The Institute for Social Behavioral and Economic Research at the University of California, Santa Barbara is recruiting for a Junior Specialist to support the Grackle Project’s long-term research on how behavioral flexibility relates to invasion. The Junior Specialist will help manage a great-tailed grackle cognition field site located in Tempe, Arizona. The successful candidate will trap grackles to color-band as much of the population as possible, conduct focal follows in the wild to document foraging innovations, track nestling success to measure the fitness of tested birds, conduct comparative cognition tests in aviaries and in the wild, supervise student assistants, and contribute to publications that will be published in 100% open access journals at ethical publishers.
This is a two year research project funded by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. The position is appointed for one year with the possibility of an additional one year appointment depending on performance.
- Contribute to the implementation of behavioral experiments in accordance with the project’s research goals while making the best use of open research practices.
- Trap grackles in the wild and process them (i.e., band, collect blood and process it in the lab, and collect biometric measurements) to individually mark birds for study in the wild and in aviaries and to gather data that we will relate with their cognitive performance. Release most grackles and bring some temporarily into aviaries for behavioral tests. Must be able to conduct this work at irregular hours (e.g., at dawn) to maximize trapping success.
- During the non-breeding season, conduct behavioral experiments on grackles in aviaries and in the wild, follow detailed data collection protocols, and enter data daily. Communicate effectively with the postdoctoral scholar, project collaborators, and students who will assist the research. Carry out animal husbandry activities including feeding, cleaning, and health checks to ensure the birds have unlimited and constant access to water and are fed the appropriate food during testing and non-testing times. Identify aviary issues as they arise and work with the Animal Care Team to resolve them.
- During the breeding season, fewer experiments will be conducted and more time will be spent collecting behavioral data on wild grackles using focal follow protocols to understand whether they have a dominance hierarchy, obtain their social network, and document which foraging innovations are used by which birds.
- Communicate research progress effectively with the postdoc and project collaborators for review purposes.
- Promote awareness of research activities in comparative cognition and evolutionary biology among groups that are traditionally underrepresented in science.
- BS degree in biology or related field.
- Experience conducting supervised research.
- Effective communicator, including proven ability to work cooperatively in a team while also being able to take initiative and work independently, and communicate with the public.
- Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail, including proven ability to carry out detailed field protocols and carefully record the data.
- Demonstrated ability to work outdoors for long hours in extreme weather (e.g., hot and dry summer) and walk sometimes extensively to follow the birds.
- Demonstrate the potential to be a strong role model for groups that are traditionally underrepresented in the sciences.
- Experience banding birds, collecting biometrics, collecting behavioral data, or nest searching.
- Willingness to learn about and engage in open research practices (e.g., publishing datasets and code, posting preprints, preregistering experiments, advocacy).
- Candidate would benefit from this position in terms of their career goals (e.g., it is a longer term tech opportunity, or through gaining experience to pursue a PhD).
The work location is in Tempe, Arizona.
The department is especially interested in candidates who can contribute to the diversity and excellence of the academic community through research, teaching and service.
For primary consideration, submit completed application including cover letter, updated CV, unofficial transcripts and contact information for at least three references by November 29, 2017. The position will remain open until filled.
The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.
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