Announcements are posted first through the MCERC website news and events posts, the MCERC website calendar, and all social media platforms.for each project and field season. Announcements are shared on various platforms, including list serves and job boards following the MCERC direct platforms.
MCERC accepts Research Assistants to participate in data collection and analysis and mentoring interns for various programs and projects including sea turtle and humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) research in the Caribbean. Interested applicants must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in marine biology or a related field and follow the detailed instructions for applying following the announcements. Experience is not a requirement for these positions but previous participation in a related MCERC program is a plus.
Research assistants (RAs) will work hard during the season and can expect to gain a solid foundation in marine and coastal ecology, humpback whale ecology with a focus on behavioral ecology, sea turtle ecology, or related studies. MCERC faculty mentor and support RAs in field methods and teaching within a structured program. Goals include an excellent mastery of field equipment and review of peer reviewed publications. We work from land and vessel platforms with occasional aerial reconnaissance. Boat work often includes acoustic data collection. RAs are volunteers for the duration of the project.
Research assistants must be available full time. You will have a bunk at the field house and must be prepared for very long days. We typically rise well before the sun and finish well after sunset each day. The ability to maintain land based observations for hours (or even a full day) requires commitment and patience. Vessel based data collection is often from a small boat and is dependent on a team that is able to work well in close quarters. Commitment and dedication should be applied to computer tasks as they can become monotonous. Day to day tasks will include posting updates to social media, updating the MCERC website, and other tasks as needed. Research assistants must be willing to dedicate effort from home in preparation of arriving at the field station, including reading publications and installing required software.
Research assistants are fully involved in this project! You will work with interns or students to assure our research team is effective. You will be coached in teaching methods to facilitate mentoring interns, and assist in surveying and data collection.
• Demonstrating equipment and providing instruction to students and interns
• Preparation and maintenance of equipment
• Leading and participating in roundtable discussions of peer reviewed publications
• Interacting with the public and peers
• Overseeing household chores and field house living expectations.
You will be working on continually updating MCERC datasets including humpback whale catalogs, photo identification, fluke matching, and acoustic analysis. You will be taught to use bioacoustics software and databases. Neatness and attention to detail is critical.
Provisions & Accommodations
You will be provided with a place to sleep at the field house, food, training, required software, and transportation to all field sites from the research station at no cost. Research assistants financial obligation varies; however, MCERC often subsidizes the cost of support for RAs in the field and the RA is responsible for the cost of administrative fees associated with their participation in programs. Please review the individual posts and announcements for more details as RA positions become available.
Research assistants are responsible for transportation to and from field sites. If an RA is a resident in the location of their position, they are required to live at the field house with the team during their work on the project. International research assistants are responsible for determining and acquiring all necessary travel documents and visas. MCERC will provide a letter affirming acceptance into the position as needed. We have created a document listing travel tips you may find useful available for download and will be available to RAs ahead of each project.
Priority is given to people with an upbeat, hardworking and positive attitude. The ability to take direction and live in close quarters with up to 10 people is a key to a successful field season. A stellar academic average is a plus, but is not a requirement and should not discourage interested people with less than perfect academic scores from applying. A strong desire to learn new skills, mentor other students, and promote a positive attitude towards stewardship is essential for candidates. Please be self-motivated, energetic, patient, and enthusiastic! You must enjoy working with a group from around the globe and be respectful of cultural differences. Candidates for a research assistant position must complete 2-3 interviews, via an Internet platform or in person, prior to being accepted for a position. You will need your own snorkel gear and laptop with windows (and be willing to load the required programs) to the project. Mac laptops will not be compatible with all software needed for these positions.
An important note: MCERC teams often include a mix of cultures, religions, and languages. The most successful field seasons begin with a team of professionals who appreciate and are interested in cultural diversity. RAs joining the MCERC teams are expected to be mutually respectful and supportive within our group and between the science team and people we encounter. In most geographical regions throughout the globe where MCERC conducts programs and research, the cultural interactions enrich the team’s experience. Occasionally, we face challenges. A mutually supportive team of scientists, faculty, and RAs are key to a successful field season!