[MARMAM] INDIVIDUAL-BASED MODEL OF BELUGA WHALES (ST. LAWRENCE ESTUARY) - POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP

Clément Chion clementchion at gmail.com
Tue Sep 4 08:13:58 PDT 2018


Hi,

We are recruiting a postdoctoral fellow to develop an individual-based
model of the endangered St. Lawrence beluga population.

The project is part of a broader research program aimed at proposing
effective solutions to mitigate the impacts of navigation on belugas in the
St. Lawrence Estuary (ongoing management process).

The full announcement is below.

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO FORWARD THIS ANNOUNCEMENT TO YOUR COLLEAGUES AND
CIRCULATE IN YOUR NETWORKS!

Thanks and have a nice day!

Clément

Clément Chion <http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Clement_Chion/>, PhD
Professeur-Chercheur / Research Professor
Département des sciences naturelles
Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO)
ISFORT <http://isfort.uqo.ca/nos_etudiants/clement-chion>
819-595-3900 poste: 1858
819-503-2539

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*POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP OFFER*

Department of Natural Sciences – Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO)


Project title

Spatiotemporal Individual-Based Modelling of the St. Lawrence Estuary
Beluga Population
Project background and objectives

St. Lawrence Estuary beluga population is currently listed as endangered
under the Species at Risk Act of Canada. It is also listed as threatened
under the Quebec Act Respecting Threatened or Vulnerable Species. Several
threats related to navigation activities in the beluga’s critical habitat
limit its recovery, including disturbance and exposure to boats’ underwater
noise. Mitigating such navigation impacts requires tools to evaluate the
performance of potential measures before taking action. The postdoc
fellow’s project is part of a broader research program that aims at
building a multiagent simulator of boat and whale movements in both the
Saguenay and St. Lawrence Rivers to assess the effectiveness of potential
mitigation options. The broader goal of the research program is to support
a collaborative process to enhance the protection of the at-risk St.
Lawrence Estuary beluga population in its critical summer habitat.

The postdoc fellow’s project aims at building calibrated algorithms that
accurately simulate belugas’ individual movements by reproducing
data-extracted statistical patterns. Several concurrent hypotheses
currently exist regarding beluga movements, social dynamics, and responses
to the presence of boats in their critical habitat. These hypotheses will
be made explicit by the selected candidate. The related uncertainties will
be translated into the proposition of concurrent movement algorithms.
Statistical patterns will need to be identified at different scales
(individual, group and population) and extracted from several datasets
provided by collaborators. These patterns will allow to calibrate the
movements algorithms and assess their performance using the
Pattern-Oriented Modelling approach. Based on a literature review, the
selected candidate will propose a series of beluga-specific indicators of
navigation impacts (e.g. masking/communication space, disturbance,
collision risks). These indicators will be used to assess the performance
of mitigation scenarios using the final simulator that will couple a valid
beluga IBM with an existing model of boat movements. The development of
beluga’s movement algorithms will be based on behavioral ecology theories
and developed in collaboration with researchers who have been studying
belugas since the early 80’s. Although this modelling project does not
require any data collection in the field, the selected candidate will work
in close collaboration with researchers from Group for Research and
Education on Marine Mammals (GREMM), Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and
Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park, and will have the opportunity to take
part in their field campaign.

The desired candidate will show dynamism, motivation, intellectual
curiosity and creativity, ability to work independently and as part of a
team, along with a great sense of initiative. He/She will be encouraged and
supported to travel for scientific communications (conferences, workshops),
meetings with partners and stakeholders. The project funding is provided by
the Government of Quebec. The selected candidate will be required to
participate in the production of deliverables for the Ministry for Forests,
Wildlife, and Parks and Ministry for Maritime Affairs on a yearly basis.
Skills

·       PhD in Natural Sciences, Engineering, or any discipline relevant
for the project

·      Proficiency in individual-based modelling

·      Java programming or proficiency in another object-oriented
programming language

·      Preparing scholarship and grant applications

·      Proficiency in scientific communication (written and oral) to
experts and laypeople, including writing scientific articles and conducting
literature reviews
Assets

·      Knowledge in behavioural ecology especially social mammals

·      Knowledge in underwater acoustics and/or bioacoustics

·      Knowledge in GIS, Spatial analysis and spatial statistics

·      Other technical skills: R, Python, QGIS and Repast Simphony
Remuneration

·      47k$/year (including UQO’s social benefits)
Period

·      From now to March 31st2020 (with possibility of extension)
Location

·      Ripon or Gatineau (Québec, Canada)
Application

·      Email your academic CV (long form), application letter (detailing
your skills and assets related to the project requirements), and the name
and contact information of 3 academic references to:

o    Pr. Clément Chion (clementchion at gmail.com; clement.chion at uqo.ca)

o    Pr. Angélique Dupuch (angelique.dupuch at uqo.ca)


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