[Taxacom] Job Announcement: technical-scientific assistant in Chilean Patagonia

Vreni Häussermann v.haussermann at gmail.com
Tue Jun 26 10:27:36 CDT 2012

*Job Announcement for a technical-scientific assistant*

We are a private Foundation that is operating a scientific field station in
Chilean Patagonia. Huinay Scientific Field Station was inaugurated in 2001
and is situated 100 km south of Puerto Montt, in the fjord Comau; it is the
only scientific station in a Chilean fjord. The surroundings are
characterized by steep mountains and volcanoes. Almost 6000 mm annual
precipitation gives rise to extremely lush vegetation characterized by
extra-tropical rain forests.

The small village Huinay with its approx. 25 inhabitants can only be
accessed by a 1-1.5 hour boat-trip (speed boat) from Hornopiren. Most
infrastructure - except some small shops and a rural hospital in Hornopiren
- is located in Puerto Montt, a 3 to 4 h drive or bus trip from Hornopiren.

Knowledge on organisms and ecological functioning of the fjord ecosystems
is very poor in Chilean Patagonia especially in the marine environment. The
goal of the station is-besides carrying out some own projects- to attract
national and international projects which help to fill the existing gaps.

To accomplish this, the field station has basic infrastructure: a dry and a
wet laboratory, diving and lodging facilities (8 rooms for up to 16

Projects involve all kinds of terrestrial and marine base-line research but
main focus is on the marine environment and counseling for the
establishment of a network of marine protected areas. In this context we
are mainly promoting inventory studies of the fjord ecosystems and we
generally organize one expedition to remote areas of the fjord region each

We recently finished a major project, a scientific field guide for marine
benthic fauna of Chilean Patagonia (see www.PatagoniaMarina.info).

We have telephone and internet access via satellite (rarely good enough for
voice or video skype) and power supply by a hydroelectric plant. The
assistants are supervised and report to two biologists in charge of the
scientific operation who are approximately a third of the time on the
station, but can be contacted practically at any time. Besides these two
scientists (the scientific director and a research coordinator) the
permanent staff consists of the two scientific-technical assistants, one
GIS/data base assistant, an administrator, his wife (and assistant), a
replacement of the administrator, two boat captains, 1-2 persons in charge
for cooking and cleaning, and approx. 3 auxiliary administrative workers.
We try to have 1-2 interns at any time at the station who help the
scientific-technical assistants. Scientists can visit throughout the year,
but mostly come between December and April (in the last years we had
approx. 15 groups with a total of 40-50 scientists yearly)

We are looking for one *technical-scientific assistants* for approx. two
years (can be longer, too), beginning December 2012. We are ideally looking
for technicians with biological knowledge and interest with the following

*Key abilities:*

-          fluent English

-          profound diving skills (>200 dives) and experience with
cold-water (dry suit) diving and diving under difficult conditions, ideally
at least dive master or equivalent

-          good Spanish knowledge (at least good conversation level for
phone calls and email conversation)

*We cannot consider any candidates without these key abilities!*

In addition he/she should:

-          be an open, communicative, easy-going and nature-loving person
who has no problems or rather enjoys to live in an isolated and rainy place
and be able to adapt to new situations

-          be self motivating and able to deal with difficulties of living
in a small remote place with few people

-          *be an organized and multi-tasking-able person* (it is necessary
to parallelly keep track of a lot of different tasks, of sampled specimens,
the small library etc.)

-          have a friendly but convincing way and be able to represent
authority e.g. to enforce our rules towards scientific visitors, hold up in
discussions against fishermen etc. (some intercultural experience and being
above a certain age generally makes this easier)

-          have technical understanding and *basic skills to take care of
laboratory* (microscope, binoculars, aquaria,..) and diving equipment
(compressor, tanks, regulators,..)*

-          have a general scientific, biological (*taxonomical*) and
ecological interest and understanding (ideally knowledge of or interest in
invertebrates and their sampling and preservation). But please keep in
mind: This is not a research position!*

-          be flexible, patient and should be able to improvise (experience
in developing countries or better in South America is of advantage)

-          have basic computer skills (Windows XP/7, MSOffice, Internet).
System administrative skills are of big advantage.

-          Have a car driving license. *Ideally have experience in driving
small motor boats*; A Chilean boat license officially is necessary for this
but can also be made in Chile.

*: The work responsibilities can also be divided between the two assistants
so that one assistant is more technically and one more scientifically
oriented. *This time we are especially looking for a person with technical
skills, and with strong diving skills.*

The assistants are in charge of and keep track of the day to day scientific
activity at this field station and represent the scientific staff towards
visiting scientists, tourists who come by etc. during the absence of the
staff biologists. They are in charge of database work, keep track on
ongoing projects, train and supervise interns etc. They can and should work
quite independent, but follow the guidelines given by the scientific
director/managing scientist and ask for feed-back when major decisions have
to be taken.

The work includes:

-          assisting the scientific director/managing scientist and
visiting scientists in miscellaneous tasks whenever required but also be
able to “see” and resolve problems and work independently.

-          supervising interns/trainee students

-          taking care of laboratory and diving equipment (daily care and
evening check when visitors are present, general maintenance, minor and
simple repairs)

-          being the main contact person for visiting scientists (e.g.
answering general questions by e-mail ahead of the visits, requesting and
administrating required forms; explaining logistics and infrastructure at
the station, explaining lab rules; organizing the boat trips for scientists
and helping that lab work and daily life goes smoothly) and redirect
questions and requests when work fields or competences of other staff
members are addressed.

-          present the scientific infrastructure and work to visitors and
explaining ongoing projects (also non-scientific: in summer regular tourist

-          entering information in databases or supervise interns to do so
(literature, biological, oceanographic data and special observations on the
fjord Comau)

-          preserving, logging and shipping of samples (e.g. specimens);
possibly also taking pictures of collected specimens

-          administration of information about visiting scientists (boat
trips, rented equipment, time of stay, questionnaires, pictures …);
regularly sending updated information to the persons in charge of the

-          accompanying visiting scientists on dive trips (of course not
all visitors dive): showing and explaining dive sites and taking care that
diving and sampling rules are respected (but no dive guiding)

-          operating and maintaining the compressor

-          help in the acquisition and maintenance of equipment (search for
distributors, ask for prices quotes, tracking orders, organize repairs,
emitting complaints when necessary etc.…

We offer:

-          550.000 CLP/ month (1133 US$) for the first 6 months, 650.000
CLP/month (1200 US$) from month 7 to 12, and another raise after one year
-10% tax -7% health insurance -3% retirement ensurance, the latter one can
partially be reimbursed for foreigners when leaving the country (remark:
general health insurance is pretty good in Chile and there is an additional
health insurance for work related accidents and diseases)

-          reimbursement of expenses for an additional dive accident
insurance like DAN or equivalent (this insurance is mandatory for anyone
diving at Huinay Scientific Field Station and must be contracted by the
diver prior to dive activities at the station)

-          Free lodging and food on the station and free transport from and
to Hornopiren on regular boat trips (there arise no expenses during the
stay on the station). You can also take the ferry that runs twice a week
for approx. 3 US$

-          trip/flight back to the place of origin (if outside of Chile)
after termination of the work contract

-          4 days off for every 11 days of work (flexible handling is
possible and necessary; but days off cannot be accumulated for more than 1
month) and 15 days of vacation days (Monday through Friday) each year

-          flexible handling of daily work hours, but there are core hours
when at least one assistant should be available

You can find more information on the website http://www.huinay.cl or ask
Emma or Dan ("Research Assistant" <huinayresearch(at)gmail.com>).

We are looking forward to your applications consisting of the filled out
form (ask the research assistants for it), a cover letter explaining your
personal incentive to apply at Huinay Scientific Field Station, and why you
think you are qualified for the job, and a CV (not longer than 4 pages).
Applications that do not include the asked documents cannot be considered.
You can ask for the form (as Word, Excel or pdf document) at
huinayresearch(ad)gmail.com. Please already list 3-5 possible references,
which will be necessary for applicants on the short list (these referees
should know you personally and mainly describe your abilities to deal with
difficult and unknown situations, rather than pure professional abilities);
please do not send them now! Please send the application to
huinayresearch(ad)gmail.com –

Replace (ad) with @ in the e-mail addresses!

It is necessary that the successful applicants apply for their work visas
prior to arrival at the station. Successful applicants will be sent copies
of the work contract which need to be signed and returned for confirmation
by a legal representative in order for you to apply for a work visa. This
process can take up to 8 weeks.

*DEADLINE: 1.9.2012*

!!NEW RELEASE!!  Marine Benthic Fauna of Chilean Patagonia - illustrated
identification guide

Dr. Vreni Häussermann
Director of the Huinay Scientific Field Station
Websites: http://vreni.anthozoa.info/homepagevreni/, www.anthozoa.com,
Field of work: taxonomy and biogeography of Chilean Anthozoa, especially
sea anemones
Present address: Casilla 1150, Puerto Montt
Phone: 0056-65-280368

More information about the Taxacom mailing list