A Teaching Assistant (TA) is needed for a six-week field course in tropical
rainforest ecology and conservation in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo during June
22-Aug 4, 2016. The course is offered through Wildlands Studies, LLC, a
California-based company; the course, however, is taught entirely in the
field in Malaysia. Throughout the field course students will explore the
ecology of Sabah’s major terrestrial ecosystems, the natural history of key
plant and animal taxa, and some of the leading conservation challenges
facing the region.

The course begins in the highlands of the Crocker Range, in the western
part of Sabah. Here, we will explore how a complex geological and
evolutionary history has resulted in an exceptional diversity of montane
habitats and an extraordinary variety of specialized tropical plants,
insects, and other animals that inhabit them, many of which are endemic to
the island. From the highlands we descend into the Danum Valley, in Sabah’s
lowland rainforest. Danum Valley today is still dominated by old-growth
trees in the family Dipterocarpaceae, which are among the world’s tallest
trees. Their large size and high abundance makes clearcutting highly
profitable in this region and, as a result, outside of Danum very little
primary rainforest remains. Once the rainforest has been cleared African
oil palms are usually planted in vast monocultures, and this has emerged as
one of the leading threats to Borneo’s biodiversity. After finishing in
Danum Valley we will travel overland to the Kinabatangan region where we
will continue our field studies of Bornean wildlife and also the palm oil
industry that threatens it. We will end the course in Sepilok, home to one
of the world’s most successful wildlife rehabilitation projects for
endangered Bornean orangutans. Here, we will reflect on what we have
learned about the intertwined fates of the Bornean natural and cultural

Position description

The TA will provide academic and logistical support to the course lead
instructor. Duties may include, but are not limited to, leading
interpretive group hikes and supervising other group activities,
record-keeping, and general group oversight. Group activities may include
lectures and group discussions led by Wildlands Studies faculty and
visiting researchers, group field projects such as insect diversity and
sampling, estimation of aboveground biomass, and wildlife monitoring
studies. The TA will also assist students in data collection for
independent research projects on topics spanning wildlife ecology and
biology, botany, entomology, and natural history.

The TA is an integral part of the course risk management plan, and thus the
applicant should also be prepared to work with the lead instructor to
manage a variety of potential emergency situations while in the field.


Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in ecology, conservation
biology, or a related field. Applicants with research or teaching
experience in the tropics, especially in Borneo or Southeast Asia, and/or
knowledge of Bornean natural history will be preferred. Applicants should
also work well with others in an intimate field setting under intense
physical and emotional pressure and be mature and detail-oriented. In
general, the TA will be responsible for contributing to a positive learning
environment throughout the duration of the field course.


This is an unpaid position. However, all course-related expenses will be
covered, including room, board, local transportation, and international
round-trip airfare (int’l airfare reimbursed upon course completion).

How to apply

To apply send a cover letter and a current CV to Dr. Geoff Gallice (course
lead instructor)
[email protected]

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Pout toute autre question, vous pouvez contacter [email protected].