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    Avian Social Behaviour Intern

    • Employer: Algoma University
      Location: Sault Ste Marie, Ontario
      Country: Canada
      Last Date to Apply: 01/28/2019
      Open Until Filled: No

    Position: Avian Social Behaviour Intern

    Location: The OVEN, Dept. of Biology, Algoma University

    Start Date: 1 Feb 2019 (flexible)

    Application Deadline: 21 Jan 2019 or until position is filled

    Hours: 37.5 hours/week

    Salary: $30,712

    Duration of Internship: 52 weeks


    The OVEN (Ornithology, Vocalization, and Ecology Network) at Algoma University requires a motivated and independent recent graduate to work in the Biology Department as a Avian Social Behaviour Intern. The internship is funded by the Northern Ontario Internship Program of the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation. The intern will work collaboratively with Algoma students on several major lab projects.

    During fall/winter, the intern will be involved in managing several behavioural experiments at feeders including using RFID feeders. The goals of this project are to understand how winter resident birds make foraging decisions and how social learning plays a role in multi-species flock behaviours. This project will involve catching and banding birds with uniquely identified radio-frequency ID (RFID) bands and/or colour bands. Once banded, we will deploy feeders equipped with RFID readers that will log all visits to the feeder automatically. We will use video-recordings to calculate feeder accuracy rates to calibrate results.

    During spring/summer, the intern will be involved in a project investigating how communication behaviour varies with the social environment. White-throated sparrows exist in two morphs, tan and white. White-morph birds have a chromosomal inversion that make them more aggressive than tan-morphs. Singing behaviours of birds are related to individual-level factors like male quality but are also influenced by the social environment. The goal of this second project is to investigate how tan and white morph birds vary their vocal behaviour in neighbourhoods with varying ratios of tan:white birds. We will focus on three different behavioural displays: 1) nocturnal singing where birds sing sporadically at night, 2) the dawn chorus, when all birds sing simultaneously, and 3) daytime singing where individuals or groups of individuals sing and interact. This project will involve recording neighbourhoods of colour-banded birds using an acoustic location system, which records vocal interactions in real-time. The recordings are then analyzed in the lab and compared to a library of songs for each bird within each neighbourhood to extract song patterns. We will locate nests and monitor breeding behaviours to better understand how breeding stage influences vocal interactions and to determine whether it does so similarly for the two morph types.

    The intern will be responsible for managing data collection, organization, analysis, and writing publications and web content. The key responsibilities of the intern will be:

    1) assist with capture and banding of birds,

    2) monitor feeders and equipment in the field,

    3) make behavioural observations of birds at and away from feeders,

    4) download and analyze RFID feeder data,

    5) deploy and maintain sound equipment in the field,

    6) map territories and find nests of white-throated sparrows,

    7) analyze sound recordings in the lab,

    😎 statistical analysis of data,

    9) writing manuscripts for publication, and

    10) mentorship of undergraduate students in the lab.

    To be eligible for an NOHFC internship, candidates must have graduated from University of College within the last three years. Candidates must be graduates of post-secondary degree or diploma programs. The position must provide the intern with first time employment in their field of study. Candidates are only eligible to participate in the internship one time and must be legally entitled to work in Canada.

    The intern must have graduated from a university with a degree in the sciences (e.g. B.Sc. Biology) with an M.Sc. preferred. Strong written and oral communication skills are required. The intern should be capable of working independently with little supervision. Experience with computer based software programs is required as well as an aptitude for presenting scientific materials to a professional as well as a general audience. The following will be considered strong assets: banding experience, experience in project management, science writing skills, teaching skills, and a knowledge of avian behaviour, ecology, and/or video analysis.

    Applications will be accepted until 28 January 2019. Letters of application and resumes/Curriculum Vitae and a sample of written work can be submitted by email to: jennifer.foote@algomau.ca.

    Full contact details: Dr. Jennifer Foote Department of Biology Algoma University 1520 Queen St. E. Sault Ste. Marie Ontario P6A 2G4 Tel: (705) 949-2301 ext. 4368

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