Whether you’re considering a career in field biology and want to explore the possibility further, want to satisfy an academic curiosity about biological research and/or conservation in the tropics, or just want to try something challenging and new, we’re excited to work with you to advance our mission in the Peruvian Amazon!
LENGTH OF STAY: 4, 8 or 12 weeks
DATES: Rolling basis starting May 27, 2019
LOCATION: Peru, Madre de Dios region.
We have three Internship Programs designed to provide individuals—students, early-career or aspiring scientists, and/or those with a deeper interest in tropical biology or conservation—with the chance to learn through direct, hands-on engagement in basic scientific research and applied conservation projects. Each of our three Internship Programs share a common academic structure that includes an exploration of topics in tropical biology and conservation through hands-on activities and skills-building exercises, readings and guided discussions of the primary scientific literature and in-depth independent study. Skills developed by interns: Training and practice in basic field research skills, including off-trail navigation and use of GPS and GIS, techniques used in studies of tropical biodiversity, ecology, and conservation (e.g., experimental design, data collection, management, and analysis, forest inventory plots, tree climbing and canopy access, wildlife and insect survey methods, camera trapping, etc.) Identification of major Amazonian plant and animal groups (e.g., trees, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, insects and other invertebrates) Sustainable tropical agriculture methods and best practices Weekly assigned readings on topics covering tropical biology, sustainable development, and conservation Guided reading discussions from the primary scientific literature Advanced field research methodology through in-depth Independent Research Project Interns will contribute to ASA´s various projects in the field through hands-on participation.
Ongoing projects for 2019 include the following: Biological inventories – Butterflies (hand nets and baited traps), birds (weekly point count surveys and opportunistic sightings), mammals (camera traps), herpetofauna (reptiles & amphibians; nocturnal surveys). Butterfly biology – Searching potential host plants for immatures (eggs and caterpillars) and rearing immatures to adulthood in the field laboratory. Plant phenology – Weekly surveys for timing of fruiting and flowering of select rain forest tree and plant species, as well as the addition of new species to the project protocol. Cacao agroforestry – Growing cacao (source of chocolate) as part of a diverse agroforestry system, incorporating native food, medicine, and fiber plants into the system.
Environmental education – We are working to create awareness of environmental issues and foster an environmentally-conscious society in the southern Peruvian Amazon. Our environmental education projects focus mostly on elementary and high school children in Madre de Dios, Peru. Independent research Interns staying 8-12 weeks (Advanced & Academic Quarter programs) have the option of completing an in-depth independent research project on a topic of their choosing that is aligned with the ASA`s research priorities, under the guidance of ASA faculty. This allows interns to build upon what they learn at the beginning of the program and apply it to a project in an area that is novel or interesting to them. Topics may also be assigned in an area of our faculty’s academic expertise, including wildlife biology and ecology, entomology, botany, natural history, sustainable tropical agriculture, and community development. Past interns have completed a variety of projects, including the construction of artificial macaw nest boxes, inventories of rain forest carbon stocks, and diagnostic surveys in local communities, among others.
Requirements: An academic background or strong interest in biology, ecology, agriculture, or conservation is highly recommended. We do not offer academic credit through our organization, but we are happy to work with your home institution so that interns may gain credit. All instruction at the site is in English. Although Spanish is not required, at least basic skills are useful.