Want to learn more about Neotropical amphibian and reptiles (collectively called herpetofauna, or herps), herp census techniques, and herp field work? Want to spend time living and learning about the jungle in the beautiful country of Belize? Want to learn from professional herpetologists?  Then this is the internship for you!

The goal of this internship is to give the student various experiences in tropical herpetofauna studies that will aid the student in developing their skills for a variety of future education and employment opportunities. The main component of the project will be to work with Ecoranatutors and T.R.E.E.S staff in establishing long-term herpetofauna monitoring projects (habitat characterization, observational surveys, and mark-recapture specifically for frogs and turtles). These baseline data will contribute to future ecological studies on frog and turtle populations present on the T.R.E.E.S property and elsewhere in the adjacent protected areas in the Maya Mountains.

In addition to the projects ongoing at the T.R.E.E.S Research Center, the intern(s) may also have the opportunity to visit other herpetofauna conservation projects in Belize and volunteer for a few days on them, including with BFREE in Toledo at the Hicatee Conservation and ReseachCenter, at the Belizean herpetarium and Belize zoo, and on the Green Iguana Breeding Project in San Ignacio.

We are looking for interns who are independent yet willing to work in a team environment. Applicants should have a certain level of herpetofauna identification skills and should be interested in improving their techniques for proper identification and survey methods applicable in the tropics. Applicants should have a desire for learning about the incredible biodiversity of Belize through systematic field surveys and data collection.

 Tasks

Learn tropical herps by sight and sound in the Maya Mountains.
Learn and perform a variety of herp surveys that will be most adequate to answer project questions, including: habitat characterization, visual-acoustic encounter surveys along transect lines and as time-constrained search, capture-mark-recapture, etc.
Lead a White-lipped Mud Turtle movement, habitat use, and response to flooding study using radio-telemetry.
Monitor created habitat for breeding amphibians and conduct population assessments of hatchling mud turtles using funnel traps; maintain created habitat through invasive plant pulling, monitoring of water levels, creative solutions for modified habitat improvement, etc.
Maintain a captive breeding and headstarting Blue-spotted Treefrog population under biosecurity protocols
Work with T.R.E.E.S researchers, international collaborators, and other interns on the development of protocol design and write protocols for continuing field work and data collection.
Implement protocols in the field using the help of T.R.E.E.S staff and Ecorana tutors to find the best places to set-up long-term monitoring locations.
Be trained on use of GPS to navigate to and mark survey locations.
Possibility of mapping frog/turtle habitat using ArcGIS if intern has ability to use ArcGIS software.
Share knowledge with locals and with other fields.
Complete a short 4-5 page summary report that will help to establish future research protocols.
Depending on involvement in project, may have opportunity to collaborate on future publications, therefore learning to enter data in a systematic manner and compile it into a scientific report with introduction and literature review, methods, results (including basic statistical analysis), and discussion using peer-reviewed scientific articles.

Desired qualifications, physical requirements and work conditions, benefits, terms, fees, and application instructions can all be found here.

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