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  • Quantitative Ecologist in Animal Movement and Shorebirds (3-year position)


    Autumn-Lynn Harrison
    • Employer: Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center
      Location: Washington, D.C.
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 03/14/2021
      Open Until Filled: No

    Come join a team of dedicated staff at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (SMBC), part of the National Zoological Park and Conservation Biology Institute at the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian Institution is the world's largest museum, education and research complex, comprised of 19 museums and galleries, nine research centers, 21 libraries and the National Zoological Park. The Smithsonian is dedicated to its founding mission, "the increase and diffusion of knowledge." The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center was founded by an act of Congress and is dedicated to understanding, conserving, and championing the grand phenomenon of bird migration.

    The Migratory Bird Center seeks to hire a Quantitative Ecologist who will support a new initiative called the Shorebird Science and Conservation Collective as a Knobloch Shorebird Conservation Fellow. This position is focused on integrating multiple data types (e.g., animal tracking data, survey, eBird) to generate applied conservation products to help reverse the declines of the Western Hemisphere’s shorebirds. The Quantitative Ecologist will work with two other Knobloch Fellows, and an Advisory Group, focused on conducting regional and local shorebird conservation. For an introduction to the idea of the Collective, its planned work, and the role of the Knobloch Fellows, a recorded webinar is available here: https://bit.ly/3601F1D  

    Successful candidates will have a collaborative and applied mind-set and will want to contribute to team results. In their role, the Quantitative Ecologist will have the opportunity to think creatively about developing methods for data integration for applied conservation questions. There may be opportunities to publish research, however, this is not a traditional academic position. The focus of this position is to translate data into on-the-ground conservation for shorebirds. In this role, the Quantitative Ecologist will work to understand and define management questions and to produce products to meet management needs. They will determine appropriate statistical analyses, code and run analyses as appropriate, produce summaries, figures, maps, and tables and consult with staff and partners, including many data contributors, to ensure an understanding of limitations and sampling designs of the contributed data sets. They will be able to clearly communicate data limitations and modeling assumptions.

    Candidates must have the following qualifications

    • Ph.D. in quantitative ecology, applied statistics, or a related field with a strong background in data science, statistics, and model development.
    • Experience analyzing animal movement data collected using biologging technologies.
    • The ability to bridge fields, including movement ecology, population ecology, geospatial statistics, and conservation biology.
    • Experience with R and/or other programming languages.
    • Experience compiling, managing, mapping, and analyzing large, complex datasets.
    • The ability to work and communicate effectively in a team environment and with external partners and stakeholders.

    Preferred qualifications include:

    • Excellent data visualization skills and mapping experience, experience with ESRI software or equivalent mapping experience using programming languages.
    • A background in or interest in learning about shorebirds and their habitat needs.
    • The ability to make connections between shorebird ecology and the actions people take to help conserve shorebirds.
    • Familiarity with wildlife survey design.
    • Familiarity with site-based conservation strategies.

    This position is funded through a grant from the Knobloch Family Foundation and will work under the direction of Dr. Autumn-Lynn Harrison, Research Ecologist, SMBC. It is not a Federal position but has similar benefits.

    Duration: Three years conditional on satisfactory, annual performance evaluations.

    Eligibility: U.S. citizenship is not required, however the candidate must either already possess status to work in the U.S. at Smithsonian or must be eligible for Smithsonian sponsorship. Please note that processing time for anyone requiring Smithsonian sponsorship (3-6 months) may preclude selection based on the timing of our grant deliverables.

    The Smithsonian Institution is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. To best serve our current and future visitors we strive to maximize the diversity, equity, and inclusiveness of our organization. Therefore, we encourage candidates that represent and embody the diversity found within our community to apply.

    Salary: IS-11 (Smithsonian Trust position equivalent to a GS-11 Federal Pay Scale). Considering the locality pay area of Washington, D.C., the starting salary is $72,750 with the potential for annual pay increases pending successful performance reviews.

    Benefits: Health and retirement benefits will be provided according to those given for Trust employees: Link: https://www.si.edu/ohr/benefits

    Duty Station: To foster a team working culture among the Knobloch Shorebird Conservation Fellows, this position will be based at the Migratory Bird Center, National Zoological Park, Washington, D.C. However, remote telework will be considered, especially initially due to current restrictions for on-site work due to the global pandemic.

    Required Travel: When travel restrictions lift, there will be opportunities for occasional travel, and or details to work on-site with external partners. All Knobloch Shorebird Conservation Fellows will be provided the opportunity to attend Western Hemisphere Shorebird Group meetings that occur during the duration of the position. 

    Start date: Spring 2021. We will conduct interviews and select a candidate in March. Following selection and acceptance, the hiring process includes a background check. Anticipated hiring following paperwork processing should be between April and May.  

    To apply: Please submit the following to HarrisonAL@si.edu by March 14, 2021:

    • An email with the following in the subject line of the email: Application for Quantitative Ecologist: Shorebird Collective
    • A cover letter describing how your qualifications will help achieve the goals of the position and why you are excited about it.  
    • A current C.V./Resume. To fulfill Federal hiring requirements, C.V.s/Resumes must include a description of your paid and non-paid work experience that is related to this job; starting and ending dates of each job (Month and year); and average number of hours worked per week for each job.
    • The names and contact information for three professional references. Letters are not required.

    For any questions or for more detail about this position prior to applying, please email Dr. Harrison.



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