09.11.2022

Postdoc in demographic modelling (f/m/d)

Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW)

The Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) in Berlin is Germany’s premier wildlife research institute, one of eight research institutes in the Forschungsverbund Berlin e. V., a member of the Leibniz Association and jointly funded by the German federal and state governments. The IZW focuses on the life histories and mechanisms of evolutionary adaptations of mammals and birds, on the limits of these mechanisms in natural and anthropogenically influenced environments, and on conservation strategies that take these into account. The institute operates within the fields of evolutionary ecology, ecological dynamics, evolutionary genetics, wildlife diseases, reproduction biology and reproduction management.

Within the Departments of Ecological Dynamics and Evolutionary Ecology we offer a:

Postdoc in demographic modelling

as part of a project on the demographic resilience of wildlife populations (“WILDER”), funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). In this project, we will develop a new approach to quantify the demographic resilience of wildlife populations to environmental changes. This approach should account for the time-varying character of demographic resilience and will be applied to unique long-term datasets from two populations of free-ranging spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) in the Serengeti National Park and in the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, collected over a period of 35 and 26 years, respectively. These two populations differ in their ecology and in the disturbances they experience, including various kinds of anthropogenic disturbance. The candidate is expected to develop a workflow, and a corresponding R package, for estimating time-varying demographic resilience. This approach will then be applied to the two populations of spotted hyenas to study their disturbance regimes, and to quantify their impacts on both populations. The candidate will collaborate closely with a PhD candidate already working on similar aspects of this project. The precise methods to be applied will depend on the candidate, but could include approaches such as matrix population models, integrated population models (IPMs), individual based models (IBMs), or empirical dynamic modelling (EDM).

The selected candidate will be mentored by four senior scientists with complementary expertise: Dr Viktoriia Radchuk, Dr Oliver Höner & Dr Sarah Benhaiem from Leibniz-IZW and Prof Adam Clark from the University of Graz. Within the WILDER project we will organise 1) a series of international workshops for early career researchers to improve their quantitative skills, 2) annual retreats to discuss the project with international experts in population biology, 3) a symposium to disseminate the project results. These activities, along with the attendance of national and international conferences, will allow the selected candidate to develop a broad collaboration network and master teaching and organisational skills.

Requirements

  • Doctorate in population ecology, demography, biostatistics, ecology, biology, zoology, bioinformatics, environmental sciences, or related fields. We also encourage holders of doctorates in mathematics, statistics, or physics to apply
  • Solid experience in statistical analyses and programming in R
  • Documented ability to publish peer-reviewed papers
  • Documented proficiency in English (oral and written)
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills

Beneficial:

  • Experience in working with individual-based, longitudinal datasets
  • Experience in developing R packages
  • Background in population ecology, behavioural ecology and stability ecology

The position is expected to start on 1 March 2023 and is limited to 30 months. Working hours comprise 39 hours per week (100%), with salary according to TVöD (Bund).

As a member of the Leibniz Association the IZW is an equal opportunity employer, determined to increase the proportion of women in successful scientific careers, and particularly encourages women to apply. Preference will be given to disabled applicants with the same qualifications. We promote diversity and welcome applications regardless of gender, origin, sexual orientation and religion.

Enquiries or questions should be directed to Dr. Viktoriia Radchuk (radchuck(at)izw-berlin.de, Tel.: +49 (0)30 5168-454), Dr Sarah Benhaiem (benhaiem(at)izw-berlin.de, Tel.: +49 (0)30 5168-466) and Dr Oliver Höner (hoener(at)izw-berlin.de, +49 (0)30 5168-516).

Applicants should submit 1) a letter of motivation highlighting particular skills for this position (maximum 1 page), 2) a CV (maximum 3 pages), 3) copies of relevant degrees, 4) a list of publications and 5) the feedback (or alternatively the names and contact details) of two referees. Applications are due on 2 December 2022 by 23:59 via the IZW’s job-application facility (www.leibniz-izw.de, button “Apply online”). Finalist candidates will be informed by email within a few days of this deadline, and will be invited to short individual interviews. Interviews will likely take place on 8 December 2022, via video call. Finalist candidates will be asked to prepare a short (ca. 10 min) presentation of their previous and current research.

We are looking forward to your application!

www.leibniz-izw.de