[meetyeti] Fwd: [ASAB-MAIL] volunteers, South Africa: small mammal socio-ecology

  • From: YETI <meet.yeti@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: meetyeti <meetyeti@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 21 May 2014 11:14:35 +0530

Might be of interest.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Binoy vv <vvbinoy@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, May 20, 2014 at 4:44 PM
Subject: Fwd: [ASAB-MAIL] volunteers, South Africa: small mammal socio-ecology
To: Young Ecologists Talk & Interact YETI <meet.yeti@xxxxxxxxx>

Several volunteers needed

as field assistants for the project:

Evolution and Socio-Ecology of small Mammals in the Succulent Karoo of
South Africa

Opportunity: This is a great opportunity for anybody who wants to get
more experience in field work relating to eco-physiology, animal
behavior, evolution, and ecology before starting an MSc or PhD

Project: We study the evolutionary and ecological reasons as well as
physiological mechanisms of group living, paternal care, communal
nesting and social flexibility in the striped mouse. One focus is on
the adaptation to droughts, combining physiological, behavioral,
ecological and evolutionary research. As this species is diurnal and
the habitat is open, direct behavioral observations in the field are

What kind of people are needed? Biology/zoology/veterinary students
are preferred as candidates. Applicants must have an interest in
working in the field and with animals. Hard working conditions will
await applicants, as the study species gets up with sunrise (between 5
and 6 o` clock), and stops its activity with dusk (19 o` clock). Work
during nights might also be necessary. Work in the field will be done
for 5 days a week. Applicants must be able to manage extreme
temperatures (below 0 at night in winter, sometimes over 40°C during
summer days). Applicants must both be prepared to live for long
periods in the loneliness of the field and to be part of a small
social group.

Work of volunteer field assistants: Trapping, marking and
radio-tracking of striped mice; direct behavioral observations in the
field. Volunteers will also see how blood samples are collected for
physiological measurements. Volunteers are expected to help with
maintenance of the research station (water pump, solar power, etc.).

Confirmation letter: Students get a letter of confirmation about their
work and can prepare a report of their own small project to get credit
points from their university for their bachelor or masters studies.

Costs: Students have to arrange their transport to the field site
themselves. Per month, an amount of Rand 1300 (around 180 US$, 110
Euro) must be paid for accommodation at the research station. Students
must buy their own food etc in Springbok (costs of about R 3000,
approx. 360 US$ or 250 Euro/month). Including extras (going out for
dinner; shopping), you should expect costs of about 600 US$ / 450
Euros per month. Students get an invitation letter which they can use
to apply for funding in their home country.

Place: The field site is in the Goegap Nature Reserve near Springbok
in the North-West of South Africa. The vegetation consists of
Succulent Karoo, which has been recognized as one of 25 hotspots of
biodiversity. It is a desert to semi-desert with rain mainly in winter
(June to September).

When and how long: At the moment we are looking for several volunteers
starting in July / August 2014. Volunteers are expected to stay at
least three months, but longer periods of up to 6months are preferred.

How to apply? Send a short motivation letter stating why and for which
period you are interested and your CV via email to

More information under



Contact via e-mail: succulent.karoo.research.station@xxxxxxxxxx

Succulent Karoo Research Station

a registered South African non-profit organization

Dr. Carsten Schradin (Director)

South Africa


A report by Romy Höppli, student at the University of Zurich, who
staid in Goegap June to August 2008

Blue skies without a single cloud for six weeks – rocky mountains with
little vegetation –  yellow, orange and pink fields of flowers in
whatever direction you look – small mammals, lizards and birds in our
front yard and Mountain Zebras, Springbok and Ostrich right next

This was my time at the Succulent Karoo Research Station in Goegap
Nature Reserve in South Africa! During six weeks from the beginning of
July until the middle of August I've been living here, studying mice,
experiencing nature like never before and being part of a small
community where there was always something to laugh and joke about!

After arriving in Goegap, right the next morning my scientific
adventure in South Africa began: Setting and checking traps, nest
observations and radio-tracking were our daily routine. While I got
bitten by the mice quite often in the beginning and my right middle
finger was scarred all over, I improved quickly shaking the mice out
of the traps, weighing them and checking the number of the ear tag.
Other duties like cleaning the cages of the mice in the captive
colony, washing the dirt from probably several months out of the
traps, painting the new Wendy House and putting in a floor and
curtains quickly added to our daily field work activities.

It was never boring in Goegap! There was always something to do:
studying the striped mouse, listening to the interesting and funny
stories every member could tell or just enjoying the time while
reading a book or writing e-mails to friends to tell them about this
unique experience. Here, the weekly trip back to 'civilization' in
Springbok for shopping, sending e-mails and having lunch at „Nando's“
- the best (Portuguese) fast food I ever tasted - was always a
highlight and the occasional trip to „Beaver's“, the towns funniest
pub, where all the locals went to, was a good opportunity to dance,
make party and enjoy the relaxed South African way of life!

My six weeks down here were full of great experiences and I enjoyed
every single day! Hopefully, I will be able to come back to Goegap
Nature Reserve one day!


Dr. Carsten Schradin

Director of the Succulent Karoo Research Station (South African
non-profit organization), Goegap Nature Reserve, PO Box 1010, 8240
Springbok, South Africa



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