Rachel Page

University of Texas at Austin










Field Assistants Needed in Panama

I am looking for volunteer assistants to help with an ongoing investigation of the foraging behavior and sensory ecology of the neotropical frog-eating bat, Trachops cirrhosus. Research with be conducted both on Barro Colorado Island and Gamboa, Panama, at a field stations run by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. If you are interested, please send a resume and contact information for two references to Rachel Page (rachelpage@mail.utexas.edu).

Field Work
The work consists of mist netting bats in the forest and conducting behavioral experiments in a flight cage. No prior experience is necessary, but you must be comfortable working in rigorous field conditions. You will have to hike several miles with a moderately heavy backpack to netting sites in the rainforest. You should be comfortable working in hot and humid conditions, tolerate of ticks and chiggers, and able to work late into the night. The behavioral experiments involve broadcasting acoustic stimuli from speakers and quantifying the bats' responses. These tests are interesting when novel but can get tedious over time. You must be able to conduct repetitive behavioral experiments reliably. Additional tasks include data entry and analysis, net repairs, and general bat caretaking.

The work schedule for volunteers is 4 days on, 3 days off. The majority of the work is in the evenings, from 4 pm to 2 am, and the days are free. This schedule leaves plenty of time to investigate other research projects and to travel in Panama. I require a minimum stay of six weeks (preference given to applicants who can stay longer).

Work will be conducted on Barro Colorado Island and in Gamboa, both located on the Panama Canal. Accommodations in both places have electricity, running water, laundry facilities, telephones, and internet access. Both are located less than one hour from Panama City. For more information about the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and its field stations, please look at their website: www.stri.org.



Bat illustration by Kristina Schlegel, 2007