Research Assistant/ Sea Turtle Project

Nicoya Peninsula, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Jun 07, 2018
Sep 07, 2018
Job Level
Entry level
Employment Type
Full time, Internship, Volunteer
Salary Type

We are looking for Research Assistants!

Job Description:
Background Information
CREMA and Turtle Trax S.A. run four sea turtle nesting beach conservation projects on the southern Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica. The projects are open annually during the olive ridley nesting season. Olive ridleys are the principal species that nest on the beaches, but there is also sporadic nesting of Greens, Leatherbacks, and Hawksbills. The principal threat to the nesting sea turtles on these beaches is egg poaching. Secondary threats include beach development, tourist traffic, and nest depredation. To protect the sea turtle nesting population on our beaches we use a multifaceted approach including moving nests to protected hatcheries, environmental education, and sustainable tourism development. Research Assistants are responsible for assisting the Coordinator with all aspects of the project, including managing volunteers, leading night patrols, organizing community environmental education activities, and maintaining the station house.

Research assistants are trained to conduct nightly 3-4 hour beach patrols, in which they take biometric data from nesting sea turtles, tag their front flippers, and move their nests to a protected area if there is one available.
Other responsibilities vary among the projects, and include the following:
Assisting in the training of new volunteers.
Leading volunteers and tourists on night patrols.
Conducting morning censuses to check the status of in-situ nests.
Recording physical data such as precipitation levels and temperatures.
Building and maintaining the project hatchery.
Monitoring the hatchery during the night or day for emerging hatchlings and intruding predators.
Exhuming nests and collecting data on unhatched eggs.
Community environmental education activities.
Maintaining and cleaning the station house.
Cooking group meals (Corozalito project).

Research assistants are expected to stay at the project site for the entire period for which they are selected. Preference will be given to potential applicants that meet the following requirements:
Advanced university student or recent graduate in biological sciences or related fields.
Conversational Spanish and English.
Independent, reliable and responsible.
Motivated and positive.
Able to adapt to unexpected situations and unfamiliar cultures.
Able to undertake physical labor during night and day in extreme weather conditions.
Experience working within a team.
Strong interpersonal communication skills.
Comfortable working in the outdoors or in isolated settings
Previous experience with sea turtles or conducting field research.
Since many of the research assistants’ responsibilities are physically demanding, they are expected to be in good physical and medical shape. Also, since our projects are in isolated locations where access to medical treatment can be challenging, participants must disclose any medical conditions or possible risks before confirming their placement with our program.

Term 1A – June 18 to September 2 (only one position left in San Miguel)
Term1B- July 13 to September 29
Term 2A – August 28 to November 18 
Term 2B – September 26 to December 15
Term 3 – November 13 to January 31

There are positions available at our four projects located on the Southern Nicoya Peninsula, Guanacaste, Costa Rica:
1. Costa de Oro
2. San Miguel
3. Bejuco
4. Corozalito

Fees & Program Info: 
- Research Assistants pay a $1100-1400 USD fee that covers basic meals and accomodation for the entire internship. 
- Turtle Trax and CREMA provide a training workshop upon arrival. This includes several lectures on current sea turtle conservation research topics, safety training, team building activities, and field research training. 
- All RA's have the option of participating in the Independent Research Project Program, in which they can complete a project with their team during the internship with the assistance of one of CREMA's biologists. 
- All interns must follow the Turtle Trax Program Rules for the entire duration of their placement. Failure to do so results in immediate termination of placement without refund.

Application Information :
Cover letter specifying which period and location options you would prefer. 
List of the email addresses of at least 3 references

Please send applications to the following email address:

For more information:

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