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Project Coordinator

We are looking for a Project Coordinator for the 2022 Nesting Seson in Gandoca!



March 15th until October 31st, 2022

Project Description:

Our study site is the Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge (REGAMA) in the very South of Costa Rica. The sea turtle nesting habitat within REGAMA encompasses 9.8 km of beach adjacent to the small village of Gandoca and several smaller playitas between Gandoca and the community of Manzanillo. REGAMA also harbours coral reefs and seagrass beds, which are popular feeding sites for hawksbills and greens of different life stages. Our nesting project is studying the three sea turtle species that are using Gandoca beach for nesting: hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), and less frequently green turtles (Chelonia mydas).

The work:

From March until October each year, our project is conducting nightly patrols (rain or shine) to encounter nesting females (primarily leatherbacks and hawksbills) and study the nesting populations and to protect the females and their eggs from illegal harvesting. 

Our work is a mix of conservation measures and scientific data collection. We mark all individuals to estimate population size, we collect different types of data on the morphology and growth-rate of individuals, we record the reproductive output of females, and we estimate the hatching success of nests and the numbers of hatchlings produced. We further collect samples to conduct diet studies using stable isotope analysis, and we attach a small number of satellite transmitters each year to study the habitat use of our turtles.


  • Administration of our sea turtle nesting project in Gandoca;

  • Work together with the Beach Coordinator ensuring that the beach is monitored every night during the nesting season (March to October);

  • Assist the Beach Coordinator in creating daily schedules (including volunteer schedules);

  • Assist in daily activities (beach cleaning and others);

  • Patrol five nights a week with one day per week dedicated to administration/office and one day off (or patrol six days per week, one day of office work, if days off are taken accumulated in sets of five days);

  • Supervision of the collection of the scientific data;

  • Transcribe data;

  • Help with equipment maintenance;

  • Accounting for local assistants (invoicing and VAT declaration every month);

  • In charge of the theoretical training for new research assistants and volunteers and helps with the practical training;

  • Responsible for the execution and supervision of nest excavations;

  • Maintain good relationships with important stakeholders.


  • Degree in biology, natural resource management or equivalence in experience;

  • At least three years (three full nesting seasons) of experience in sea turtle nesting projects;

  • Knowledge of international protocols of monitoring sea turtle populations, egg relocation, and mark-recapture techniques of sea turtles;

  • Proficiency in Spanish and English (written and spoken);

  • Experience of working in and with rural communities;

  • Registered with the Costa Rican “La Hacienda” as an independent worker (trabajador independiente) and ability to bill electronically for Professional Services (servicios profesionales);

  • Registered in the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social CCSS or similar;

  • The ability to live or move to the Gandoca community for the duration of the nesting season


Our expectations :

A dedication to a positive and respectful working environment is crucial. We are seeking highly enthusiastic individuals that understand the importance of our work, and that are willing to complete the job meticulously and with dedication. We need staff member to pull their own weight and be ready to pitch in and carry more if another team member is unable to. Successful applicants will be flexible individuals that can focus on a variety of tasks (nightly patrols, administration, data collection, handling animals, handling equipment, data entry, equipment maintenance, helping clean our workspace, etc.).

Large parts of the work encompass walking for long distances in soft sand at night without light, climbing steep and muddy trails, restraining animals for several hours, and sitting on the computer for long hours. The climate is very warm and humid with frequent rain at any hour of the day. Thus, for the work, adequate physical fitness is a requirement and also, being comfortable on a beach at night in potentially harsh weather, as well as living in a small rural community. 


  • 1,000 USD/month (13% IVA included)

  • INS policy on occupational hazards

We do not cover room and board, but we can assist in finding a place to rent or similar. There is also the possibility of staying in one of the cabins for 15 USD per day with three meals included at 375 or 400 USD/ month, depending on how many day off are spend away from Gandoca (and it may be, that a better monthly price can be negotiated).


Application Deadline: November 30th, 2021 

Interested applicants should send a letter of interest, a two-page resume, and contact information for two relevant references to Christine Figgener ( Subject line: Project Coordinator Gandoca

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