United States Department of the Interior
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
Buck Island Reef National Monument
2100 Church Street #100
St. Croix, Virgin Islands 00820-4611
Buck Island Sea Turtle Research Program Research Assistant Vacancy Announcement 2020
Buck Island Reef National Monument (BIRNM), located on the island of St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, is seeking
applicants for the position of Sea Turtle Research Assistant (intern) to conduct sea turtle research and monitoring.
This will be the 33rd year of the Buck Island Sea Turtle Research Program (BISTRP), a long-term monitoring,
research, and conservation project supported by the National Park Service (NPS), Buck Island Reef National
Monument. BIRNM is a nesting beach for hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), green (Chelonia mydas), leatherback
(Dermochelys coriacea), and loggerhead (Caretta caretta) sea turtles.
This project will be begin in mid-July and extend for 15 weeks into late October 2020 (applicants must state
availability in their cover letter) and are expected to stay the length of the project upon selection. This is a highly
competitive project that is physically and mentally intense, aimed at individuals who want to make
ecology/resource management their career. Access to the island is by boat only, where there are minimal facilities.
Ability to navigate rugged terrain, work in adverse weather conditions, and amongst biting insects and poisonous
and spiny plants is essential. Shifts last up to 12 hours and require interns to work effectively on a nocturnal
schedule. Interns must work equally effectively as a team and individually.
Interns will provide assistance to the NPS staff in the collection and processing of field data. A mixture of methods
will be used: night duty and day patrols. Night duty focuses on working with animals during the laying process.
During this time, all nesting turtles will be encountered; biometric data will be collected on turtles, physical data
will be collected on nest locations, and animals will be tagged (inconel and PIT). Imperiled nests will be relocated
to mitigate risk and increase hatch success. Nests will be excavated to determine hatch success. Night work will
last in shifts up to 12 hours and will be labor intensive. Day patrols will require accurate assessment of the
previous night’s nesting activities from tracks left in the sand alone. Nests that hatch will be excavated to estimate
hatching success and beach productivity. Throughout the project interns will be required to perform equipment
maintenance, data entry, and quality assurance/quality control on the long-term dataset.
Interns are also responsible for weekly daytime monitoring of beaches at The Buccaneer Hotel, their residence,
recording activities using GPS. Interns will also conduct outreach to hotel guests on a daily basis as well as during
scheduled beach walks discussing the BISTRP program and sea turtle ecology. In addition to BISTRP objectives,
interns will provide assistance to NPS staff and collaborators with a wide-variety of ongoing projects including
forest restoration, deployment of acoustic and satellite tags, and a sea turtle nest temperature study. In addition,
interns may have the opportunity to conduct snorkel surveys for foraging sea turtles and/or assist in sea turtle
stranding response incidents.
Interns will receive two meals/day and lodging from The Buccaneer Hotel at no cost to the interns. A small weekly
stipend will be allotted to each intern (~$100), and travel costs will be covered by the NPS. Interns need to
seriously consider their finances before applying to these openings; it will not be possible to work locally while
conducting intern duties.
Qualifications Required – Must:
Communicate effectively in English, orally and in writing
Have biology training/background
Collect data and maintain records precisely according to standardized protocol
Have previous field work experience lasting at least one month
Enter and analyze data (written and computer database format)
Be in excellent physical shape
Be able to persevere under stressful conditions
Work outdoors, day and night in isolated conditions, and in adverse weather.
Walk in the sand up to 10 kilometers/night; climb rocks; stoop, kneel and stand on soft substrate and in cramped
Have a strong work ethic
Be able to work all night and on weekends
Be able to lift and move heavy objects
Operate and maintain communications equipment properly (cell phone, hand-held VHS radio, marine radio)
Be able to swim; crew a boat in open water conditions
Have a valid US driver’s license
Desired Qualifications- Please comment on applicable skills and experience in your cover letter:
Experience working with Microsoft Access and Excel
Familiarity with statistics and competency in statistical software
Experience using GPS information to create maps in ArcGIS
Communicate conservation and science objectives to the public
Interest in documenting science and research for social media and public awareness posts
Previous experience conducting nesting sea turtle saturation tagging and monitoring
To apply, send a cover letter stating your interest in and qualifications for the project, a resume or CV
summarizing your experience, and contact information for three references to the email address below. The
document(s) you submit should include your last name and document type in the file name. Email is preferred,
but postal mail is accepted. Deadline for application: 27 th of January, no applicants will be considered after this
date. If selected for interview you will be contacted in early February, please do not make follow up inquiries.
Buck Island Reef National Monument
BISTRP c/o Kristen Ewen
2100 Church Street, #100
Christiansted, St. Croix, Virgin Islands 00820