PhD Fellowship to analytically explore human impacts on carnivore guilds using non-invasive monitoring data (genetic sampling and camera trapping). The Department of Ecology and Natural Resource Management at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) is announcing a vacant 3-year PhD–position within ecology.
The position is financed by NMBU, and the PhD student will be hired to work on the international project ‘Revealing anthropogenic effects on carnivore guilds using non-invasive monitoring’.
In the face of pervasive human-induced environmental change, it is not surprising that much of today’s applied ecological research focuses on either understanding the magnitude and mechanism of such effects or learning how to mitigate them. The past two decades have seen the dawn of new, non-invasive approaches to monitoring terrestrial vertebrates that have suddenly made it feasible to obtain ecological parameters across landscapes and communities, rather than a few locations or single species. The two most popular and widespread of these methods are non-invasive genetic sampling and camera trapping.
In a series of four methodologically and conceptually connected studies, the PhD student, in collaboration with other members of the research team, will test for and quantify three globally important drivers of anthropogenic impacts on carnivore guilds: barrier effects due to transportation networks, human disturbance, and illegal hunting. This work will not only help us understand the extent and context-specificity of aforementioned effects on carnivores guilds, but also showcase how non-invasively collected data can be used to yield answers to a wide range of applied ecological questions.
The PhD student will apply modern hierarchical analytical methods to several extensive sets of camera trap and non-invasive genetic data from Scandinavia (>30 000 genotyped samples of 4 carnivore species, complete dead recovery records, observation data) and central Asia (northern Pakistan; > 7 000 photographic captures of 12 carnivore species, 1500 genotyped samples of 4 carnivores species, plus extensive sign survey data).
As part of the project, the PhD student is expected to:
Compile and work with large data sets (non-invasive genetic sampling and camera trap data)
Build hierarchical models to estimate ecological parameters and quantify anthropogenic effects.
Write articles for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
Present research findings at scientific conferences.
Collaborate with other team members (master’s students, researchers, postdoctoral fellows).
Take compulsory PhD courses (30 ECTS credits)
The successful candidate is expected to submit a project plan during the first months of the appointment for the progress of the work towards a PhD degree, with the goal of completing a doctorate within the PhD scholarship period.
The successful applicant must hold a master’s degree within a relevant scientific area (ecology, wildlife biology, biometry, or similar). The applicant must document expertise and interest in the research subject.
Preferred candidates will also have several of the following:
Proven quantitative skills and, ideally, experience with both frequentist and Bayesian analysis.
Familiarity with hierarchical models and experience with spatial capture-recapture models.
Proficiency using the statistical programming language R and various R packages.
Experience working with large data sets.
Direct experience with the collection of ecological data in the field, including non-invasive monitoring data (non-invasive genetic sampling and/or camera trapping).
(Co)authored at least one article in a peer-reviewed journal.
The ability to communicate complex topics to a diverse audience, including non-scientists.
Applicants will be evaluated according to the aforementioned criteria, based on information provided in the online application form and writing examples (published article, reports, or master’s thesis) submitted with the application.
Desired personal qualities:
Motivation to work as part of a dynamic and diverse team.
Strong willingness to work primarily analytically for the duration of the PhD project. There will be little or no field work.
Interest in learning and developing new quantitative methods.
Independence and self-motivation.
An academic institution with a strong focus on natural resource management and dedication to professional development, dissemination and competence.
An interdisciplinary and inclusive environment that offers exciting research- and development opportunities.
An attractive benefits package and welfare schemes.
Attractive combination of rural surrounding and proximity to Norway’s capital city, Oslo.
Opportunities for outdoor activities with access to excellent hiking areas around Oslo and proximity to the Oslofjord.
The Department of Ecology and Natural Resource Management (INA) has about 100 employees and undertakes teaching, research and dissemination within the fields of biology and ecology, natural resource management, renewable energy, nature based tourism and forest sciences. Currently the department has ca. 370 students, and about 50 PhD-students. The employees of the department are very active in their areas of expertise, both nationally and internationally and have a high level of scientific production. For more information: http://www.nmbu.no/ina-en/
The salary for PhD-scholarships starts at wage grade 50 (equivalent to annual salary 430 500 NOK) on the Norwegian Government salary scale upon employment and follows ordinary meriting regulations.
For especially well-qualified applicants, alternative salary placement could be considered.
Employment is conducted according to national guidelines for University and Technical College PhD scholars.
Fall 2016, but a later starting date can be negotiated.
For further information, please contact Dr. Richard Bischof (project leader) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the 'Apply for this job' button above. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.
Application deadline: 20 May 2016
Applications should include 1) a letter of intent, 2) a curriculum vitae that clearly highlights the applicants strengths with respect to the qualifications listed above, 3) a list publications (if applicable) 4) copies of degree certificates and transcripts of academic records (certified versions need to be provided after applicants have been shortlisted), and 5) contact information for three professional references.
Printed material which cannot be sent electronically should be sent by regular mail to Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Department of Ecology and Natural Resource Management P.O. Box 5003, NO-1432 Ås, by 20 May 2016. Please quote reference number (16/01893)
A compulsory contribution of 2 % is made to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund. A good working environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, irrespective of gender, physical ability or cultural background. The workplace will if necessary be facilitated for persons with disabilities.