Postdoctoral research at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, Department of Zoology, University of Cape Town (South Africa) ~ Bioblogia.net

22 de noviembre de 2012

Postdoctoral research at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, Department of Zoology, University of Cape Town (South Africa)


Project:  Spatial analyses of Bearded Vulture movements in southern Africa to inform wind farm
development
We invite applications for the above full-time research opportunity at the FitzPatrick Institute
world-renowned, national Centre of Excellence (CoE) in ornithological research with a strong
emphasis on postgraduate studies.
Central to development goals throughout Africa is the need for greater energy production, especially
the need for reliable low-carbon energy supplies. Wind energy offers the opportunity to provide such
energy. However, inappropriately sited wind farms can have devastating impacts on birds, particularly on populations of large raptors, such as eagles and vultures that are vulnerable to collisions with the turning
blades.
The Bearded Vulture in Southern Africa has declined by 30% over the last three decades and the entire
population of only 100 pairs occurs exclusively in Lesotho and the surrounding Drakensberg escarpment in
South Africa. The exact causes and mechanisms of the decline are not well understood and are the subject
of an ongoing research programme. However, the species now faces a new threat in the form of extensive
wind farms which are currently planned for the Lesotho Highlands. Minimising the impacts of these wind
farms on bearded vultures is therefore crucial for the conservation of this species.
This project will take advantage of some unique GPS tracking data which has been gathered over the last 4
years on 20 individual bearded vultures. The post-doc will analyse these GPS fixes to build space-use
models for different age classes. Scenario modelling will then explore the best configuration for wind
turbine placement in the region to minimise the impact on this species.
We seek a post-doc with extensive experience of modelling tracking data and of building predictive spaceuse models. Considerable experience of using and processing GIS data is also required, as is a sound
publication list.
Funding is secured for a R140 000 CoE bursary (tax exempt) for one year and adequate project running
costs (w.e.f. January 2013).
To apply, please send a CV (including your academic record, publication list & names and contact details of
three referees) and a short motivation for why you wish to undertake this research to Hilary Buchanan at
hilary.buchanan@uct.ac.za. Informal enquires can be directed to Dr Arjun Amar: arjun.amar@uct.ac.za.
Closing date: 7 December 2012
For more information visit our website: http://www.fitzpatrick.uct.ac.za
UCT is committed to the pursuit of excellence, diversity and redress. Students ggranted an award to study at UCT are required to comply with the UCT official and approved policies on postgraduate funding.

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