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Movement Ecologist

Birds Canada and The National Audubon Society are looking to hire a joint Movement Ecologist.

Birds Canada and The National Audubon Society are committed to the protection of birds and the places they need throughout their full annual cycle. The science of avian migration serves as the foundation of this vision: it not only tells us where we should invest our limited time, resources and energies, but it also communicates the story of migration to engage more people in conservation action.

To this end, Birds Canada and The National Audubon Society are partnering to synthesize animal movement data from the Motus Wildlife Tracking System, and other tracking technologies to reveal seasonal movements, behaviors, and migration patterns across the Western Hemisphere and focus scientific results to reveal actionable strategic conservation priorities. The first step in this important partnership is the hiring of a Movement Ecologist will work closely with the Audubon’s Migratory Bird Initiative and Conservation Science teams and the Migration Ecology and Data Science and Technology teams at Birds Canada to promote effective conservation outcomes through movement and migration ecology research, with a focus on various tracking data sources, particularly data from the Motus Wildlife Tracking System. S/he will lead efforts to model migratory bird movement at hemispheric scales; build partnerships with academic, agency and conservation organization scientists studying bird migration and movement ecology; and provide outputs to support the missions and projects of Birds Canada and Audubon.
 
 
Primary responsibilities will include:

  • Develop and apply advanced Bayesian, Markovian, frequentist, and/or machine-learning approaches to quantitative analyses of automated telemetry (Motus), geolocator, GPS, and other tracking data;
  • Develop analyses to link movement to habitat use, accounting for spatial error and autocorrelation;
  • Examine synergies between technology types, opportunities and methods for combining tracking information into movement models, conservation decision-support tools, and/or collaborate on those fronts where appropriate;
  • Integrate tracking and threat data to identify key areas for conservation;
    Automate data extractions and processes for vetting of data;
  • Develop tools to extract key summary statistics for all available species from Motus and other tracking data, such as: flight speeds, departure/arrival times, activity patterns, spatial organization (habitat use), stopover durations by latitude/location, migration routes/pathways, and weather/climate variables;
  • Identify opportunities to fill key knowledge gaps for Audubon and Birds Canada priority species, habitats, flyways based on migratory tracking information;
  • Collaborate with diverse group of NAS and Birds Canada staff and international migratory bird scientists and institutions to synthesize and analyze movement data; Co-supervise, or collaborate with undergrads, grad students, postdocs on projects that fulfill the above;
  • Identify opportunities and collaborate or lead on funding proposals and peer-reviewed publications; public visualization and R-based tool kits to promote use and reuse of data by researchers and decision makers;
  • Travel up to 4 times per year to Audubon or Birds Canada offices, and/or attend additional meetings or conferences.

 
 
Qualifications and Experience:

Required

  • Ph.D. in biology, ecology, spatial ecology, conservation-related field or computer science with an interest in biology required; 2-3 years of experience preferred;
  • Demonstrated ability to clearly frame research questions, design studies, and implement analyses;
  • Proven ability to design, manage and analyse large databases;
  • Proficiency in quantitative analysis and modelling of animal movement, including generalized linear models, hierarchical models in frequentist and Bayesian frameworks, capture-recapture methods, and state-space models;
  • Demonstrated expertise with a wide range of computer software, including R, and relational databases (e.g. Access and SQL databases);
  • Experience with advanced programming skills (e.g., developing R packages, Java, C++).
  • Proficiency in GIS, particularly with ArcGIS products;
  • Field research experience with different types of animal tracking technologies and data, including automated radio telemetry (Motus), strongly desired;
  • Working knowledge and broad understanding of migration ecology and related conservation issues; and
  • High level of organization, initiative, interpersonal and oral and written communication skills.

Preferred

  • Experience with remote sensing products;
  • Experience with cloud computing and processing big data;
  • Familiarity with threats to migratory birds;
  • Proven ability to produce high-quality scientific papers or reports;
  • Demonstrated ability and strong interest in collaborating with other scientists and stakeholders; and
  • A self-starter, one who can think creatively about connections between birds, places, and people.

 
 
Scope:

Two years, with the potential for renewal.
 
 
To Apply:

Canadian Applicants

Applicants should send cover letter and curriculum vitae to Stuart Mackenzie (smackenzie@birdscanada.org).

Questions about the position should be directed to Mr. Mackenzie.

U.S. Applicants

Apply through the National Audubon Society Job portal (https://careers-audubon.icims.com/jobs/4245/movement-ecologist/job). To be considered for the position, please submit a cover letter and curriculum vitae with your application.

Questions about the position should be directed to Dr. Jill Deppe (jdeppe@audubon.org).

Competitive salary and benefits package will be awarded based on the successful candidates experience and location of employment (Canada or US).

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