Research Assistants / Interns
Come to beautiful Costa Rica and work with us in our sea turtle nesting conservation program! Join our team of talented, passionate, and dedicated researchers. Available seasonal job openings for Research Assistants at our four project sites Southern Nicoya Peninsula.
We operate a multifaceted approach for the conservation of sea turtles, including; beach patrols, relocating nests into project hatcheries, environmental education, and awareness with the local community, generating job opportunities for the locals, and promoting sustainable tourism development. Research Assistants are responsible for assisting the project coordinator in all aspects of running the project. It is crucial that assistants bring a positive attitude to the project, work well within a team, be adaptable to a variety of situations, and be prepared to partake in ALL aspects of the project.
Term 1 San Miguel/Costa de Oro: 07th July – 17th September, 2022
Term 1 Bejuco**/Corozalito: 07th July – 21st September, 2022
Term 2 San Miguel/Costa de Oro: 15th August – 25th October, 2022
Term 2 Bejuco**/Corozalito: 14th September – 24th November, 2022
Term 3 San Miguel/Costa de Oro: 05th October – 15th December, 2022
Term 3 Bejuco**/Corozalito: 21st November 2021 – 31st January 2023
**Program dates might change by the starting date of the season
Southern Nicoya Peninsula, Guanacaste, Costa Rica:
– San Miguel and Costa de Oro: these two beaches host several hundred nesting olive ridley sea turtles per season, with occasional nesting of green, hawksbill, and leatherback turtles. These project sites have a variable number of volunteers and visitors. San Miguel and Costa de Oro participants must be sociable and be willing to work with a constantly changing team.
– Bejuco: this project site is operated under close collaboration with the small-scale sustainable fishing community of Bejuco, as it represents a sustainable supplemental source of income for its members. It is physically demanding due to the characteristics of the beach (steep, soft sand, length) and the challenges of monitoring its sea turtle hatchery. It is the most is rustic and basic project of the four.
– Corozalito: this beach hosts several thousand nesting olive ridley sea turtles per season and occasional nesting of green, hawksbill and leatherback turtles. It is the most physically demanding project mostly due to the characteristics of its nesting activity.
The Rescue Center for Endangered Marine Species (CREMA) runs 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 Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) is the main species that nest on these beaches, but there is also sporadic nesting of Green (Chelonia mydas), Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), and Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) sea turtles. Egg poaching is the principal threat to the nesting sea turtles on these beaches. Secondary threats include nest predation, plastic pollution, beach development, and tourist traffic. In the beaches CREMA operates we use a multifaceted approach for the conservation of sea turtles, including; beach patrols, relocating nests into project hatcheries, environmental education, and awareness with the local community, generating job opportunities for the locals and promoting sustainable tourism development.
Research Assistants are responsible for assisting the Project Coordinator with all aspects of the project, including managing volunteers, leading night patrols, organizing community environmental education activities, and with the station house maintenance.
Research Assistants are trained to conduct and lead 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 and day for emerging hatchlings and intruding predators.
– Excavation of nests and collecting data on unhatched eggs.
– Community environmental education activities.
– Assist in gathering content for digital publications (social media platforms)
– Maintaining and cleaning the station house.
This is an unpaid position, Research assistants are expected to stay at the project site for the entire term for which they are selected. Terms usually last between 75 to 80 days. 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 in Spanish and English.
– Independent, reliable, and responsible.
– Motivated and positive.
– Able to adapt to unexpected situations and unfamiliar cultures.
– Able to undertake physical labor, both during night and day in extreme weather conditions.
– Experience working within a team.
– Strong interpersonal communication skills.
– Comfortable working in the outdoors or 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. It is important to keep in mind the frequent changes in entry requirements and guidelines from the Costa Rican government and the Health Ministry according to the status of COVID-19 in the country.
Participants must bring their own safety equipment and materials (facial mask, soap, alcohol, etc), and travel policy / medical insurance with a duration equal to the period of stay (preferable), that covers, at least, medical expenses generated by COVID-19 and other diseases, plus lodging expenses due to quarantine if necessary.
It is important to notify that there are several requirements from the Costa Rican government in the framework of the pandemic: travelers must complete the digital form called HEALTH PASS, available at https://salud.go.cr. This form must be completed within 72 hours prior arrival in the country. Costa Rica is not requesting a travel policy to enter the country to tourists who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The last dose of the vaccine must have been applied at least 14 days prior to arrival in Costa Rica.
The list of authorized vaccines include:
AstraZeneca: Covishield, Vaxzervia, AXD1222, ChAdOx1, ChAdOx1_nCoV19 India
Janssen: COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen, Johnson & Johnson y Ad26.COV2.S
Moderna: Spikevax, mRNA-1273
Pfizer-BioNTech: Comirnaty, BNT162b2 y Tozinameran
Sinovac: COVID-19 Vaccine (vero cell), Coronavac ™
Sinopharm: SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine (vero cell), Inactivated (InCoV)
Covaxin: BBV152, Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine
Vaccinated tourists must attach their vaccination certificate to the Health Pass. As proof, vaccination certificates and vaccination cards that contain at least the following information will be accepted:
Name of the individual who received the vaccine
Date of each dose
In the case of U.S. travelers, the “COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card” will be accepted.
Documentation must be submitted in English or Spanish. Submitting documentation in a different language will prevent it from being reviewed.
The Ministry of Health and the Costa Rican Tourism Institute are exempt from any responsibility in the event that a traveler submits information in a language other than English or Spanish.
We will keep you posted with any updates on any changes about this matter. We will continue with the health protocols and recommendations according to the World Health Organization and the Costa Rican Health Ministry.
CREMA/Turtle Trax, S.A WILL NOT accept unvaccinated individuals.
– Research Assistants (RAs) pay an $1100-1500 fee that covers three-basic meals and accommodation 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 RAs 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/CREMA Program Rules for the entire duration of their placement. Failure to do so results in immediate termination of placement without refund.
Additional Contact Information
– Cover letter, specifying which period and location options you would prefer (Presented as Full Name-Letter).
– Resume/CV (Presented as Full Name-CV)
– List of the email addresses of at least 3 references.
Please send applications to Ninive Espinoza- Rodriguez at the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.