position and I will support you to expand on your observation and natural history skills.

June through August 2013 (Start and end dates to be determined)

I may be able to supply a stipend for your time, but unfortunately I cannot promise this. My current plan is to pay $4,000 for the three months. I am still waiting on grants, so this is not finalized. Think of this as an unpaid internship with the possibility of a stipend. I will know for sure before you have to make the decision. Lodging will be covered, as well as some basic food staples.

Please email me your CV/resume, a cover letter, and contacts for at least two references by May 1st (sooner the better). lnegoita (at) syr.edu