Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) Population Ecology and Interactions with Shorebirds on Fire Island, New York Virginia Tech Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation Many studies have shown that predation is a key determinant of piping plover reproductive output, and predator management often is used to improve piping plover breeding success. The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is a key predator in a number of piping plover nesting areas. Despite the recognition that predator management is an important part of piping plover management along the entire U.S. coast, there still are many gaps in our knowledge of the foxes, fox responses to management, and the effects of foxes and fox management on piping plover habitat use and reproductive output. In order to effectively and efficiently design long-term red fox management, monitoring is needed to 1) assess the abundance and reproductive success of red foxes on Fire Island, especially as the population recovers from a recent mange-related decline, and 2) quantify the interactions between red foxes and piping plovers. We will use track and scat surveys, and camera monitoring of discovered dens, to accomplish these objectives. The technician will join this collaborative project overseen by Drs. Sarah Karpanty, Jim Fraser, and Dan Catlin and project manager and research scientist, Katie Walker. This individual will work collaboratively with this Virginia Tech team, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the National Park Service, New York State, and county and local governments in the study area. This individual will also join a collaborative team of other students, technicians and post-docs at Virginia Tech in the labs of the PIs. For examples of ongoing projects, see http://vtshorebirds.fishwild.vt.edu. Duties: Activities will be conducted between 1 April-August 30th annually. Start date in 2021 is negotiable. $560/week, or higher based on experience, plus free housing. Pay is negotiable based on experience and/or if person has own local housing. Work will involve surveying for fox individuals, dens and scat; analyzing fox scat; assessing habitat; collaborating and assisting on piping plover field work including trapping, banding and resighting piping plovers, nest searching and monitoring, and brood monitoring; operating trucks, boats, and UTVs. Fieldwork involves long hot days, early mornings and nights. Candidate must be able to work as part of a team and independently, and keep a positive attitude through long field days (up to 12 hrs/day and 6 days a week). Incumbent will live at a field site on the south shore of Long Island during which time housing will be provided unless other local housing is available. This will be an excellent project for someone wishing to make a research contribution to basic science and, simultaneously, to the design of predator management and avian conservation strategies. The field team and program will follow strict COVID-19 safety protocols, including pre-season quarantine, mask wearing, social distancing, and pod-style living if sharing of housing is necessary.
Qualifications: B.S. in Wildlife Science, Ecology, Conservation Biology or closely allied field. Previous field experience required, preferably with carnivores. Experience with tracking canids and camera-trapping preferred. Demonstrated ability to get along with cooperators including USFWS, US Army Corps of Engineers, state and local authorities. Willingness to work long hours in the hot sun in remote conditions. To apply: email C.V., 1 page letter of application, degree title and GPA for all degrees, and names and contact information for 3-4 references including at least one academic reference. Finalists will be asked to participate in a phone interview. Send information to Katie Walker, Li.firstname.lastname@example.org . Candidate selection will begin immediately and will continue until position is filled. We recommend applying as quickly as possible.