LTEP Volunteer Announcement



Sept 6th through Dec 15th, 2017

Complete applications must be submitted by August 4th, 2017


RESEARCH DESCRIPTION: The Environmental Science Department of the University of Puerto Rico is seeking four (4) volunteers to assist with various field campaigns associated with a set of long-term research plots along an elevation gradient in the El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico. The Luquillo Mountains, ranging to 1075 m in elevation, present a gradient of climate and vegetation change that extends through five life zones (subtropical moist forest to lower montane rainforest). The overarching question that motivates the research explores how climate-related change will affect the abundance and distribution of organisms along elevational gradients. Volunteers will be expected to assist with a number of projects, including but not limited to: installation of permanent plot markers and other site set-up, measuring and identifying trees, water sample collection, shrimp trapping and measuring, stream algae and invertebrate sampling, lizard and frog surveys, soil sampling, canopy arthropod collection, acoustic equipment setup, and data entry. While in Puerto Rico, volunteers will have the opportunity to learn about diverse aspects of tropical ecology from scientists involved in the Luquillo Long-Term Ecological Research Program (LUQ-LTER).


Volunteers will work as a team in the field, often in very wet and muddy conditions. Generally, volunteers will work 8 am-4 pm Monday-Friday with weekends free. However, overnight camping in the forest for up to 3 nights may be required for parts of the project (we will provide camping hammocks and rain flies, but volunteers must provide all additional gear). The project will involve strenuous field work, requiring hiking long distances daily in steep, rocky, wet terrain while carrying up to 20 lbs of equipment and exposure to biting insects and stinging plants.

PERIOD: Sept 6th-Dec 15th, 2017, with potential opportunities for extension into 2018 depending on project status.

STIPEND: $600 per month to cover food and general living expenses.

ACCOMMODATION: Free accommodation at the El Verde Field Station in Puerto Rico.  Housing is communal using shared resources.  The field station is relatively isolated; we will provide transportation to and from the airport and grocery store, but any personal travel will need to be done with a rented vehicle.

TRAVEL: Refund of up to $750 towards a round-trip plane ticket from mainland USA, if not already living in Puerto Rico.

NOTE: We are unable to provide any medical insurance. Check with your insurance company to see if you will be covered in Puerto Rico.

REQUIREMENTS:  College graduates with a background in biology, ecology, or environmental science. Applicants must be able to hike long distances in difficult terrain while carrying up to 20 lbs several days in a row. Positive attitude and willingness to work long hours in sometimes unpleasant conditions. First aid training useful, but not required.  We are currently only considering US citizens and permanent US residents for these opportunities.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: Interested applicants must fill out the online application at

The following additional materials must also be submitted via email to the LUQ-LTER Coordinator, Sarah Stankavich, before the application deadline at

1) A letter of interest indicating why you wish to work on the elevation gradient project and describing your relevant experience.  Include a statement that you understand your application is for a volunteer position;

2) Full resume;

3) University transcripts (scanned unofficial transcripts are fine).

Please condense materials into as few attachments as possible. All email attachments must include the name of the applicant as part of the file name
. Because we are hiring for multiple opportunities at this time, be sure to include the position name in the subject of your email.

Please email further inquiries to

Following phone interviews, we will inform successful applicants in mid August, 2017.

For more information about the Luquillo LTER research program and the El Verde Field Station, please see, and