The Department of Geography at Durham University seeks to appoint a full-time Post-Doctoral Research Associate in Seabird Distribution and Ecology, with a focus on snow petrels. The PDRA will join the research team led by Professor Erin McClymont for a period of 36 months as part of the Leverhulme Trust-funded project “Unlocking evidence for Antarctic sea-ice evolution from a novel biological archive”. The PDRA will work under the supervision of both Professor McClymont at Durham University, and Professor Richard Phillips at British Antarctic Survey.
The wider Leverhulme Trust-funded project aims to reconstruct histories of snow petrel diet and the sea-ice environment using geochemical changes in snow petrel stomach oils. The project focusses on the eastern Weddell Sea, from the Last Glacial Maximum to present. Other members of the team will be examining the evolutionary history of the snow petrels using DNA analysis, and ecological modelling of long-term changes in snow petrel diet and distributions. The project team includes 2 PhD researchers, 3 PDRAs, and investigators at both Durham University and the British Antarctic Survey.
The overall aim of this PDRA position will be to relate habitat use and preferences of tracked snow petrels to biomarker, trace metal, and stable isotope analyses of their prey, blood, fat biopsy and stomach oil samples collected in the same field campaign. The main focus of the PDRA position will be to analyse tracking and conventional diet data. There will also be opportunities for involvement in the biomarker, trace metal, and stable isotope analyses of the stomach oils and prey. If time permits, the PDRA will also analyse data on habitat use of other pagophilic seabirds or use habitat models to predict past and future distributions of snow petrels in relation to changing sea ice extent.
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