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PhD Studentship- Developing monitoring methods for burrow-nesting seabirds

Mark Jessopp, February 5, 2015

Developing and assessing a monitoring strategy for breeding Puffins, Manx Shearwaters and Storm Petrels in Ireland

Ireland has more seabirds than almost any other EU country and has a legal obligation to protect their populations. Although population sizes of many species are well known, this is not true for burrow nesting species like Puffin, Manx Shearwaters and Storm Petrels, leaving stakeholders in a poor position to predict or manage environmental impacts.

The aim of this PhD will be to test the accuracy of a range of techniques for censusing burrow nesting species around the Irish coast. These techniques might involve call playback, automated camera systems, recording sound levels and identifying numbers of individuals from sound recordings, raft counts etc.

This 3-year PhD (with a possibility of extension to 4 years) will focus on collecting new data from a range of islands, collating existing data on seabird distribution from multiple sources, and to develop and demonstrate the feasibility of a monitoring strategy for Ireland using a modelling approach. Thus the studentship will provide experience with censusing seabird species on a range of islands around pristine coastline, the management and analysis of large datasets using GIS, mathematical modelling, statistical analyses, and the publication of results.

The student will be supervised by Dr John Quinn (School of BEES) and Dr Mark Jessopp (MaREI Research Centre), and will work in a growing team of seabird researchers. The project is funded by the National Parks and Wildlife Services and will be based at the School of BEES at UCC, Cork, which offers a vibrant and diverse research environment.

Candidates should possess at minimum a 2.1 BSc (Hons) degree in a relevant discipline (e.g. Ecology, Zoology, Geography, Mathematics or Statistics). Applicants must be self‐motivated with good numerical, communication, organisational and writing skills. A full, clean driving licence is essential, and experience working with birds would be advantageous. A willingness to work at nightime and to spend relatively long periods of time in the field is also important. The studentship is open to non EU students, though only EU fee rates will be covered.

Informal Enquiries: Please contact Dr. John Quinn (Email: or Dr. Mark Jessopp ( Remuneration: This position covers an amount equivalent to EU fee rates (non-EU members may apply but would need to cover extra fees themselves) plus a tax-free stipend of €16,000 p.a.

To Apply: To apply please send by email a CV, details of 2 referees, and accompanying letter of application outlining your relevant experience and why you want to do this studentship to Dr J. Quinn, School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University College Cork, Enterprise Centre, Distillery Fields, North Mall, Cork, Ireland. E‐mail

Dates: Application deadline is 2 March 2015. Interviews will be held on 9 or 11 March. Start date ideally 1 April or as soon thereafter as possible.