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17 de enero de 2019

ASAB Summer Meeting “Frontiers in the Study of Animal Behaviour”, Konstanz, Germany


We are looking forward to welcoming you to Konstanz from the 26th to 28th August for the ASAB Summer Meeting “Frontiers in the Study of Animal Behaviour”, hosted by the Max Planck Department of Collective Behaviour at the University of Konstanz.
http://collectivebehaviour.com/

We are delighted to have a great lineup of plenary speakers, including:


Meg Crofoot, UC Davis http://crofoot.ucdavis.edu/
Jason Kerr, Max Planck CAESAR Bonn https://www.caesar.de/en/our-research/behavior-and-brain-organization/research-focus.html
Mary “Cassie” Stoddard, Princeton University https://www.marycstoddard.com/
Emily Shepard, Swansea University https://www.swansea.ac.uk/staff/science/biosciences/e.l.c.shepard/
Nachum Ulanovski, Weizmann Institute of Science http://www.weizmann.ac.il/neurobiology/labs/ulanovsky/


In addition to talks, we will also be hosting workshops to provide training in state-of-the-art behavioural acquisition and analysis technologies for both the lab and field, and across scales of biological organisation. Topics will include automated tracking and body posture analysis, machine (deep) learning in animal behavior, acoustic analysis, drone-based imaging, global animal tracking and analysis of behaviour and genomics in the wild.


Further details, as well as information about the remarkable landscape, UNESCO world heritage sites, nature reserves and (importantly) world-class vineyards, can be found at:
https://www.uni-konstanz.de/asab-summer-2019/


We will update the website regularly, and will post again when wen the application system is online.


Please note that we will provide childcare on site at the meeting and childcare grants are available to all members of ASAB.


All the best,
Iain

Postdoc evolutivo en Finlandia

Post-doc in predicting evolution:

1.Job/ project description:

The research will involve using and refining an existing mathematical model of wing morphogenesis to explore whether it can be used to predict how wing morphology changes over generations in an artificial selection experiment. These predictions would be contrasted with predictions stemming from a quantitative genetics analysis of fly populations.

The research will take place in the Center of Excellence in Experimental and computational developmental biology of the Biotechnology Institute of the University of Helsinki, Finland.

For a full description of the project check the modeling in part of this funded project: http://www.biocenter.helsinki.fi/salazar/SalazarCiudad_research_plan.pdf

The job is for 1,5 years.

2. Background:

Why organisms are the way they are?

Can we understand the processes by which complex organisms are build in each generation and how these evolved?

The process of embryonic development is now widely acknowledged to be crucial to understand evolution since any change in the phenotype in evolution (e.g. morphology) is first a change in the developmental process by which this phenotype is produced. Over the years we have come to learn that there is a set of developmental rules that determine which phenotypic variation can possibly arise in populations due to genetic mutation (the so called genotype-phenotype map). Since natural selection can act only on existing phenotypic variation, these rules of development have an effect on the direction of evolutionary change.

Our group is devoted to understand these developmental rules and how these can help to better understand the direction of evolutionary change. The ultimate goal is to modify evolutionary theory by considering not only natural selection in populations but also developmental biology in populations. For that aim we combine mathematical models of embryonic development that relate genetic variation to morphological variation with population models. The former models are based on what is currently known in developmental biology.

There are two traditional approaches to study phenotypic evolution. One is quantitative genetics and one is developmental evolutionary biology. The former is based in the statistics of the association between genetic relatedness and phenotypic variation between individuals in populations, the latter in the genetic and bio-mechanical manipulation of the development of lab individuals. While the former models trait variation with an statistical linear approach the latter models it by deterministic non-linear models of gene networks and tissue bio-mechanics. For the most, these two approaches are largely isolated from each other.

The current project aims to contrast and put together these two approaches in a specific easy to study system: the fly wing. In brief, we are growing fly populations and, in each generation, we select the founders of the next generation based on how close they resemble an arbitrary optimal morphology in their wings (based on the proportions between several of their traits). In each generation also, we estimate the G matrix and the selection gradient to see how well one can predict evolution in the next generation. The quantitative genetics predictions will be contrasted with the predictions stemming from a wing morphogenesis model that we built based on our current understanding of wing developmental biology (see Dev Cell. 2015 Aug 10;34(3):310-22 for the model and for slightly similar approaches: Nature. 2013 May 16;497(7449):361-4. and Nature. 2010 Mar 25;464(7288):583-6).

Our center of excellence includes groups working in tooth, wing, hair and mammary glands development. In addition to evolutionary and developmental biologists the center of excellence includes bioinformaticians, populational and quantitative geneticists, systems biologists and paleontologists. The group leaders of the center involved in this project are Jukka Jernvall, Salazar-Ciudad and Shimmi.

“The Academy of Finland's Centres of Excellence are the flagships of Finnish research. They are close to or at the very cutting edge of science in their fields, carving out new avenues for research, developing creative research environments and training new talented researchers for the Finnish research system.”


3. Requirements:

The applicant must hold a PhD in either evolutionary biology, developmental biology or, preferably, in evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo). Applicants with a PhD in theoretical or mathematical biology are also welcome.

Programming skills or a willingness to acquire them is required.

The most important requirement is a strong interest and motivation on science and evolution. A capacity for creative and critical thinking is also required.

4. Description of the position:

The fellowship will be for a period of up to 1,5 years (100% research work: no teaching involved).

Salary according to Finnish postdoc salaries.

5. The application must include:

-Motivation letter including a statement of interests
-CV (summarizing degrees obtained, subjects included in degree and grades, average grade).
-Summary of PhD project, its main conclusions and its underlying motivation.

-Application should be sent to: isaac.salazar@helsinki.fi

No official documents are required for the application first stage but these may be required latter on.

6. Deadline:

There is no specific deadline but the position will start in July 2019.


7. Interested candidates should check the centres page:

http://www.biocenter.helsinki.fi/bi/evodevo/ECDev.html

16 de enero de 2019

Prácticas remuneradas en ciencias del mar (USA)

The Shaw Institute (formerly the Marine & Environmental Research Institute, MERI) is looking to fill two Marine Research Internship positions for the 2019 field season. These are full-time positions requiring a 6-month commitment from June through November (start date TBD).

The Shaw Institute is a 501(C)3 nonprofit scientific research organization based in Maine and New York City. Founded in 1990 by Dr. Susan Shaw (as the Marine & Environmental Research Institute), the Shaw Institute’s mission is to discover and expose environmental health threats through innovative science and engage in strategic partnerships to improve human and ecological health. Over three decades, the Institute’s pioneering research on ocean pollution, sentinel species, flame retardants, plastics, and climate change has fueled public policy nationally and internationally. To learn more about our work, visit www.shawinstitute.org.

The Blue Hill Research Center is located on the Blue Hill Peninsula in a unique coastal ecosystem bridging mid-coast and “Downeast” Maine. A habitat for bald eagles, harbor seals, porpoises, and a rich variety of marine and terrestrial wildlife, the landscape is dotted with small fishing villages, wooden boatyards, and blueberry fields. Interns will spend the season studying the impacts of development, global warming, and pollution on this pristine ecosystem.

This internship is an excellent opportunity for an individual working towards a career in marine biology, ecotoxicology, coastal ecology, environmental conservation, or a related field to gain practical experience in the field and in the laboratory. The ideal candidate will possess a personal interest in environmental research and a commitment to the mission of the organization.

Job Description

The Marine Research Interns will assist the Shaw Institute Research Department with the implementation of its marine research. Large-scale projects investigating the abundance and impacts of microplastics in the marine environment and a study of bacterial loads at local swimming beaches and their link to gastrointestinal illness will be the top priorities of this internship. Interns will be responsible for either the Microplastics or Bacteria project, but both interns will work together to complete both projects. Other duties may include monitoring for early identification of harmful algal blooms, tracking ocean warming and acidification, and assisting with response to marine mammal strandings (whales and harbor seals) in the Downeast region. Primary responsibilities will include field sampling from land and boat, laboratory analyses, archiving of samples, data entry and management, and producing written reports and presentations.

Specific Duties
Conduct water and tissue sample collection both from shore and the Shaw research vessel at sites in the greater Blue Hill Bay
Safely operate and maintain all field and lab equipment including a multiparameter YSI EXO2 Datasonde
Assist with marine mammal stranding response as-needed, including on-site tissue collection and necropsies in the Shaw laboratory
Perform laboratory assays following established standard operating procedures and protocols including the occasional processing and archiving of marine mammal tissues
Assist with data entry and updating of laboratory records, logs, and inventories
Manage and analyze large water quality and multi-variable data sets
Prepare summaries, reports, fact sheets, and assist with community outreach
Conduct literature searches, develop background information, and communicate and promote the Shaw Institute’s research and mission to the public
Give a final presentation to staff and members of the community on your research at the end of your internship
Assist with in-house events including the environmental lecture series and other duties relating to the organization's goals and mission as required

Reports to: Marine Research Coordinator

Qualifications:

Applicants should possess a BA or BS degree in marine biology, ecotoxicology, coastal ecology, environmental conservation, or a related major. Some field and laboratory experience and a basic knowledge of statistics and database management are required. Familiarity with environmental sampling and monitoring methods is preferred. Applicants must be able to work outside in a variety of environmental conditions, be willing to get dirty, muddy, and wet, be hands-on with a variety of organisms, be comfortable working on a marine research vessel, and be available to work occasional nights and weekends as needed. Attention to detail and the ability to work independently and as a team are a must.

Knowledge of computer software including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel required. Proficiency in graphics, ArcGIS, and statistical software (STATA) is desirable. Applicant must possess a valid driver’s license and a good driving record. Only US citizens or lawful permanent residents should apply. Position requires some physical activity and applicant should be able to lift up to 40 lbs.

Time Requirements:

June - November (start date TBD) Full-time (40 hours/week); additional hours to be agreed upon by employee and Director.

Compensation:

Stipend and shared housing in Blue Hill, Maine. Housing is within walking distance to the Institute. Interns are responsible for all travel expenses and food.

HOW TO APPLY

Deadline to Apply is March 15, 2019

If you are interested in applying for this position, please submit a cover letter outlining your experience, career objectives, and which research project you are most interested in conducting at the Shaw Institute (Microplastics or Bacteria) along with your Resume/CV and contact information for three references to:

Madelyn Woods, Marine Research Coordinator, at mwoods@shawinstitute.org

Indicate “Marine Research Internship, NAME” in the subject line of your email.

Please, no phone calls.

15 de enero de 2019

Dos ofertas de doctorado paleontológico en Suiza

We have funding from the Swiss National Science Foundation for two outstandingly motivated PhD students for reconstructing the evolution of a species radiation and its ecosystem using paleo-genomics, paleoecology and paleontology matched with experimental ecology and genomics of
extant organisms.

Both graduate positions are based at the Institute of Ecology & Evolution,
University of Bern and at the Eawag Center for Ecology, Evolution &
Biogeochemistry in Kastanienbaum.


The advert texts follow:

1. PhD in Evolutionary Biology The position is fully funded for 4 years,
and will be based in the Aquatic Ecology & Evolution group of Prof. Ole
Seehausen at the University of Bern and the Eawag Center for Ecology,
Evolution & Biogeochemistry in Kastanienbaum, Switzerland.

The project will explore 15,000 years of evolution and ecosystem dynamics
in Lake Victoria, East Africa, as reconstructed from sediment cores,
fossils and ancient DNA. This Swiss NSF Sinergia project is a cooperation
between U Bern, EAWAG (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and
Technology), the Centre for Geogenetics at U of Copenhagen, Denmark,
the Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute, U of Arizona, U Massachusetts
and others.

The group of Ole Seehausen focusses on the phenotypic and genomic
evolution of Lake Victoria's super-diverse cichlid fish radiation. The PhD
in evolutionary biology and paleogenetics will investigate the evolution
of the cichlid radiation through study of time series of fossils and
ancient DNA. We want to understand how the ecological and phenotypic
diversity changed through time, how genetic variation arose and got
assembled into new species in the course of the adaptive radiation. This
is one of 4 PhD and several Postdoc positions in the project. In close
collaboration with ecologists, paleo-ecologists and paleo-genomics
researchers, we want to address how the evolutionary diversification of
the cichlid fish interacted with the Lake Victoria ecosystem. The student
will analyse subfossil remains of cichlid fish from sediment cores for
their morphology and ancient DNA content. Extensive reference collections
of modern cichlids and their genome sequences will be available to aid
interpretation of fossil phenotypes and ancient DNA data. The PhD will
be co-supervised by Dr. Moritz Muschick.

Ideally, the candidate has extensive prior training in molecular
genetic techniques, statistical shape analysis, computational analysis
of genomic sequence data, or evolutionary biology. The candidate is
motivated to learn and apply advanced laboratory techniques and to
work independently. The group's working language is English and fluency
in writing and speaking is required. Knowledge of German or French is
not required.

Besides Uni Bern, the student will spend time at Eawag's Center for
Ecology, Evolution & Biogeochemistry. The Centre is located at Lake
Lucerne and is a strong nucleus of Eawag research groups aimed at
integrating evolutionary biology, community ecology, and ecosystem
science http://www.eawag.ch/forschung/cc/ceeb/index_EN.

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ole Seehausen, Institute of Ecology and Evolution
Salary: Swiss NSF PhD Fellowship (47,000 to 50,000 CHF, 100%). The
position is available from March 1, 2019 (for 3-4 years).

Review of applications starts on January 20, 2019 and continues until
the position is filled.

Please direct inquiries to Prof. Dr. Ole Seehausen,
ole.seehausen@iee.unibe.ch.

Please send one pdf file only, with CV, letter of motivation, if
applicable transcript of MSc with grades, publication list, and contact
details of three referees by email to therese.oesch@iee.unibe.ch.


2. PhD in Evolutionary Ecology of Ecosystems The position is fully funded
for 4 years, and will be based in the group of Blake Matthews at the
Eawag Center for Ecology, Evolution & Biogeochemistry in Kastanienbaum,
Switzerland. The successful applicant will be a student of the University
of Bern, and be co-supervised by Prof. Ole Seehausen (Institute of
Ecology and Evolution, Bern).

The project will explore 15,000 years of evolution and ecosystem dynamics
in Lake Victoria, East Africa, as reconstructed from sediment cores,
fossils and ancient DNA. This Swiss NSF Sinergia project is a cooperation
between U Bern, Eawag, the Centre for Geogenetics at U of Copenhagen,
Denmark, the Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute, U of Arizona,
U Massachusetts and others.

The group of Blake Matthews focuses on phenotypic evolution in a
community and ecosystem context. The open PhD position will investigate
how the community composition and phenotypic diversity of zooplankton has
changed over time in Lake Victoria. To this end, the student will analyse
subfossil remains of zooplankton from sediment cores spanning hundreds
to thousands of years of ecosystem and evolutionary history. This is one
of 4 PhD positions funded by the project. In close collaboration with
ecologists, paleo-ecologists and paleo-genomics researchers, we want to
address how the evolutionary diversification of the cichlid fish along
with other ecosystem changes (e.g. eutrophication), have interacted with
the plankton community of Lake Victoria.

Ideally, the candidate has some prior experience in invertebrate taxonomy
(ideally with zooplankton), or paleolimnology. The candidate is motivated
to learn about evolutionary ecology in general, and about paleolimnology
and zooplankton in particular. The group's working language is English
and fluency in writing and speaking is required. Knowledge of German or
French is not required.

Eawag's Center for Ecology, Evolution & Biogeochemistry (CEEB) is located
on the shore of Lake Lucerne and is a strong nucleus of Eawag research
groups aimed at integrating evolutionary biology, community ecology, and
ecosystem science http://www.eawag.ch/forschung/cc/ceeb/index_EN. The
PhD student will interact with a diverse range of researchers studying
community ecology, evolutionary biology, ecological genetics, ecosystem
science, and applied environmental science.

Review of applications will start on January 20, 2019 and continue until
the position is filled.

Please send one pdf file only, with CV, letter of motivation, if
applicable transcript of MSc with grades, publication list, and
contact details of three referees by email to Dr. Blake Matthews
(blake.matthews@eawag.ch).


We look forward to seeing your applications

Best wishes

Ole Seehausen

"Seehausen, Ole" <Ole.Seehausen@eawag.ch>

14 de enero de 2019

Enseña ciencia en un bosque de Oregon

Position: Outdoor Science Instructor
Location: Opal Creek Wilderness Area, Oregon
Work year: Seasonal: March 18 to November 15, 2019
Responsible to: Program Manager; Program Director
Compensation: $80/day, plus housing, utilities, and partial board

Who We Are

The Opal Creek watershed is 35,000 acres of protected rainforest, part of the last remaining low-elevation old-growth forest left in the Pacific Northwest. Soaring trees dripping with moss, crystal-clear streams, and a diversity of old-growth-dependent species make Opal Creek a unique gem in Oregon’s crown. At its center is the historic off-grid mining town of Jawbone Flats, our base of operations since the Opal Creek Wilderness was created in 1996.

At Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center, all of our work is based around one simple idea: people will protect what they care about, and they will care about what they know. Through our outdoor school, summer camps, and workshop programs, we bring kids and adults face-to-face with the outdoor places that make Oregon great—pristine mountain streams, uncut vistas, and old-growth forests.

Who You Are
You love teaching, but with the outdoors as your classroom. You are enticed by Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center’s mission and the prospect of connecting our students, cabin renters, and workshop participants to this beautiful place.
You are excited to spend your summer navigating the peaks and valleys of Oregon’s wilderness areas with youth.
You enjoy hosting friends and family, and people feel good when they talk with you.
You are always learning. You are curious and unafraid to ask questions.
A remote residential living and working environment intrigues you. You look forward to disconnecting from distraction and forming strong bonds with staff, guests, and the wilderness in your backyard.
You thrive in a collaborative environment, believing we are stronger together.
Challenges motivate you; you are open to and excited by the unpredictability that comes with working in a 1929 mining town in the woods.
You have your own unique personality. Perhaps you play a musical instrument or teach yoga or practice bird calls. You enjoy solo time in your cabin just as much as social staff barbecues.

Role Impact and Responsibility

As an Outdoor Science Instructor, you work with all of our diverse programs. Our teaching philosophy is inquiry based and hands-on, and you teach science by doing science. At a 1:15 Instructor-to-student ratio, you allow students to drive their own learning. You also provide excellent customer service to our guests who stay in Jawbone Flats, playing a vital part in making them feel welcome. This is a residential position, and you will live at Jawbone Flats in private cabin-style housing provided by the organization. Responsibilities of the position are listed under each of our four program areas:

Outdoor School (40%)
Teach to a variety of age groups and backgrounds, including public and private elementary, middle, and high school classes, and university programs.
Prepare lesson plans based on Opal Creek curriculum; topics include old growth forest ecology, stream ecology, geology, and cultural history.
Take photos of students and lessons for Opal Creek social media
Collect and process program participant contact information

Backpacking Expeditions (25%)
Lead backpacking expeditions with students 10-18 years old in the Opal Creek, Bull of the Woods, and Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Areas
Teach observational science and outdoor skills, including Leave No Trace principles, on trail
Prep food and gear for a week-long expedition
Organize and clean gear for the following expedition

Hospitality (25%)
Host cabin renters, ensuring their stay is comfortable
Drive gear shuttles; load and unload cabin rental gear
Clean cabins to rental standards
Staff the company store, selling merchandise to participants and the general public
Engage with the general public as they pass through Jawbone Flats

Workshops (10%)
Assist the workshop instructor in all programming needs
Manage logistics of workshop
Host workshop participants, ensuring their stay is comfortable

We have a small staff and everyone is required to help in all aspects of running a remote residential facility with a diversity of programs. You may be asked to assist the kitchen and facility departments at times.

Requirements of Position
Bachelor’s Degree, preferably in a natural science or education discipline, or equivalent experience
Past teaching experience, formal or informal
Field instruction, outdoor school and/or previous camp experience preferred
Backpacking experience
Previous hospitality experience preferred
Able to lead youth on hikes up to 8 miles
Able to lift heavy objects, up to 50 pounds when necessary
Able to pass a background check
Able to drive company vehicles
Current driver’s license and able to qualify for coverage under our insurance
Wilderness First Responder certification (required by time of employment)

Compensation
$80/day, with approximately 10 days worked in a two-week period
Independent, cabin-style housing with off-grid solar electricity
Meals from the Jawbone Kitchen when we have programs (about 75% of time)

HOW TO APPLY

Send a resume and cover letter to Megan Selvig, Program Director, at mselvig@opalcreek.org. Applications will be accepted until January 25th.

There are two rounds of interviews for this position. We will offer the position by mid-February, with Instructors starting mid-March.

Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center is an equal opportunity employer. We will not discriminate and will take affirmative action measures to ensure against discrimination in employment, advertisements for employment, compensation, termination, promotions, and other conditions of employment against any employee or job applicant on the bases of race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran's status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

13 de enero de 2019

Programa Dioscuri de fondos para investigación

On behalf of the National Science Centre in Poland we are pleased to announce a recent possibility of funding excellent and outstanding research in Poland within a Dioscuri scheme.

Dioscuri is a programme initiated by the German Max Planck Society (MPG), jointly managed with the National Science Centre in Poland (NCN), and mutually funded by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education (MNiSW) and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

The Dioscuri scheme is designed to establish Centres of Scientific Excellence at Polish Host Institutions Dioscuri Centres. Addressees of the call are researchers with a PhD degree obtained within a period not exceeding fifteen years prior to the submission of their application to Dioscuri.

Funding will be provided by the NCN from the resources contributed by MNiSW and BMBF. Polish Host Institution will receive up to € 300,000 annually to be spent exclusively on the Dioscuri Centre’s operations.

DETAILED INFORMATION & DEADLINE

To learn more about the second call visit https://ncn.gov.pl/dioscuri/dioscuri2/ or www.mpg.de/dioscuri.

Did you know that you can apply for NCN funds even if you do not have Polish citizenship? The only condition is that projects we support must be carried out at Polish host institutions. So, if you have ever thought of coming and conducting your basic research in Poland, we have a variety of opportunities for you.

For other funding opportunities see the NCN website.






12 de enero de 2019

Doctorado en biología de la conservación acuática (New Orleans, USA)

I am seeking motivated applicants to our Integrative Biology Ph.D. program
to begin in the Summer or Fall of 2019. The successful applicant will
be supported by a research fellowship in the broad area of aquatic
conservation biology, with particular emphasis on the evolutionary and
ecological physiology of hypoxia tolerance in estuarine fish (see Townley
et al. 2017. AJP 312: R412-R425, doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00402.2016 and
Rees & Matute. 2018. PBZ 91: 1046-1056, doi: 10.1086/699596 for recent
research). Applicants should have previous research experience in these
or related areas and strong analytical skills. Interested students
should contact:

Dr. Barney Rees
Department of Biological Sciences
University of New Orleans
brees@uno.edubrees@uno.edu>
504-280-6743

See http://www.uno.edu/cos/biology/index.aspx for information on the
department, faculty, and application procedures. The deadline for
applications is February 1, 2019.

11 de enero de 2019

Where are the cats? Camera-trapping in Northeast India with André Silva


There are PhDs and PhDs... Every person who has tried to finish one should feel proud of that, but holly molly... some deserve proper admiration.

That's the case of my friend André Silva, a young biologist from Lisbon, Portugal. André and I worked together at Uppsala University, although, most of the time, one of us was somewhere on the other side of the world.

And, very often, his usual side of the world was much cooler than mine! André studies small wild cats in India!

I'm sure many of our readers are of the adventurous type and would love to do something similar. But, do you really know what it entails? Let's ask André!


Photo credits: Surabhi Nadig


Hi André, could you tell us a bit about your PhD Project?


Hi!

The main idea behind the project is to understand how rare species respond to environmental modifications like climate change and forest loss. This information can then be used to ensure that conservation mechanisms, like protected areas, are and will be efficient in the future.

Unfortunately, this approach requires comprehensive datasets that are often unavailable for rare species like wild cats. Since India is one of the world hotspots for wild cat species and also has areas with climate-change rates higher than the global average I focused my doctoral project on four species of Indian small wild cats: the leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis), jungle cat (Felis chaus), rusty-spotted cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus) and the fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus).

To do it, I have travelled during 3 years, trekking through the jungle, setting camera traps in protected areas of Northeast India, doing laboratory work and building species distribution models.

Leopard Cat captured on camera-trap in the Himalayan lowlands. Photo credits: André P. Silva and Surabhi Nadig.

When did you know you wanted to study wildlife and conservation? Any specific moment of realization?

I knew it pretty early, probably when I was 13-14 years-old. There are sport hunting traditions in my family and since very young I used to go hunting with my father. Soon it was obvious that I would not continue with the family tradition. After many hours in the field watching animals (mainly birds) I developed a sense of protection towards wildlife that guided my future choices.

Navya R and Surabhi Nadig setting-up camera-traps in Northeast India. Photo credits: André P. Silva.

Apart from your formal education, what helped you to get where you are now?

I did a lot of volunteering, between the age of 17-21, in research projects to learn different sampling techniques. This included a lot of fieldwork, for instance, field interviews to obtain species sightings, camera-trapping, live-trapping, species monitoring based on tracks and signs, but also laboratory work, like DNA extraction...

During this period, I also worked at the Lisbon Zoo as an educator. This experience put me in contact with species from every corner of the planet and trained me to communicate science, engaging younger generations for wildlife conservation. I was learning and teaching simultaneously!

Another important step was when, at the age of 19, I got a grant for initiation to research from the Amadeu Dias Foundation in Portugal. For the first time, I participated in a research project and studied the wolf distribution in Central Portugal. Years later, for my master thesis, I had the opportunity to join the Scottish wildcat project at Oxford University and understand how an extensive camera-trapping project could be carried out. And that was my start!

Interestingly, while from the technical point of view these were very important experiences what I think really makes the difference were the values I got at home because they shape the response to every challenge I faced.


Young André, in May 2010, looking out for Brown Bears in the Cantabrian Mountains, Spain. Photo credits: André P. Silva.

How was this doctoral project born?

In 2012, after a training period on population genetics in Portugal, I had the opportunity to apply for a PhD scholarship from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT).

I was interested in studying protected area efficiency in biodiversity hotspots. To look at this question from the ecological and genetic point of view I would need to work on species for which already some information on their distribution and genetic resources were available. My co-supervisor in Portugal (Carlos Fernandes) was in contact with researchers in India (Shomita Mukherjee and Uma Ramakrishnan) already studying small wild cats which matched my previous background on carnivores. The species rarity and charismatic appeal could also help with funding, which was crucial since I was not part of a wider research project with secured funding.

At the time, I was also looking for a research department with a solid knowledge of animal ecology and genetics, where I could learn and develop basic scientific skills. I sent out emails to several principal investigators and Mats Björklund at Uppsala University (Sweden) was one of the most interested. I had good references about the department from previous students so, after some discussions, we went for it.

Looking back, the fact that I had good fieldwork and laboratory experience, a well-structured project (that although ambitious was feasible) and that I was able to secure my own scholarship were probably the winning points.


Wild cats. Many other species were detected during our surveys including (clockwise) Marbled Cat, Golden Cat, Leopard and Clouded Leopard. Photo credits: André P. Silva and Surabhi Nadig.

Awesome trajectory! What are you most proud of so far?

I see the doctoral period as a training phase, therefore I think is difficult for me or anyone at this stage to have great scientific achievements. I feel, however, that having the opportunity of starting a project from scratch, defining scientific questions, methods, to setup and manage a team in challenging and remote places while being part of a research department with a high scientific level are, all together, not so common for a doctoral student.

Developing a project in India exposed me to a totally different culture and opened my perspectives about many global environmental and social issues. I think the experience can pay off in the long-term.

I can imagine! And you collected so many unique moments!

So many, so many! Sleeping in police stations, being asked an unreasonable amount of money to cross the Brahmaputra river in a ferry, trekking during the night in remote forests of Nagaland, setting up camp in a trail with leopard, bear, elephant and gaur (the Indian bison) tracks, seeing melanistic leopards crossing a river in the Himalayan lowlands, being caught in a sudden heavy storm while camping on top of a boat in the middle of the Brahmaputra, forest guards almost chopping one of my fingers out with a dao (a kind of sword).

I could write pages about it, it is endless, almost every day was unique!


Trekking through rivers was the only way to reach many camera-trap places. The upper you go the narrower it gets. Photo credits: André P. Silva.


And, as we know, there is a strong correlation between the number of unique moments and sciencing difficulty... What are the most challenging aspects of your project?

I have to start by saying that this type of project cannot be carried out alone. There are so many challenges that only teamwork can overcome the obstacles. In this case, it was even more challenging because it was a totally new terrain and social environment for me. I was only able to carry out the work thanks to researchers like Krishnapriya Tamma, Navya Ramesh, Sahila Kudalkar and Surabhi Nadig, who taught me how things like bureaucracies, terrain logistics, communication with local people could be done.

Then we also had a large group of research assistants, master students and volunteers who were crucial to maintain the fieldwork running non-stop except during the monsoon season. Without them, this project would have been impossible.


Group photo at the end of one camera-trap survey. The group was composed by forest department staff, volunteers, project coordinators and research collaborators. Photo credits: André P. Silva.
From the scientific point of view, I would say that obtaining a large enough sample size and a proper sampling design are extremely difficult, due to the species secretiveness and the terrain profile. Without good data, one cannot make good science. So there is an incompatibility here. Species that require more protection are often the ones for which is almost impossible to have good data; consequently, it is difficult to understand their requirements and suggest conservation guidelines.


Even in lowlands, the terrain topography can be a challenge. Setting up cameras up and down the valleys can be extenuating, except when we stop to admire the landscape. Photo credits: André P. Silva.
Health in remote places was also a main issue. In many places, access to healthcare facilities is several hours or days away and we might not make it in time. Snake bites, for instance, might be a very serious problem, but something theoretically “simple”, like breaking a leg, could be a huge problem in a remote forest. Prevention, I think, is the best approach but sometimes can be difficult to make others see it in advance. Unfortunately, we saw local people with very serious health conditions and that was when we truly realized the risks we were exposed to.

Just simple fever or looseness might make one unable to work causing frustration. It can be painful and other team members might be waiting and getting bored because they are not able to work either. I was always very careful with what I drank and ate but sometimes is not easy. For instance, exchanging food or going for dinner can be an indication of respect and welcome reception, so it is not polite to refuse it. At one such dinner, at our field assistants’ place, I was struggling with the naga chilli (one of the hottest chilli), though they made the food less spicy especifically for me. They asked me if I was feeling well because I was sweating and my face was extremely red. I said yes, but the truth is that on my way back home the pain in my stomach and intestines was so intense that I was unable to walk. Next morning when meeting our host, I said the dinner was pleasant and delicious!

Being out of the comfort zone can be a big challenge. Often there is an opportunity to have unique experiences (the places you visit, the species you see, the people you talk) but these can come mixed with unpleasant experiences and safety risks... The physical and mental fatigue caused by the work toughness sometimes coupled with the lack of privacy (we share every minute of the day with the team) and being isolated in a forest for long periods can lead to bad sensations. The limit is different for every person but is important to have team members with similar tolerance.
Breakfast is getting ready. While it is an amazing experience to camp in remote forests living conditions in campsites are often very basic. Photo credits: André P. Silva.

These projects can also involve frequent travelling. While this has the potential to expose you to unique experiences, again there are costs. If one moves very frequently it can undermine existing professional or personal relationships and make difficult to make new ones. I would say this a general problem with mobility periods abroad in science but people within projects requiring a considerable amount of fieldwork, sometimes in different regions or countries, can be more susceptible. This, I feel, is a problem often not considered but their costs in the longer term can be high.

It is also important to adapt to be well understood. However, cultural adaptation is not easy, people in different cultures and societies interact in different ways. India is perhaps an extreme example. The diversity of cultures is so immense that in short distances people’s values, language, religion and diet can change. At another level, India as a whole is very different from my Southern European culture and even more from the Scandinavian culture I found in Sweden. One needs to quickly realize the environment and adapt its posture – but it is easier to say than to do it.

I have a simple example at a field assistants’ house. They had lovely dogs and at some point, while playing with one, I asked if the rumour that people in the region can eat dogs was true. The answer I got was “why do you think we have so many around the house?”! That is when I had to understand I was in a different culture.


Fortunately, accommodation is not always extremely rough. The forest department staff was often kind to share their accommodation with us, such as in this elevated protection camp. Photo credits: André P. Silva.

How do you work? Can you describe a normal day in the field and in the office?

The project has an immense set of tasks. During fieldwork or laboratory work I try to be focused only on those activities. The remaining time, usually, when I am in Uppsala, I work on planning, logistics and bureaucracies of future fieldwork, laboratory tasks, grant applications and reports, student supervision, courses and workshops, data analyses, paper reading and writing (the amount of time allocated to each depends on deadlines and priorities). In between and whenever possible, I try to attend a few scientific conferences.
The logistics and equipment needed to conduct camera-trap surveys are immense. It is a hard job to keep everything in order and ready to be used. Photo credits: André P. Silva.


In the field

Every day in the field was unpredictable. Theoretically, a normal day would involve waking up early in the morning (5-6 AM) have a heavy breakfast such as rice porridge or rice with lentils and start trekking between 7-8 AM. Then the rest of the day is dedicated to set up or checking camera traps with small breaks for food. Usually 1 to 2 hours before dusk we would start returning to the campsite. The walking distance varies in every study site depending if dirt roads are available or functional. In some areas, we would trek in forest trails and dry rivers for 5 - 10 km per day in forest trails and dry rivers while in more remote regions it can go up to 25 - 30 km. We then return to the campsite to prepare the plan and equipment for the next day, take a quick bath (if possible) and have a filling dinner. The dinner and small breaks throughout the day are the moments when we all socialize, frequently listening to our field assistants’ stories. By 8-9 PM we would be exhausted and fall asleep.

However, this routine is often interrupted by the car getting stuck in muddy roads, unexpected heavy rain or heat, boat motors breaking down, camera traps not working, stolen or damaged by elephants so we end up spending a lot of time talking with the forest department and villagers to help us with the logistics.


Trying to find the way to a camera-trap site. In this area, we were lucky to have a car to move up and down in the only road available within the park. However, the camera setup, checking and removal were predominantly done on foot. Photo credits: André P. Silva.

In the office

A typical day in Uppsala starts with the highest priority work and answering urgent emails between 9 - 12h30 AM. Then a quick lunch followed by 1 or 2 hours of, depending on the days, skype meetings with collaborators in India, lab meeting, meeting with students, invited talks at the department or other project logistics/bureaucracies.. After 2-3 PM, I completely focus on data analysis or writing and by 5PM I usually go swimming (two or three times a week). I finish the day re-checking my emails.


Fighting my R scripts. After fieldwork, it is exciting to look at the data but thorough analyses can be a long process. Photo credits: André P. Silva.

Where next? Fieldwork soon?

I would love to! But unfortunately not. Next couple of years at least I will be dedicated to data analysis and writing. It will be a time to understand the data collected during the last years.
Where do you see yourself in the future? Is there a scientific question you’d like to answer?

Right now I'm focused on developing basic skills that will potentiate my future success as a conservation biologist. I tend to see the development of a scientist as a marathon, a long-term process for which training and resilience are key. I also think it is necessary to work on a myriad of interconnected questions. I see a conservation scientist as a person who needs flexibility to understand several different backgrounds (e.g. politics, social science, evolutionary biology, ecology, science communication etc...). I am still in a development process so my aim, for now, is to try different fields to be well equipped for a useful contribution in the long term.

In the end, I will be happy if I can contribute to biodiversity conservation. This can be within the academic sphere or outside, for instance, working on on-ground conservation organizations. I am mainly motivated by the thrill of discovery and I want to develop strategies for biodiversity conservation. The fields of conservation planning and sustainability are some I would like to explore in the near future. I do not exclude, however, other possibilities. For instance, science communication is crucial for biodiversity conservation and I particularly like it.

Is there a person whose steps you’d like to follow?

I don’t have a specific person that I follow but I tend to read biographies to learn from other people's experiences. These include personalities from very different contexts (for instance sports, cinema, entrepreneurship, politics, wildlife conservation). The problems and solutions for biodiversity conservation are people-related so from every field strongly linked with human relationships I feel I can extract useful ideas.

If you ask me to mention people related to wildlife conservation I would say three names immediately come to my mind: David Attenborough, Jane Goodall and George Schaller.

They are now over 80 years old and still active – that is fascinating! What I admire in them is that at some point they understood they could contribute even more to biodiversity conservation by using their public role to take key environmental topics to the political sphere. At the same time, one of their priorities is to work on the education of young generations so I think their influence will be a long-lasting one.

What about papers or books? What do you recommend?

To better understand several aspects surrounding fieldwork in remote areas there are two interesting books I read recently and found interesting:

Life in the valley of death – Alan Rabinowitz

The last panda – George Schaller

What are the main meetings and conferences in your field?

Conservation-related I would say there are few major conferences, for instance, the International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB), the regional meetings from the Society for Conservation Biology and the IUCN World Conservation Congress.

But is also useful to keep an eye on conferences related to disciplines that are a pillar to conservation science such as the meetings of the British and American Ecological societies as well as the Evolution meetings.

Some links to look for jobs and opportunities


Some questions from friends on Facebook

Are locals concerned with wildlife conservation? @Bruna Brunetti @Essined Lo @Wulfand Vaughan Andy

Wonderful question! In many places, bushmeat is a tradition. Currently, most settlements have domesticated animals and do not depend on bushmeat for survival however the practice remains because of tradition. Interestingly, I observed that several species, including big predators like leopards and tigers that sometimes can prey on domestic animals, are admired. Nevertheless, there is an element of fear that they can attack humans. Overall, local people are aware that their survival will depend on how healthy the forest is... The older generations have observed a drastic reduction of animals in the forest throughout their lives so much better than us they know what is happening and were keen to listen to our suggestions.

What do you mean by “remote”, no human populations of any type? @Pedro Alonso

Here I considered remote villages those where phone network is very poor and connection with other small towns is made through rough dirt roads. These villages can be isolated during the monsoon season. Then, inside the protected areas, we visited places a few days away (trekking) from the closest human settlement.


A remote village in Nagaland where the team was based for about two months. Photo credits: André P. Silva.

Did you have any contact with poachers or illegal activities? @Essined Lo

Yes, we had encounters with illegal loggers. It can be a risky situation when they see the forest department staff with us. In one particular situation, we were going upriver and a small boat with loggers was coming down. As soon as they saw us they jumped into the water, abandoning the boat, swam to the river bank and hid in the forest. The presence of illegal activities is also a problem for our camera-traps as they can be destroyed.


In more risky regions special protection was given to us. Photo credits: André P. Silva.

Have you ever felt fear (caused by people or animals) during your sampling? @Judh Crao Ruz

Yes, definitely! I think only those that are not aware of the risks do not feel fear. I confess that although we had some scary encounter with bears, elephants and snakes I was always more concerned with people. Usually, if one make sure to mark its own presence (for instance campfires) animals will keep distance most of the time with people, especially in areas where there were insurgency activities going on, it is unpredictable.
Local support. From basic bits of advice on where to camp, what to eat to the best places where to set up camera-traps, help from the forest department staff was critical. Photo credits: André P. Silva

What are the necessary requisites to participate in this type of project? @Mar Ina

There is not only one path to participate in this type of projects. There is an immense set of skills that are necessary to carry out such projects and the most important thing is to see how your skills can be useful. For instance, you can contribute as a researcher, research assistant, photographer, logistics coordinator, grant writer or science communicator.

Where can we follow you and see your publications? @Essined Lo

You can follow me on Twitter (@PintodaSilvaA) and Instagram (@pintodasilva.a)!

Postdoc: Conservación de leopardos y elefantes en China

In line with the national strategy of “One belt One road & Made in China 2025”, which aims to provide opportunities for people of talent and to support Chinese national strategy, Beijing Forestry University (BFU) announces a post-doc position recruitment notice, with funding support from “Young Foreign Talents Introduction Program”, to attract young people with talent from abroad to conduct high quality academic research in China.

The successful applicant will be based in the Wildlife Institute at Beijing Forestry University (WI-BFU), under the supervision of Professor Shi Kun, director of WI-BFU.

WI-BFU was established in April 2009, with support from the Chinese National Forestry and Grassland Administration (NFGA) and a global network of international experts. The institute was founded with the goal of providing support for wildlife conservation and management within China and internationally. WI-BFU collaborates closely with government offices such as the NFGA, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Environment, in addition to an integrated network within China, it has strong international collaborations, such as its long-term partnership with the University of Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Rocky Mountain Research Center, US Forest Service, WWF, IUCN and Panthera. Strong collaborations with colleges within BFU (such as the College of Nature Conservation) as well as universities across China, allow it to maintain a strong academic foundation and carry out interdisciplinary scientific research in fields such as wildlife ecology, evolution, conservation, and sustainable wildlife management. Through undertaking collaborative research, academic exchanges, and mutual cultivation of postgraduate students, it has strengthened its international status and furthered its development as a leading wildlife research group in China. In the last five years WI-BFU has conducted more than 30 projects and published over 30 papers relating to conservation of endangered feline species, particularly snow leopard, in international journals, such as Biological Conservation, Ecography, PLoS ONE, Science of the Total Environment, and Oryx.

Dr. Kun Shi is a professor at the Beijing Forestry University and director of WI-BFU. He is the Secretary General of two key organizations in China, the China Snow Leopard Expert Committee under NFGA, and the China Cats Specialist Group under the China Zoological Society. He is also a member of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group and World Committee of Protected Areas. He established a forefront Snow Leopard Group in China (SLG) in 2007. This group, composed of enthusiastic and dedicated young conservationists, has focused on researching snow leopard ecology and conservation. It has adopted methods such as sign surveys, camera trapping, DNA analysis, and GIS technology to explore snow leopard research in China, a previously little-researched field. The group mainly works in prioritized snow leopard range in China, covering the eastern Pamirs, west margin of Tianshan, Everest, middle Minshan, and middle and western parts of the Qilian Mountains. They have made remarkable progress in identification of snow leopards distribution, evaluating abundance, conducting dietary analysis, exploring habitat preference, and understanding human-snow leopard conflict in China. The group has published these findings in a range of Chinese and international journals, and have also produced a variety of scientific reports and guidelines for the central government.

Since 2010, Kun's research team has been collaborating with Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit to implement the Darwin Initiative project "Capacity Building on Feline Conservation in China". They have also worked together since 2012 on a Robertson Foundation supported project on snow leopard conservation and research in China. Currently, they have trained more than 500 local research and monitoring staff in snow leopard and tiger distribution areas, and have established "China Feline Conservation and Monitoring Network" as well as conducted frontier research on snow leopard in Gansu, Northwest China. With the support and guidance of NFGA, they drafted the National China Snow Leopard Conservation Action Plan, which aims to provide guidance for the following 10 years’ snow leopard conservation in China; this draft has been reviewed and approved by NFGA. Through the contributions made to original research over the last decade, his team and institution has gained recognition and trust from NFGA, donors, collaborators and peer institutions. In conclusion, Dr. Shi Kun is leading his team towards making a difference through original research to help solve problems in academic and applied aspects in order to benefit wildlife, nature, and human beings, as well as promote the development of wildlife conservation in China.

The WI-BFU offers a vibrant research environment that covers interinstitutional collaborations, interdisciplinary supervision, additional training courses (e.g. workshops and seminars organized by peers) as well as soft skills training.

Successful applicants will be provided opportunities to participate in and/or lead frontline projects on endangered and representative species (such as snow leopard, leopard, Asian elephant) conservation in China, get involved in high level policy-making with science-based evidence, leading a team with enthusiastic like-minded talents and making contributions to wildlife conservation.

Research fields

Research fields will mainly cover but are not limited to the following four aspects:

Ecology and landscape genetics of snow leopard in high plateau desert ecosystems; Landscape genetics of Asian elephants in tropical forest ecosystem and management of human-wildlife conflicts; Landscape genetics identifying subspecies divergence of leopards in China; Ecosystem service and management of National Park system in China.

Eligibility

The applicant, at the time of appointment, should have obtained a PhD degree, show strong interdisciplinary skills and independent research experience in at least one of the following fields: Ecology, Biology, Zoology, Geography, Environmental Science, Earth Sciences, Social Sciences, or related fields, and from universities out of China within the past year. The applicant should be under 35 years of age and in a good state of health. The applicant should be from countries which have established diplomatic relations with China. · The applicant must be available for full time up to two years (or minimum 20 months) to conduct the post-doc research in China.

· If the applicant is from a non-English speaking county, he/she should have good Chinese or English language skills including listening, speaking, reading and writing.

· The applicant must have excellent or fluent English proficiency in communication and academic writing.

· Minimum of two publications in above related fields in international per-reviewed journals as first author are required; publications in high impact journals will be given priority to.

· Applicant should have a cooperative spirit and be committed to teamwork.

Duration and Financial Support

· The funding for this two years’ program is 200,000 RMB per year, (400,000 in total), will cover the applicant’s salary, basis insurance, accommodation and travel expenses of a return trip in the most direct and economic way between the two places concerned, visa application fee and incidental expenses if any.

· The applicant is expected to arrive in BFU, starting his/ her postdoc position in early summer of 2019.

Mode of Application

Please prepare the following documents and zip all of the application documents into one file, either in Microsoft word or pdf format, and title it “Name of applicant_BFU_postdoc application”, and sent to kunshi@bjfu.edu.cn, CC guoliangpan1989@163.com, chying0621@sina.com. Priority will be given to candidates with research or working experience relating to endangered mammal species such as snow leopard, leopard, and Asian elephant.

· A detailed curriculum vitae with education background, research and/or working experience, and list of publications;

· A statement of research interests or cover letter;

· A proposal giving details of the study or research to be undertaken; his/her general interests;

· Contact details of three referees (Name, Affiliated Institution, email, phones etc.), who could judge the applicant’s academic performance.

· Key published papers, books, awards obtained etc.

Deadline

30th March, 2019

Enquiries

Please contact Pan Guoliang (guoliangpan1989@163.com) or Chen Ying (chying0621@sina.com) or Professor Shi Kun at kunshi@bjfu.edu.cn, office phone at (86) 6233 6860 or mobile phone at (86)139 1009 3750 for any enquiries.

Supporting documents
Job supporting document

10 de enero de 2019

Voluntariado en conservación en India

WILD OTTERS RESEARCH PRIVATE LIMITED is a wildlife entrepreneurship based in Goa, India and is involved in wildlife research, education and outreach across the states of Goa and Karnataka. WILD OTTERS seeks to grow and strengthen its team of scientists by filling the vacancy for Research Associate. If you are passionate about making a difference, want to improve your skills set and experiences, including the opportunity to develop or advance your skills working in human dominated mangroves and wetland ecosystems, this position is for you.

Job role: This position holder will be responsible for all aspects of the research programme, including daily supervision of research team, data analysis and report writing for any one of a number of projects that WILD OTTERSis working on, in mangrove habitats in Goa. The Smooth-coated otter will be the primary focus of the work, and questions we are looking at include the species adaptability to estuarine environments, their reliance on fresh water resources and their den usage patterns. We are hoping to expand our research to other species in these landscapes including porcupine, civets and mongoose.

More specifically, the role involves:
Implementation of the research programme (field surveys, camera trapping, data collection etc)
Daily supervision management and training of interns and placement students
Preparation of project reports and publication of results in scientific journals

Selection Criteria:
  • Graduate in an environmental or biological science discipline
  • Strong analytical abilities - both quantitative and qualitative.
  • Experience of data analysis & report-writing
  • Excellent written/oral communication & presentation skills
  • Administrative & time management skills
  • Ability to train interns and placement students
  • Demonstrated ability to work as part of a team and perform in an entrepreneurial atmosphere.
  • A passion for wildlife research, typically evidenced by a strong interest and prior exposure to global issues such as climate change, conservation, rural/urban development.
  • Experience living and working in different cultures; previous time spent in developing countries would be beneficial.
  • Demonstrated fluency with English speaking and writing skills; proficiency with other languages a plus.
  • You will need to be physically capable and medically fit to work in humid tropical conditions.
  • Must be able to ride a scooter/motorcycle

Requirements: Although these attributes are ideal, every application is carefully considered and this post is an opportunity for less experienced individuals to gain overseas field experience of research, project and intern/placement management and training.

Location: This position is based at our field station on Chorao Island in Goa.

Start date: February, 2019

Expected tenure: 6 months with the possibility of being absorbed into in a permanent position at the organization.

Rewards and benefits to you: WILD OTTERS aims to become a world leader in wildlife research and education and hopes to promote a successful business model for wildlife research. This exciting organisation will continue to be in the public eye, giving those involved an unrivalled opportunity to contribute to the public discourse on wildlife research and business. With exposure to some of the leading minds in wildlife research and conservation both in India and internationally, this role is a unique opportunity to learn and grow.

Remuneration: This is a non-paying position. However WILD OTTERS will take care of your food, accommodation (shared) and field expenses.

HOW TO APPLY

YOUR APPLICATION

To apply to this position please submit (as PDFs) your cover letter, CV and response to Key Selection Criteria to katrina@wildotters.comusing the subject line: Research Associate

Application deadline is 10th January, 2019.

9 de enero de 2019

Postdoc en ecología del comportamiento y evolución de limícolas

POST-DOC POSITION IN BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION OF SHOREBIRDS
UNIVERSITY OF PANNONIA, Veszprém, Hungary

Social interactions are among the most fascinating aspects of animal
behaviour. This project will focus on the demographic drivers of sex role
reversal in shorebirds (plovers, sandpipers and allies), when females
compete for mates and males provide parental care. Results from cutting
edge research carried out by our team (see references below & on our
websites)suggest that role reversal occur in species where males are the
more common sex. However, solid field data on sex ratios are scarce and the
processes generating skewed sex ratios are largely unknown.

The successful candidate will join an international team of scientists
working on shorebird ecology, behaviour and conservation, and will carry
out a field study on a sex role reversed, polyandrous species. Most likely
target species include the Bronze-winged and/or Pheasant-tailed Jacana,
with potential field sites in India or Taiwan. This exciting project will
collect data on breeding behaviour, offspring sex ratio, and survival of
males and females in a closely monitored population. We will use
demographic modelling to estimate adult sex ratio and to identify its most
important determinants. The project will also contribute to our largescale
comparative studies in shorebirds worldwide (see
https://elvonalshorebirds.com/).

The project is led by Prof András Liker (Univiversity of Pannonia,
Veszprém, Hungary, see http://ornithology.limnologia.hu/), and is part of a
collaboration with Dr Vojtěch Kubelka (Univiversity of Debrecen, Hungary),
Prof Tamás Székely (University of Bath, UK), and Dr András Kosztolanyi
(University of Veterinary Science, Budapest, Hungary) to understand
breeding system evolution using shorebirds as model organisms. The research
group uses English as the communication language.

This job offers an opportunity for an early-stage post-doc who wants to
combine fieldwork with cutting-edge evolutionary and behavioural science.
The main tasks of the post-doc are to organize, carry out and supervise
field studies. We seek candidates with experience in behavioural ecology
and field biology preferable with birds/shorebirds. Publications in
high-quality peer-reviewed journals, excellent communication skills, and
solid skills in data handling are essential. See further specifications
below.

This is a full-time position and the salary will be above the normal
Hungarian level (up to 1200 EUR, depending on experience). Note that the
cost of living in Hungary is substantially less than in Western Europe and
in the US. The current position is for 22 months (subject to probation
period), with possibility of extension (pending on the availability of
further funding).

Application deadline is 31 January 2019, although the screening of
candidates may start earlier. The application should include (1) a max two
pages cover letter, (2) a CV with list of publications, and (3) the name
and contact details of four referees preferably from research, academia or
conservation. The applications should be emailed to Prof András Liker (
andras.liker@gmail.com).

The position is available from 1st March 2019.

Selected publications:

Liker, A., Freckleton, R. P., & Székely, T. 2013. The evolution of sex
roles in birds is related to adult sex ratio. Nature Communications 4: 1587.

Pipoly, I., Bókony, V., Kirkpatrick, M., Donald, P. F. Székely, T. & Liker,
A. 2015. The genetic sex determination system predicts the adult sex ratio
in tetrapods. Nature 527: 91–94.

Schacht, R., Kramer, K.L., Székely, T. & Kappeler, P.M. 2017. Adult sex
ratios and reproductive strategies: a critical re-examination of sex
differences in human and animal societies. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 372:
20160309.

Eberhart-Phillips, L. J. et al. 2018. Demographic causes of adult sex ratio
variation and their consequences for parental cooperation. Nature
Communications 9: 1651

Kubelka V., Šálek M., Tomkovich P., Végvári Z., Freckleton R. P. & Székely
T. 2018: Global pattern of nest predation is disrupted by climate change in
shorebirds. Science 362: 680–683.

Job description:

The post-doc will organize and carry out field work in a foreign country,

Supervise PhD students and research assistants, coordinate research with
external collaborators,

Coordinate data collection and analyses, and preparation of publications,

Present and promote the results at conferences and research seminars,

Assist administration associated with the project,

Carry out other scientific and/or academic activities that are deemed
necessary for the success of the project.



Requirements:

PhD in evolutionary biology, behavioural ecology, zoology, or relevant
field of life sciences,

Solid knowledge of evolutionary biology, behavioural ecology, and/or
ornithology,

Experience in carrying out or supervising international research projects,

At least 2 years experience in field work related to avian ecology or
behavioural ecology,

Good skills in statistical modelling, advanced level in using R,

At least 5 published (or accepted) research papers in peer-reviewed
journals,

Experience in bird ringing, and preferably a ringing licence,

Valid driving licence.


Fanni Takács

RA of ÉLVONAL Project – Sex role evolution: testing the impacts of ecology,
demography and genes
Department of Evolutionary Zoology, University of Debrecen,
Debrecen, Egyetem ter 1., 4032, Hungary
email: fancsi_t@hotmail.com | fanitakacs.94@gmail.com  |
https://elvonalshorebirds.com

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