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  • PhD student: 4 yrs: Impacts of the US-Mexico border wall on migratory birds using acoustic, telemetry, and weather surveillance radar

    Jeff Buler
    • Employer: University of Delaware
      Location: Newark, DE & southern Texas
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 03/31/2023
      Open Until Filled: Yes

    Job Description: Four years of funding at the UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE'S (UD) Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology for a Graduate Research Assistant. As a Ph.D. student, you will help conduct research at UD, in collaboration with a team of scientists from USGS and the University of Oklahoma, to determine migrating bird densities, distributions, and diversity in relation to border barrier infrastructure along the US-Mexico border within the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas using remote sensing technologies of Doppler radar, automated radio telemetry receivers, and audio recording units. The focus will be to 1) investigate how habitat modification and artificial light associated with the border wall has influenced bird migration at a broad spatial scale by using historical weather radar measures of migration traffic and stopover distributions before and after the installation of the wall barrier and 2) investigate fine scale differences in migrant species composition and traffic rates among wall and gap segments by using an array of automated radio telemetry within the MOTUS Wildlife Tracking System and audio recordings of individual birds. There may be possibilities to establish more field-based work given future funding. More details of the project can be found here https://www.usgs.gov/centers/wetland-and-aquatic-research-center/science/monitoring-impacts-us-mexico-border-barrier-and#overview. You will be largely responsible for analyzing the acoustic data, but I encourage you to incorporate any other component/s of the project or derive related research questions for your dissertation research. This is a great opportunity to engage in cutting-edge remote-sensing bird migration research on the impacts of human infrastructure and light pollution within a top-notch Wildlife program. You will be advised by Dr. Jeff Buler, head of UD’s Aeroecology Program (https://sites.udel.edu/aeroecologyprogram/).

    Start date: September 1, 2023, but am flexible for earlier or later date

    Salary: Stipend will be ~$30,213 for year one, plus a tuition-waiver and reduced cost health benefits. Stipend increases 3% per year.

    Qualifications: Applicants must have a Bachelor’s and M.S. degree in wildlife ecology, or a related field, and minimum 3.2 GPA. Experience with GIS, acoustic recording, and R is preferred. Additionally, I seek a candidate with prior experience/knowledge in one or more areas of bird migration ecology, avian acoustic monitoring, landscape ecology, or radar aeroecology. This work may not involve any fieldwork in Texas. Therefore, it is critical that a successful applicant have a penchant for quantitative data analysis and computer modeling of large remotely-sensed datasets and be happy to live on the east coast.

    Apply: Please send a cover letter outlining experience and research interests, curriculum vitae, unofficial copies of transcripts, and contact information for three references to DR. JEFF BULER, Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, University of Delaware, via email to jbuler@udel.edu.

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