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  • Adaptive Management for Eastern Black Rails (postdoc)

    Melanie Colón
    • Employer: USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
      Location: Laurel, MD
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: No value
      Open Until Filled: Yes

    Project Title: Adaptive Management for Eastern Black Rails

    Position Title: Post-doctoral Research Associate

    Salary: GS-12 salary (approximately $80K annually) and benefits

    Location: USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD

    Performance Period: 36 months (anticipate start date October 2019)

    Application Deadline:

    Position Summary:

    USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center is seeking two post-doctoral research associates with interest in adaptive management and population modeling. Specific duties will be to develop and evaluate an adaptive management framework to increase population viability of Black Rails and other wetland birds. The Eastern Black Rail (L. j. jamaicensis) is listed as endangered in five states along the Atlantic Coast and has been proposed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. One position will focus on the Atlantic coast, where Patuxent Wildlife Research Center is working with the Atlantic Coast Joint Venture and other partners to test alternative methods of manipulating coastal marsh habitat to make enhance suitability for Black Rails.

    The second position will focus on the Gulf coast and will include management decision making for Black Rails, Yellow Rails, and Mottled Ducks. These projects will develop adaptive management frameworks that allow wetland managers to reduce uncertainty about management practices for Black Rails and other wetland birds, and give managers tools and information that will help them determine the best management actions create and enhance habitat for Black Rails.

    These projects will combine data about wetland management (e.g., timing and depth of water levels, burning, etc.) with Black Rail occupancy or abundance and vegetation response across many different project sites from NJ to FL and FL to TX. The data will be used to build and update statistical models that predict BLRA responses to management actions. Over time, these models will be used to test assumptions and improve predictions about what management techniques result in high quality habitat for BLRA across their range. The models and decision guidance will provide general predictions of how well a given management action is likely to perform. These positions are 3-year appointments located in Laurel, MD.

    Minimum Requirements:

    1. Ph.D. in biology (wildlife), ecology, or related field, with a focus on quantitative methods

    in population ecology.

    2. Applicant must be within 5 years of receiving PhD.

    3. Applicant must be a US citizen.

    4. Demonstrated familiarity with concepts of decision analysis.

    5. Demonstrated proficiency with computing platforms such as R or MATLAB.

    6. Demonstrated desire and ability to publish in the peer-reviewed literature.

    Desired Abilities:

    Competitive candidates will have a strong background in decision analysis and population modeling. Strong programming skills are required, including proficiency with R for data manipulation and statistical modeling, Bayesian networks for conceptual modeling, and MATLAB or similar platforms for population modeling. The successful candidate will have excellent written and personal communication skills and demonstrated success in working closely with management agencies on applied questions in wildlife conservation.


    Applicants should email: (1) a letter describing your background and interests – the letter should address specifically how the applicant meets both the minimum requirements and the desired abilities, (2) curriculum vitae, and (3) the names and contact information for 3 references to Dr. Jim Lyons (jelyons@usgs.gov). Please include “Black Rail postdoc” in the subject line.

    For further information, contact:

    Jim Lyons (jelyons@usgs.gov, 301-497-5567), USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, 12100 Beech Forest Road, Laurel, MD 20708.

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