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Seabird Conservation Scientist Vacancy

Lucy Wright, March 10, 2017

The RSPB seeks a talented Conservation Scientist to work on an exciting project that will use state-of-the-art GPS tracking technology to understand how seabirds may be affected by offshore wind farm development. The job will involve setting up and conducting a project to attach remote-download GPS tracking devices to kittiwakes to gather high-resolution movement data, follow-up monitoring, and analysis and write-up of the results. The postholder will conduct fieldwork during the seabird breeding season on the Yorkshire Coast between Flamborough and Filey, working closely with a senior research assistant and staff at the RSPB Bempton Cliffs reserve. They will spend the subsequent 6 months conducting data analysis and writing up the results of the work, in order to produce a paper for submission to a peer-reviewed journal by the end of the contract.

The post requires a doctorate in an ecological subject, or equivalent research experience, with experience of fieldwork in seabird colonies and the analysis of spatial data using R. Applicants should have experience of catching and handling adult seabirds safely, and the ideal candidate will hold a UK ringing permit that covers cliff-nesting seabirds (or have equivalent experience from another country such that they could attain one very quickly), be proficient in catching seabirds at the nest using a noose pole, and be familiar with attaching tracking devices to birds. Excellent data management skills, experience of the analysis of large and complex animal tracking datasets, and a record of publication in peer-reviewed journals are highly desirable. A basic understanding of remote-download tracking technology, prior experience of working in a clifftop environment and rope access skills would be advantageous.

The postholder must be available to start work in early May, and must be prepared to spend the majority of the breeding season (around 3 months) at the study site, where early mornings, late evenings and weekend work will be expected at times. There will be a short time-window at the right stage of the breeding season to attach tracking devices to birds, and long hours may be required during this brief period. You must be capable of accessing cliff-nesting seabird colonies over rough terrain and have a meticulous approach to ensuring the health, safety and welfare of yourself, your co-workers, members of the public and the birds. A UK driving licence is required.

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