[MARMAM] Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship: Estimating abundance of insular cetaceans in Hawaiian waters

Lars Bejder lbejder at hawaii.edu
Mon Sep 23 15:12:11 PDT 2019

Dear Marmam Readers,

We have a post-doctoral fellowship available.  For details, please read

*Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship:*

*Estimating abundance of insular cetaceans in Hawaiian waters*

*Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaii at Manoa*

*Fellowship description and duties:*

The Marine Mammal Research Program (MMRP) (www.mmrphawaii.org) at the
University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (
https://www.hawaii.edu/himb/), in close collaboration with NOAA’s Pacific
Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC) (
https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/region/pacific-islands), is seeking to
recruit a postdoctoral fellow in the area of marine mammal population
assessment (including abundance estimation and demographic modelling), to
join our lab. The successful candidate will design, lead and implement
research investigating the abundance of insular cetaceans, with a main
emphasis on spinner dolphins, off the Main Hawaiian Islands.

*Research context and specific focus:*

Hawaii has an unparalleled richness of natural resources and biodiversity
that includes 30 species of whales and dolphins in its State and Federal
waters. Cetaceans serve an important educational, economic and cultural
role in Hawaii. Hawaii also hosts a rich cultural history, strong
industries based on tourism and fisheries, vast renewable energy resources
(e.g. wind and solar), and a significant strategic contingent of our
Nation’s defence – with some of these having the potential to negatively
impact Hawaii's cetaceans. While cetaceans are protected under the Marine
Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act, many of their current
and emerging threats are not well-understood.

Given the important value of marine mammals throughout the Hawaiian
Archipelago and coupled with the current levels of human pressures, it is
important to manage cetaceans sustainably through informed science. NOAA’s
National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) Pacific Islands Region
is mandated to assess, study and manage over 140 stocks of cetaceans across
>2 million square miles across the North, South and Western Pacific basins.
The scope and scale of NOAA’s significant mandate unfortunately leaves some
important species and emerging problems unaddressed.

The MMRP is a research laboratory whose specific mission is to bridge
rigorous science with management and implementation into policy. The MMRP
is working closely with PIFSC to help address some of their needs. The
successful candidate will be tasked to specifically focus on developing
robust quantitative assessments of abundance (and potentially demography,
and/or human-impacts) for insular cetacean species in the Main Hawaiian
Islands. The post may involve working at the cutting edge of current
population estimation methods, and potentially developing new methods if
current approaches do not suffice. Potential exists for collaboration with
leading statistical ecologists based at St Andrews University, Scotland.

It is expected that the successful candidate will liaise and collaborate
with local, regional, and international scientists and stakeholders to
ensure maximum applicability and utility of the research findings.

 *Required qualifications:*

·         A Ph.D. in either (1) ecology with strong quantitative component,
(2) statistics/ mathematics with a strong ecological component; (3)
bioacoustics with demonstrable components of ecology and statistics;

·         An excellent track record demonstrating advanced skills in
wildlife population assessment (i.e. estimation of abundance and/or other
demographic parameters;

·         An excellent publication record illustrating ability to conduct
novel, independent research.

·         Demonstrated proficiency with R (or related programming
languages) and with software tools for wildlife population assessment;

·         Demonstrated aptitude for applying advanced computational tools
in a research setting;

·         Considerable experience processing, manipulating, and analyzing
large datasets;

·         Excellent organizational and problem-solving skills;

·         Strong attention to detail, and meticulous work style, as
evidenced by previous research;

·         Excellent time management skills, including the ability to meet
project goals in a timely manner, and follow through on projects to

·         Demonstrated ability to mentor, or an interest in mentoring,
junior laboratory members;

·         Strong interpersonal and communication skills, including the
ability to work both independently and collaboratively, and to communicate
research findings at professional meetings and in high-quality
peer-reviewed journals.

*Desirable qualifications:*

·         PhD on marine mammals.

·         An excellent track record in the design, successful execution,
analysis and publication of wildlife population assessment surveys,
particularly for abundance estimation, and in the context of marine mammal

·         Demonstrable understanding of advanced abundance estimation
methods including distance sampling, capture-recapture, spatial
capture-recapture, and other emerging approaches.

·         Demonstrated ability to develop new statistical methods, or work
closely with those developing such methods.

·         Experience in the use of passive acoustic monitoring.

·         Experience as a small boat operator.

·         Ability to travel for fieldwork and conferences.

*Research Environment:*

The postdoc will be based in the lab of Lars Bejder (www.mmrphawaii.org) at
the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB). HIMB is within the School of
Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST; www.soest.hawaii.edu) at the
University of Hawaii at Manoa. HIMB provides unparalleled research
opportunities, in particular due to its unique location on Moku o Loe Island
(Coconut Island) in Kaneohe Bay on the windward side of the island of Oahu
(~ 24 km from the main university campus in Manoa). The successful
candidate will work in close collaboration with the NOAA’s Pacific Islands
Fisheries Science Centre (PIFSC). It is expected that the candidate will
contribute to mentoring graduate students in the MMRP lab, and actively
engage, participate and contribute to other areas of research and
administration in the program.

The MMRP is rapidly developing a supportive and stimulating research
environment with a group of highly collegial scientists who are committed
to scientific outreach and policy, to open science, and to enhancing
diversity in STEM. We offer a family-friendly, flexible work environment
where work-life balance is encouraged.

*Appointment and application:*

The postdoc fellowship is initially for one year, renewable for up to
three-four years based on performance. Fellowship stipend is commensurate
with experience within guidelines set by the university. The start date is
negotiable, but preferably in early 2020.

*To apply:* Candidates should submit the following materials via email to
Dr Bejder (lbejder at hawaii.edu) in a single PDF document, with your last
name in the file name and the subject heading “MMRPpostdoc application” by *20
October 2019 *(Hawaii–Aleutian Standard Time):

·         A letter explaining your motivation for applying for this
fellowship, how your prior research experience qualifies you for the
fellowship, how you satisfy the required and desirable qualifications, and
your career goals;

·         A CV (including publication list, which may include publications
in advanced stages of preparation that will be likely in the review process
by the above postdoctoral fellowship deadline date);

·         Names and contact details for three references.

Individual qualifications and background, academic excellence, and
collegiality will be the primary criteria in selecting the successful

We are committed to equality and diversity and encourage applications from
women, underrepresented minorities, indigenous peoples, and persons with
[image: University of Hawaii at Manoa]
Lars Bejder | Director, Marine Mammal Research Program
| University of Hawaii at Manoa | Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology
| *Website*: www.mmrphawaii.org
| mobile: ++ 1 808 892 9490
| email: lbejder at hawaii.edu
| skype: lbejder1971
| address: 46-007 Lilipuna Rd, Box 1346 Kaneohe, HI 96744
[image: facebook] <https://www.facebook.com/MMRPUH/> [image: twitter]

Recent publications:

 * Bejder, L., Videsen, S., Hermannsen, L., Simon, M., Hanf, M. and Madsen,
2019. Low energy expenditure and resting behaviour of humpback whale
mother-calf pairs highlights conservation importance of sheltered breeding
areas. *Scientific Reports
<https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-36870-7>*. 9:771

* van Aswegen, M., Christiansen, F., Symons, J., Mann, J., Nicholson, K.,
Sprogis, K. and Bejder, L. 2019.  Morphological differences between coastal
bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) populations identified using
non-invasive stereo-laser photogrammetry. *Scientific Reports
<https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-48419-3>*. 9: 12235

* Senigaglia, V., Christiansen, F., Sprogis, K., Symons, J. and Bejder, L.
2019. Food-provisioning negatively affects the reproductive success of
female bottlenose dolphins and calf survival. *Scientific Reports
<https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-45395-6>*. 9:8981
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