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  • Post Doc position on White-tailed Eagle population ecology

    Toni Laaksonen
    • Employer: University of Turku
      Country: Finland
      Last Date to Apply: 02/02/2021
      Open Until Filled: No

    We are searching for a post doc for a  project studying the population ecology of a recovering apex predator, the white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), in the Baltic Sea and nearby inland environments. This species nearly went extinct due to persecution and environmental contamination, but started to recover with the help of restrictions and conservations actions initiated in the 1970’s. The population is no longer endangered and the Finnish population contains over 500 breeding pairs.

    Throughout the recovery, a voluntary work group working under WWF Finland and later under Osprey foundation has monitored the population. Thanks to this huge effort, we have now data on nest numbers and reproductive success of the eagles through the whole period. The majority of the nestlings were ringed in a scheme that has provided data with >5000 ringed nestlings, of which >3000 have been encountered somewhere later in their life in >50000 encounter events (including ca. 100 identifications of parent birds at their nests). In addition, feather samples from the chicks (>2000) and feathers moulted by parents (>1400) have been collected since 2003. We are currently genotyping these samples, to identify and link parent birds to their natal nest via their genotype.

    Your primary task as a post doc in the project is to analyse these extensive data for a better understanding of the life history components of the population, and to finally build an Integrated Population Model (IPM) for it. Details of the project plan can be tailored according to your interests and experience. An important aspect of your work is to support PhD projects on population, movement and trophic ecology of white-tailed eagles and other avian model species. We also expect some participation in teaching and supervision of undergraduate students in this field of research. The main criteria in the selection are experience and demonstrated ability to publish high-quality science in this field, ability to collaborate but also work independently, and motivation. Previous experience with IPMs, other population models or Bayesian statistics are assets.

    You will be situated in the newly formed group of professor Toni Laaksonen at University of Turku that consists of several post docs and PhD students. The research environment is the Department of Biology that has a number of excellent scientists working on life history and population ecology of birds and other taxa. The vivid international environment, helpful atmosphere and group activities are highly supportive for the project.

    The project is funded by Kone foundation (https://koneensaatio.fi/en/). The post doc will receive a monthly personal grant (not salary) of 3000€ from the foundation. The position is not employment but a contract with the University that provides similar working conditions (office facilities and other University services). Health care is not provided by the employer, but the Finnish public health care system is very good. 

    The starting date can be 1.3.2021 and there is funding for 2.5 years.

    Please include the following information in the application (combined into one single pdf): 1) a max. one page letter of motivation explaining why you are interested in the position and why you would be suitable for it; 2) CV (including your personal details, working experience and publications); and 3) the names and contact information of 1-2 senior scientists from whom references can potentially be asked. The application should be sent via e-mail to the principal investigator, Professor Toni Laaksonen: toni.laaksonen[at]utu.fi at latest February 3, 2021. Interviews will take place before 10 February.

    Additional information can be asked from Toni Laaksonen and some can be found from the following web pages:

    Research environment: https://www.utu.fi/en/university/faculty-of-science/biology

    PI Toni Laaksonen: https://www.utu.fi/en/people/toni-laaksonen

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