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  • Postdoctoral fellowship, Population ecology of Pacific Flyway snow geese

    Guest Mitch Weegman
    • Employer: University of Saskatchewan
      Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
      Country: Canada
      Last Date to Apply: 03/03/2023
      Open Until Filled: No

    The Department of Biology at the University of Saskatchewan is seeking a 2-year postdoctoral fellow to lead a project using all available demographic and population survey information for Wrangel Island and Western Arctic snow geese to estimate demographic rates and abundances in an integrated population model (IPM), and identify mechanisms that influence demographic processes. The IPM will be used to evaluate the relative importance of each data set toward demographic estimation and prioritize future monitoring strategies that will enable practitioners to make informed management decisions (e.g., about establishing population objectives, monitoring and harvest). These products will establish the foundation to develop more flexible yet effective monitoring programs and a metapopulation model linking lesser snow goose Arctic breeding colonies and wintering areas for more holistic management in future years.

    Our objectives are: (1) Develop an IPM for Wrangel Island and Western Arctic lesser snow goose populations that includes banding, productivity, and population survey information for all colonies, 1970-present, (2) Determine the demographic mechanism(s) for population change in Wrangel Island and Western Arctic snow goose populations and compare between the populations, (3) Evaluate the relative contributions of demographic data sets toward identification of the mechanism(s) of population change. Conduct simulations using various datasets and sample sizes to develop optimal, cost-effective monitoring and data collection strategies for Wrangel Island and Western Arctic snow goose populations, (4) Determine the primary drivers of snow goose demography in the Pacific Flyway, specifically evaluating the influence of hunter harvest and various environmental drivers throughout the annual cycle, and (5) For “strong” environmental drivers, adjust the values of covariate(s) based on predicted changes in the covariate given land use and climate change. Predict Wrangel Island and Western Arctic goose populations under multiple scenarios in the next 10 and 20 years.

    There will be opportunities to explore related research questions and collaborate on several projects in movement and population ecology in the Weegman lab. This project is an international partnership among researchers at Canadian Wildlife Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Ducks Unlimited Inc., Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Pacific Flyway Council, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the University of Saskatchewan.


    Minimum qualifications:

    Ph.D. in statistics, wildlife ecology or closely related field

    Skills in Program R

    Demonstrated excellence in verbal and written communication

    Ability to work independently and as part of a research team


    Preferred qualifications: 

    Skills in JAGS, NIMBLE, Stan

    Experience forming and running integrated population models

    Knowledge and experience in avian ecology


    Salary and benefits:  Approximately $65,000 Canadian per year plus benefits

    Start date: 1 May 2023

    Last date to apply: 3 Mar 2023


    To be considered for this position, please send a cover letter, curriculum vitae, research statement and contact information for three references to Dr. Mitch Weegman (mitch.weegman@usask.ca).

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