Post-Doc on trophic interactions in the Białowieża forest

Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences
offers a position for a

Post-Doc on trophic interactions in the Białowieża forest

in the research project funded by the National Science Center, Poland:
„Landscape of fear in closed-canopy forests: combined effects of tree logs and wolves on regeneration of palatable and less palatable tree species”.

Requirements:

  1. Degree Master of Science in Biology, specialization Ecology
  2. PhD in Ecology or a related field
  3. Knowledge and practical experience with ecological field studies
  4. Experience in working with camera trap data or large data sets
  5. Good knowledge of statistics and statistical methods to analyse highly-variable field data sets
  6. Good knowledge of statistical software packages (especially R)
  7. Good publication record in the field of plant or animal ecology in peer-reviewed international scientific journals
  8. Experience in working/studying at a foreign scientific institute/university is a plus
  9. Fluent skills in English both in speaking and writing

Description of position:

The successful candidate will participate in an ongoing research project that aims to study the long-term effects of large tree logs, in combination with wolf presence, on the regeneration of different tree species in the Białowieża Primeval Forest in Poland. In areas where wolves are present, tree logs are perceived by red deer as a risk factor which results in reduced ungulate browsing intensity. The long-term effects this has on patterns of tree regeneration and tree species composition are thus far unknown and will be addressed in the present project.

Our previous studies showed that tree logs (and in general coarse woody debris, CWD) play an essential role for the recruitment of palatable tree species, such as oak Quercus rubra. However, the best place to survive for an oak recruit varies between the different life-stages, a phenomenon known as spatial discordance. Whereas CWD protects oak seedlings and saplings against browsing by ungulates, they do not protect acorns and seedlings against wild boar rooting. In deciduous forest, wild boar are very efficient and one of the main acorn consumers and seem to play an important role in affecting the establishment and hence regeneration of this tree species. The recent outbreak of African Swine Fever in the Białowieża forest (especially in 2016) has diminished the wild boar population. As wild boar belonged to the most abundant ungulate species in this area, this has resulted in a major change in the ungulate community structure with possible top-down and bottom-up effects on other trophic levels. This outbreak gives us the unique opportunity to study what role wild boar play in the establishment and regeneration of trees in one of the most natural temperate forest systems of Europe.

We are looking for a Post-Doc that will:

  • study the consequences of the ASF outbreak for the population structure of wild boar in the managed and unmanaged parts of the Białowieża forest based on camera trap data
  • explore the ecological consequences of this outbreak by evaluating the effects on other trophic levels, for example:
  • oak regeneration in relation to CWD (in comparison to available data before the population crash)
  • woody plant establishment and herbaceous vegetation composition on permanent monitoring plots before and after the outbreak
  • wolf diet based on faecal analyses (in comparison to available data before the population crash)

Conditions of employment
Contract (‘Umowa o pracę’) for 12 months

Start of work:
01-01-2018

Salary:
4 059 PLN/month(gross).

Required documents:

  • Copy of PhD diploma
  • CV showing experience and scientific achievements of the candidate, including publications in peer-reviewed journals, international internships completed in scientific institutions in Poland and abroad, acquired research grants or scholarships, awards, workshops, scientific training, participation in research projects, etc.
  • Motivation letter
  • Letter or contact persons for reference
  • Evaluation of candidates will be carried out by a commission including team members involved in the project. After a preliminary assessment of the submitted documents, suitable candidates will be invited for an interview (possibly via Skype).

Submission of documents: till 15.11.2017.
Job interview: from 20.11.2017.
Decision: before 15.12.2017.

For questions please contacts: Dries Kuijper, dkuijper@ibs.bialowieza.pl

Please send your application by e-mail to dkuijper@ibs.bialowieza.pl