[MARMAM] Northern Elephant Seal opportunities on the Farallon Islands

Garrett Duncan - SEA gduncan-SEA at pointblue.org
Sat Sep 24 12:12:32 PDT 2022

Point Blue Conservation Science is looking for Volunteer Elephant Seal Research Assistants for our winter 2022-2023 program.

This is an exciting opportunity to contribute to a long term study of Northern Elephant Seals on the Farallon Islands.

Positions are available December 3rd, 2022 to March 25th, 2023 with strong preference given to applicants able to commit to the full season.

About Point Blue Conservation Science (Point Blue)
Located in Petaluma, CA, Point Blue is a growing and internationally renowned nonprofit with over 160 staff and seasonal scientists. Our highest priority is to reduce the impacts of accelerating changes in climate, land-use and the ocean while promoting climate-smart conservation for a healthy future.  Point Blue advances conservation for wildlife and people through science, partnerships and outreach. Our scientists work closely with wildlife and habitat managers, private land owners, ranchers, farmers, other scientists, major conservation groups, and federal, state, and local government agencies and officials. We understand that real solutions come from working together.

The Farallon Islands
Since 1968, Point Blue has been studying the wildlife on the Farallon Islands. Located 27 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge, the Southeast Farallon Islands are 96 acres of rocky terrain just a few miles from the edge of the continental shelf. Our studies examine upper trophic marine predators as bio-indicators of natural and anthropogenic variation in the marine ecosystem. The islands host the largest seabird breeding colony in the contiguous United States (over 300,000 seabirds of 13 species), are an important haul-out and breeding site for 5 species of pinnipeds (seals and sea lions), as well as a unique feeding location for white sharks. In addition, the islands host other unique populations (plants, salamanders, insects, etc.) as well as being a stopover site for hundreds of species of migrant and vagrant landbirds.

Position Summary
The Research Assistants (RA) primary responsibility is censusing and monitoring the colony of Northern Elephant seals utilizing flipper tags. Other responsibilities include, but are not limited to, resighting tagged California and Steller’s Sea Lions, Harbor Seals and Northern Fur Seals, and surveying for salamanders, crickets, songbirds, seabirds, gulls, burrowing owls, and whales. (Sorry, white sharks are unlikely during the winter months) RAs also contribute to the upkeep and maintenance of the research station and help prepare dinners.  The ability to coexist on a small, isolated island is important.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

·         Enthusiasm for intense field work in windy, cold conditions is essential

·         Knowledge of pinniped colony monitoring or other wildlife survey techniques

·         Experience with bird ID is a plus but not required

·         Must collect accurate data entry to input field information into system

·         Able to work with a group and independently

·         Able to work with a high level of responsibility in field work

·         Safety oriented and communicative

Certifications and/or Licenses:

·         None required, however please declare if CPR/AED, WFA/WFR, or MOCC certified

Preferred Education and Experience:

·         This position requires a combination of education and experience equivalent to a degree in biology or related field and prior ecological research experience.

Work Environment & Physical Requirements:

·         Outdoor work that may require rigorous physical activity including strenuous hiking and climbing

·         Indoor work consists of data entry and proofing, equipment maintenance, group food preparation and house upkeep

·         Ability to stand, bend, stoop, sit, walk, twist and turn over rocky terrain

·         Ability to lift up to 25 pounds occasionally

·         Ability to use a computer keyboard and calculator

Position Type, Expected Hours of Work, and Housing

·         This is a temporary volunteer position (unpaid)

·         Positions are from December 3rd, 2022 to March 25th, 2023 with strong preference for applicants who can commit to the entire season

·         Food is provided at no cost while working on the Islands

·         Housing is provided at no cost while working on the Islands

·         You will be expected to work 7 days a week but given days off periodically

·         Some occasional night work is also required

·         Travel to and from the Islands is provided. Transportation to Point Blue headquarters is not included

How to Apply
Please email a single pdf file in the following format: lastname_firstname_2022winterassistant.pdf to Garrett Duncan (gduncan at pointblue.org<mailto:gduncan at pointblue.org>).  This document should contain your cover letter explaining your interests, your resume, dates of availability, and 3 professional references. Applications accepted until October 2nd, 2022 but applications will be evaluated as they are received.
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