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Invasive Garter Snake Research Assistant

Mount Allison University

  Posted: April 27, 2021

  Location: Sackville, NB

  Internship Program: Natural Resources

  Salary Range: $10,000 - $20,000

  Hours per Week: 35

  Start Date: June 26, 2023

  End Date: September 8, 2023

Job Description

This position involves assisting and working on a research project investigating the distribution and behaviour
of gartersnakes in Newfoundland. The island of Newfoundland has historically reported no reptiles, but
gartersnakes have been introduced to the island over the last 50 years, and may now be able to survive the
winters due to changing climate. The main objective of this work is to identify where Newfoundland
gartersnakes originated, how their behaviour differs from mainland populations, and whether they are
impacting the local ecosystem, with the intention of informing future management targets for the
population. The project is a scientific research study and will offer students research experience in a STEM
field directly applicable to their long-term career goals.

Duties and Responsibilities

Responsibilities of the placement include the following activities:
1) Assisting with capturing gartersnakes, including installing coverboards. Learning about safe handling
2) Collecting additional data on these animals, including biometrics, tissue samples, and behaviour, as well as
the environments they inhabit.
3) Learning how to manage this data appropriately both during field collection and back in the lab to ensure
transparent and reproducible scientific practices.
4) Being trained on and learning about ethical animal research and best practices for minimizing the transfer
of wildlife disease.
5) Report writing and presenting the findings once the field work is complete

Knowledge and Skills

We are looking for a candidate with general outdoor experience (e.g., hiking and canoeing) who is
comfortable in the wilderness. A familiarity with Atlantic herpetofauna and a keen interest in conservation
biology would be an asset. The successful candidate will need to be able to work as a member of a team. The
intern will be trained to capture and measure gartersnakes and other non-native herpetofauna. This will
require a fair degree traversing rough terrain (physical) as well as working with local landowners to build
working relationships and gain access to private properties where the snakes may roam (interpersonal
The goal of this internship is to provide the candidate with experiences pertinent to conservation and future
climate planning. It is our hope that this opportunity will provide the experience and networking to allow the
candidate further opportunities in conservation related jobs or graduate school.

Education Required

Has begun a university program in biological, ecological, or environmental science (2nd to 4th student or graduate)

Certification Required

Driver's license

  How to Apply

To apply, send your resume to

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