Paid field research assistant for Guinea baboon research in Senegal

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Federica Dal Pesco

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Mar 21, 2024, 12:58:45 PMMar 21
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Field research assistant for Guinea baboon research in Senegal

Starting as soon as possible


The Cognitive Ethology Lab at the German Primate Center (DPZ) is searching for a

motivated research assistant to conduct behavioral observations of wild Guinea baboons in the Niokolo-Koba National Park in Senegal.


Since 2007, we have been operating the field station “Centre de Recherche de Primatology (CRP) Simenti” (https://www.dpz.eu/en/unit/cognitive-ethology/field-station.html), where we study several groups of Guinea

baboons that are part of a community of more than 400 individuals. We combine behavioral observations, analysis of ranging patterns using GPS data, population genetics, acoustic analyses, and phenological data to examine the relationship between ecology, social system, and vocal behavior. Within a comparative framework, our goal is to identify the selective pressures and constraints that shape primate social behavior.


What we offer:

A paid student assistant position for a minimum duration of 12 months (salary: €520/month in the first year,

€850/month thereafter).

We cover all work-related travel costs, medical insurance, necessary medical examinations and vaccinations, and malaria prophylaxis. Lodging is free. Note that we will reimburse these costs only after the completion of one year of data collection.

An amazing opportunity to learn about the lives of wild Guinea baboons in their natural environment.

An opportunity to gain new skills and gain proficiency in diverse research and scientific methods relevant for research in behavior and ecology.

The unique opportunity to gain field experience in a West African national park, train with experienced behavioral biologists, and collaborate with a long-term project on African wildlife hosted by local institutions.


This position is open to all candidates with an interest in animal behavior and primate social relationships. We are particularly keen to hear from applicants who:

Are strongly motivated, reliable, and committed.

Show good initiative, with a willingness to learn and attention to detail.

Are happy to live and work under harsh conditions.

Are able to walk long distances in the heat.

Have field experience/ experience with observing animals.

Have good intercultural communication skills.

Have team spirit.

Have basic knowledge of French and fluency in English.

Have a clean driver's license.


Successful volunteers are trained by and work closely with field managers, researchers, PhD students, and local field assistants to contribute to the research activities of the CRP Simenti Project. They follow established protocols to conduct daily follows of a natural population of Guinea baboons on foot, collecting data on the behavior of individually recognizable animals.


The main tasks of successful volunteers include:

Recording demographic and census data from our study groups.

Collecting behavioral observations and GPS data.

Collecting fecal samples for genetic and hormonal analysis.

Pre-processing non-invasive biological samples in our field lab.

Contributing to the running of the long-term research project and field station.


Check out our website for more information on the life and work at our field station and our ongoing research: https://www.dpz.eu/en/unit/cognitive-ethology/field-station.html.

See also https://osf.io/ak3w4/ for our work manual.


If you are interested in the position, please send a motivation letter, a CV, and the names of two referees to our Team Assistant, Lena Kimmel (LKi...@dpz.eu). The deadline is rolling until a suitable candidate is found.




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