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Ornithology Exchange
  • MS position - Historic ecology and avian communities of Los Angeles, California

    • Employer: California State University Los Angeles
      Location: Los Angeles, California
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 03/01/2021
      Open Until Filled: Yes

    Principal Investigators: Eric Wood

    Description – I am seeking a motivated MS student to conduct research on the historic avian communities of Los Angeles, California. The project is part of a multi-institutional collaboration focused on understanding past land-cover, based on mapping efforts from historic photos and field notebooks, and past avian communities, based on nest and egg records collected before the development of the city of Los Angeles. The project then seeks to resurvey historic nest locations to understand how over a century of urbanization has affected modern avifauna.

    The successful applicant will be expected to (1) lead museum curation efforts at California State University Los Angeles by digitizing and incorporating bird nest and egg specimens of the Los Angeles area with existing records from the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology museum, (2) perform urban bird surveys (e.g., point counts and area searches) to understand the current distributions of bird communities in the city, (3) work with eBird and Breeding Bird Atlas data to further refine current avian communities of Los Angeles, and (4) collaborate with partners from institutions in the area (e.g., USC, UCLA, Occidental College, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County). The project offers partial funding through the Haynes Foundation and is a great opportunity for local students seeking an ornithological graduate position focused on museum curation, urban ecology, field work, GIS and statistical analyses, and collaboration with a large network of experts in the area.

    To Apply - Submit an application packet as a single PDF including: (1) one-page letter of interest, (2) CV or resume, (3) unofficial undergraduate/graduate transcripts, and (4) contact information for three professional references to Dr. Eric Wood (ericmwood@calstatela.edu). For more information about the Wood Lab of Avian Ecology and Conservation, please visit: www.ericmwood.org. The deadline to apply is 1st March 2021. However, I will begin reviewing applicants as I receive them. Applicants from underrepresented groups in STEM are particularly encouraged to apply.

    Desired Qualifications

    • B.A. or B.S. degree in biology, ecology, environmental science, or related discipline,
    • A minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in upper-division work
    • Demonstrated knowledge of avian communities of Southern California
    • Demonstrated ability to survey birds by sight and sound
    • Knowledge of museum curation work
    • Excellent communication skills (verbal and oral)
    • Demonstrated research experience (data collection, analysis, writing)
    • Familiarity with Program R and GIS (or, strong interest to learn either program)

    Other Qualifications (but, not required)

    • Background in working in collaborative research environments
    • Involvement in public engagement and outreach efforts
    • Previous fieldwork in urban areas
    • Have a car and the ability to drive – especially in Los Angeles traffic!
    • Course preparation in ornithology, advanced ecology, statistics, and GIS

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