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  • Animal Behavior Project manager, Lance-tailed Manakin Research, Florida State University

    • Employer: Florida State University
      Location: Tallahassee, FL and Isla Boca Brava, Republic of Panama
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: No value
      Open Until Filled: Yes


    Seeking project manager to lead field data collection and genetic analyses for an NSF-funded study of how strong sexual selection changes populations over time.  The study uses measures of individual reproductive success in a color-banded population of lance-tailed manakins (Chiroxiphia lanceolata) to test hypotheses about how sexual selection occurs. The successful applicant will live and work in the Republic of Panama for 4 months/year, and in Tallahassee, FL for 8 months/year. 

    In Panama, project manager will be responsible for training field crews and directing field data collection, managing import/export requirements and field expense budget, maintaining data integrity and backing up electronic data, maintaining safety and morale during difficult fieldwork in trying tropical conditions (heat, humidity, snakes, unpredictable disasters), and maintaining field notes and close communication with the PI. In Tallahassee, project manager will be responsible for extracting DNA and genotyping individuals, verifying allele calls, entering and checking data (including field data), troubleshooting equipment failures and other challenges, and conducting queries from a long-term relational database. They will have the opportunity to take an active role in analyses, manuscript preparation and publishing, and support of undergraduate research projects. They will also be expected to take part in daily life of an academic biology department while in Tallahassee, including attending lab meetings and some seminars.

    Work in Tallahassee will follow a traditional schedule (M-F, no more than 40 hours/week, with flexibility to accommodate personal preferences); work in Panama will be immersive with responsibility for crew health and safety at all times for a 4-month period, and data collection 6 days/week. The manager will need to complete some managerial tasks every day of the week during fieldwork. This position is suitable for an advanced postgraduate or someone with a Master’s degree.

    More information:

    To learn more about the research and our lab, see:  https://www.bio.fsu.edu/duval/
    For examples of lance-tailed manakin displays, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6V9FZSDmR1U
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbPyqbCL9Yk and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joWruz8gqc4

    For information on the Ecology and Evolution group at FSU see: https://www.bio.fsu.edu/ee/index.php
    For information on living in Tallahassee, see: https://www.bio.fsu.edu/ee/environs.php?area=living


    • Prior independent research experience (as an undergrad or during a Master’s program),
    • Demonstrated field skills (mistnetting, bird banding, blood sampling, nest searching and monitoring, behavioral observation of color-banded birds),
    • Laboratory experience (pipette skills, sterile technique, DNA extraction, PCR, library prep, genomic analysis),
    • Data management (Microsoft Access, organizational skills, ability to understand and manage diverse data types)
    • Leadership experience (troubleshooting, balancing needs of diverse teams, resilience, safety in remote wilderness locations, positive attitude, ability to maintain focus on data priorities while managing team activities).
    • Attention to detail; ethical conduct in animal care, data management, and human interactions; ability to work independently as well as in a close team situation; personal interest in animal behavior and evolutionary biology,
    • Clear and open communication with the PI and other research team members at all times (things will go wrong – the project manager will need to be willing to tell me promptly when and how that happens so that we can get back on track together).
    • Ability to learn new techniques. Ability to think broadly about daily activities, and how they fit into the bigger picture of the research goals.
    • Fluency in English and, minimally, a high level of communication in Spanish.  Spanish fluency preferred, conversational German useful.

    Duration: 1-year contract with renewal for up to 5 years, depending on performance.

    Start date:  Oct 1 preferred; negotiable Aug 15 2023 – Jan 8 2024.

    Compensation:  Salary range $35,000 - $38,000/year, based on experience; employer-paid health insurance; travel costs, food, and housing paid while managing the field crew in Panama (4 months/year). While in the US, includes US holidays and 3 weeks of paid vacation per year.

    To apply:  Send your CV, coverletter, and contact information for three professional references to Emily DuVal at ehduval@bio.fsu.edu with the subject line: PROJECT MANAGER APPLICATION: lance-tailed manakin project.  Additionally, ask TWO of these referees who can comment on your field/lab skills and your suitability for this position upload their letter of support at https://forms.gle/iBCdDabHupYj58C69. We suggest you provide your application materials to those recommenders so that they can best comment on your portfolio. Review of applications will begin July 15, and position will remain open until filled.


    Project manager advertisement - DuVal Lab 2023.pdf

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