JOB TITLE: Aldabra Science Coordinator
LOCATION: Aldabra Atoll, Seychelles
SALARY: SG11; Subject to qualifications and experience
REPORTING TO: Chief Executive Officer, Science Coordinator, Consulting Director of Research and Conservation,
The Aldabra Science Coordinator (ASC) provides overall scientific supervision, oversight and management on Aldabra Atoll for the Seychelles Islands Foundation. This role encompasses wide-ranging tasks, including ensuring that all monitoring programmes and research projects run efficiently and produce high quality standardised data, coordinating and supervising research staff and volunteers, advising on and developing projects, assisting and advising international research teams and always enforcing the rules and regulations of Aldabra by all staff, researchers and visitors. As of 2024, the role also provides support for the Aldabra rat and cat eradication (RaCE) feasibility work programme, with respect to staffing and scheduling. It should be noted that the responsibilities listed below are broad but not all-encompassing.
ASC WORK DUTIES:
Data collection and management
- Manage SIF’s scientific monitoring and conservation projects on Aldabra, ensure that the research and conservation programmes, including all monitoring programmes and relevant aspects of other projects, are carried out efficiently and according to protocol, are standardised and produce high quality data.
- Liaise closely with the CEO, Science Coordinator (SC), Director of Research and Conservation (DRC) and Island Manager regarding duties.
- Cooperate with and report to the Island Manager on all matters concerning research facilities, field trips, visiting scientists, volunteers and other visitors.
- Schedule and supervise the work of all research staff and oversee the boatmen/skipper/research staff when at field camps.
- Maintain and update all records and data (electronic and hard copies) and ensure that they are kept organised, easily accessible and regularly backed up in the appropriate place on the server.
- Ensure that all monitoring datasets are kept up to date and clean at all times.
- Regularly review and update monitoring and sampling protocols, and Aldabra ASC manual.
- Supervise and review specific monitoring reports and provide the necessary support to staff in writing these.
- In liaison with the DRC and RaCE project coordinator, supervise the development of new monitoring required to assess the impacts of rats and cats, and their eventual removal, on Aldabra.
- Contribute to scientific papers about Aldabra as needed.
Research and RaCE support and development
- Liaise closely (daily) with the RaCE Team Leader to ensure full understanding of objectives, priorities and workplan and cooperation on these.
- Provide strong support for the RaCE project, including overseeing the activity schedule, ensuring RaCE feasibility activities are prioritised, providing research staff to assist with RaCE activities when necessary, and providing logistical and administrative support.
- Provide support, staff assistance and feedback for other approved and ongoing projects where needed and according to specific research agreement conditions.
- Support and supervise students (where applicable) in delivering agreed research projects by providing data and facilitating research support to ensure that these projects are of a high standard.
- Provide feedback on research proposals concerning Aldabra.
- Advise and support visiting research groups and ensure that such groups comply with the regulations at all times.
- Collect samples for and support non-visiting approved researchers according to specific research agreement conditions.
- Where needed and in collaboration with Head Office, develop monitoring proposals based on priority research for RaCE and Aldabra and implement such projects if approved.
- Ensure that approved projects and decisions/recommendations on research and monitoring are implemented.
Organisation, reporting and communication
- Communicate with Head Office and the SC/DRC regularly (at least weekly but more often where appropriate) to update on progress and issues pertaining to research related issues and priorities, and ensure that the HO staff are briefed very regularly on queries, research and monitoring plans, team composition, staff management and schedules.
- Produce a monthly work schedule for the research team in advance, in collaboration with the logistics department.
- Communicate weekly work plans ahead of time to the Island Manager and liaise with the Island Manager on a daily basis regarding logistics to ensure good planning and transparency.
- Develop and implement, as closely as possible once approved, an annual work plan and accompanying budget for Aldabra research in close liaison with Head Office and the Island Manager.
- Prepare and submit information on projects and monitoring programmes as requested by Head Office.
- Submit a concise monthly report summarising details of monitoring and research activities, as per the report template and Head Office request, by the 15th of the following month.
- Submit a more substantial quarterly report presenting quarterly data summaries and analysis and brief interpretation of all main monitoring programmes and any problems encountered.
- Produce a comprehensive annual report collating summaries and analysis from monthly and quarterly reports, putting the data into context over time, comparing with previous years and adding more detailed interpretation.
- Liaise with external experts/researchers on request concerning Aldabra research, projects and equipment issues.
- Produce contributions for SIF outreach and education materials and social media on request, including monthly newsletter articles, annual report text, bi-weekly Facebook posts, presentations and newspaper/magazine articles.
Training and dissemination of information
- Lead the on-the-job education and training of the field research assistants and rangers, and encourage self-improvement through further education, experience and training.
- Deliver presentations about aspects of Aldabra and the work to staff, visitors, and SIF Board members as requested.
- Give presentation to Aldabra staff and residents upon arrival (introduction, relevant background) as part of the induction process and deliver a work output presentation at the end of the contract.
- Assist with and potentially lead preparation of manuscripts for submission to scientific journals on subjects which have been identified in collaboration with and approved by SIF management, which should be worked on with other involved SIF research staff including a member of the management. Ensure that the manuscript plans, preparation, submission and production process are all transparent with CEO, DRC and SC.
Equipment and specimen collections
- Be responsible for all research equipment, including updating inventories, maintenance and checking of items, signing equipment to staff in and out, coordinating incident reports for lost/broken equipment, planning well ahead for necessary equipment, sourcing equipment internationally where applicable, and communicating necessary research requisitions clearly to the Island Manager and HO.
- Maintain and update the library and inform Head Office of library requirements and new publication requests.
- Maintain all Aldabra specimen collections in good order, including the herbarium collection and prepare new specimens as required.
Administration and staffing
- Hold weekly research meetings with all research and RaCE staff on Aldabra and ensure notes are taken of these meetings.
- With the Island Manager, ensure that at least bi-weekly management meetings are held on Aldabra and where required, take minutes and send to Head Office.
- Conduct mid-term and end-of-term performance appraisals for research staff, and provide Head Office through the Island Manager with information and recommendations on staff contract renewals, promotions, terminations, disciplinary measures and bonus payments. Notify Head Office for follow up of exit interviews on Mahé.
- Ensure that all research staff, volunteers, students and visiting researchers adhere to SIF protocols, policies and regulations. Assist staff where necessary in understanding these documents, including the Code of Conduct, and policies on environmental management, diving, alcohol, internet usage and other regulations and memos which may be issued periodically.
- In liaison with the Island Manager, be responsible for communications on disciplinary measures of Aldabra research staff and visiting scientists including full, prompt reporting of all incidents and disciplinary actions to Head Office.
- In liaison with the Island Manager provide recommendations for new recruits needed on the research team.
- Communicate staff issues as soon as possible to CEO, SC and DRC.
Biosecurity and other tasks
- Ensure that biosecurity measures are carried out according to the Aldabra biosecurity plan, that nominated biosecurity officers on the atoll are aware of the procedures, that regular biosecurity presentations and recaps are done with staff, and that all staff understand the need for strong biosecurity whenever there is any transport (supply boat, flight, visiting vessels).
- Assist with and help to organise non-research tasks as required and appropriate such as loading and unloading of supplies and equipment, cleaning activities, fish processing, construction of field camps, renovation work on station facilities (exceeding capacity of logistic staff), path clearing etc.
- When visitors are on the atoll, in liaison with the tourism coordinator, accompany groups on board, in the water or on land, provide information to tourists and designate suitable staff to accompany visitors at all times on Aldabra. Ensure research staff are well prepared for visits and that all are aware of the importance of ensuring that visitors adhere to the rules and regulations of Aldabra. In cases of problems with adherence or other issues with visiting groups, ensure that complaints are written up and communicated to Head Office.
- Due to the nature of the work on Aldabra, carry out other work-related duties as required.
- Minimum MSc in environmental/conservation subject or equivalent (essential)
- Minimum of 2 years of experience coordinating monitoring, research and conservation programmes (essential), preferably in the tropics and on small islands, ideally with mixed nationality teams
- Minimum 1 year working on small remote islands/remote areas with basic facilities (essential, longer preferred)
- Demonstrated experience of managing long-term datasets (essential)
- Demonstrated experience of regular report-writing and meeting deadlines (essential)
- Competency with IT, specifically with MS software, GPS & GIS software, familiarity with statistics (essential)
- Demonstrated experience working with and interest with invasive alien species (preferred)
- Excellent and demonstrated organisation and time management skills (essential)
- Diving qualification (minimum PADI Adv or equivalent preferred, Rescue Diver ideal + ample diving experience)
- High level of fitness and able to work in the field in tropical conditions, ability to swim well (essential)
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills (essential)
- Good time management, organisational, multi-tasking and prioritisation skills (essential)
- Proven determination and commitment to conservation and good knowledge of international conservation issues and invasive alien species management (essential)
- Additional experience working in the environmental/conservation sector in Seychelles (preferred)
- Personal characteristics should include mature, level-headed and calm character; positivity; problem-solving approach; resourcefulness; ability to take initiative; flexibility; professionalism; social skills to maintain professional relationships with staff even in non-work time; high integrity
- First Aid / medical training experience (preferred)