Fieldwork 2022

Volunteers wanted: Help us study plant evolution in the Spanish Pyrenees!

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We are looking for volunteers to assist with fieldwork  on plant speciation in the Spanish Pyrenees this coming summer (late May – early August). This is a great opportunity for anyone looking to obtain experience in fieldwork related to evolutionary biology, speciation and plant ecology.

The project: We study evolutionary dynamics and speciation in snapdragons. The study—which has been running since 2009—involves field work on natural hybrid zones between two subspecies with different coloured flowers. The goal is to understand how different evolutionary forces — like natural selection, migration, etc— have shaped this diversity.

The fieldwork: We are seeking volunteers to assist with the fieldwork, which involves working in teams to map locations of individual plants (GPS) (the plants are primarily found on the roadsides), tag and sample them for leaves and flowers, measure traits, and process material for later DNA extraction. There may also be opportunities to be involved in other projects focusing on pollinator behaviour and plant-insect interactions. The work is outdoors as well as indoors – about one-third of the of time will be spent indoors curating leaf samples and organizing/maintaining sampling equipment. The work is highly team orientated, typically in groups of 2-3 in the field and larger groups processing samples back at the research station. Since we aim to sample all living individuals in the hybrid zone during the flowering season, the daily workload can vary significantly. At peak season, we are often very busy and our daily routines change accordingly.

The location: The field site is near Planoles in a beautiful part of the Pyrenees in North Eastern Spain (Catalonia). We stay in comfortable apartments overlooking a picturesque valley, with close access to hiking trails and small villages.

The ideal applicant: is an enthusiastic, hardworking biology student with strong interest in working outdoors. You must be meticulous with recording data and also be comfortable working as part of a team. Experience with field-based projects and plants is helpful but not essential. Climbing experience is useful as a small amount work is conducted on ropes. We are looking for volunteers between the 29th May and the 1st of August. We ask people to commit to stay for 3 weeks. Applicants must be located in Europe or the UK.

What we cover: All food, lodgings, Covid testing and travel within Europe/UK are covered.

How to apply? By the closing date of March 20th please send (i) your CV, (ii) a short explanation about why you are interested, and (iii) your availability between the above dates to fieldvolunteer2022@gmail.com. Please send any questions to the same address.

*A note about Covid19
Although we are planning the field season optimistically, the Covid19 pandemic may force us to change/cancel our plans at very short notice. We will give as much notice as possible regarding any changes. Assuming the field season proceeds normally, all volunteers will be required to present a negative Covid PCR test prior to their arrival in the field.