CREMA is looking for Research Assistants / Interns
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. 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 multicultural team, be adaptable to a variety of situations, and be prepared to partake in ALL aspects of the project.
Terms are divides as follows:
- Term 1 San Miguel: 02nd July – 13th September
- Term 1 Costa de Oro: 01 August – 21st October
- Term 2 San Miguel: 13th August – 25th October
- Term 2 Costa de Oro: 24th September – 15th December
- Term 3 San Miguel: 01st October – 15th December
- Term 1 Bejuco and Corozalito: 02nd July – 12th September
- Term 2 Bejuco and Corozalito: 9th September – 19th November
- Term 3 Bejuco and Corozalito: 16th November 2021 – 28th January 2022
Southern Nicoya Peninsula, Guanacaste, Costa Rica:
There are four project sites within this area where Research Assistant can choose to participate during their internship
- San Miguel and Costa de Oro are two nesting beach projects with a variable and highly fluctuating number of volunteers. Assistants of these projects must be really sociable and be willing to work and lead a constantly changing team.
- Bejuco project is the most rustic project of them all, which is strongly involved with the local community.
- Corozalito is the furthest site; the main feature of this place is that it is a physically demanding project due to the nesting characteristics of its beach.
The Rescue Centre 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 species that frequently 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 erosion, habitat degradation, 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 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 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 may vary among the projects, but generally, these can include the following:
– Assist with 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’s hatchery.
– Monitoring the hatchery during the night and 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.
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 a 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 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. 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.
– Research Assistants (RAs) pay an $1100-1400 fee that covers 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 Rodriguez-Espinoza at the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Overall, I had a very positive experience volunteering with CREMA. I worked at the Bejuco project site from November 2021 through January 2022. This site in particular was heavily involved with the local community, which the other volunteers and I loved. The village of Bejuco truly made us feel like family. We spent a lot of our free time hanging out with the locals: playing cards, swimming at the beach, hiking, and going out on the town. We even got to celebrate Christmas and New Years with them, which was a lot of fun. The locals assisted us with the hatchery maintenance and nightly beach patrols as well. Most of the work was done at night and early in the morning, so be prepared to handle some sleep deprivation. The beach itself was about a 4 mile round trip (2 miles down, 2 miles back) and was at times rather difficult to navigate. It is steep in some parts (especially at high tide), and the middle section is pretty rocky, so being in good hiking condition is definitely helpful. I feel that this experience was great in helping me learn to work with people of different cultures, work effectively with a team, and learn about data collection and field work. The research opportunity was a great learning experience as well, as it was my first time participating in research outside of school coursework. Overall, I would recommend this experience to anyone interested in marine biology, especially if you want to travel. CREMA was very helpful and accommodating in food and transportation, as the project sites are in rather remote areas. It’s a great way to experience Costa Rica off the beaten path and away from the tourist traps, and it’s a great opportunity for gaining hands-on wildlife experience early in your career.