Shorebird Research Associate

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Palm Desert, CA, United States

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15 days ago

The National Audubon Society is a nonprofit conservation organization that protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. We work throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state, regional, national, and international programs, nature centers, and chapters have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. As a sentinel species, we recognize that the fate of birds is inextricably tied to the fate of us all.

Audubon has more than 700 staff working across the United States and seven countries in 17 state and regional offices, 41 nature centers, and 23 wildlife sanctuaries. Together as one Audubon, we aspire to alter the course of climate change and habitat loss, leading to healthier bird populations and reversing current trends in biodiversity loss.

Audubon is committed to a culture of workplace excellence, where our talented and diverse staff are deeply engaged, with a strong sense of belonging. The birds Audubon pledges to protect differ in color, size, behavior, geographical preference, and countless other ways. By honoring and celebrating the equally remarkable diversity of the human species, Audubon will bring new creativity, effectiveness, and leadership to our work throughout the hemisphere.
Position Summary:
The Research Associate will work closely with the Director of Bird Conservation and Salton Sea Program Director to design and initiate a pilot research project focused on feeding ecology of shorebirds at the Salton Sea, a saline lake located in southern California. The Salton Sea Program staff are interested in understanding if biofilm exists around the Salton Sea, how shorebirds are utilizing this potential food resource, and what other food resources may be utilized by migratory and resident shorebird species. This project will help ecologists and land managers better understand the food web at the Salton Sea and how future restoration projects and habitat management may benefit or impact food availability for migratory shorebirds.

We seek an individual with a graduate-level degree that is capable of independently designing a research project, carrying out preliminary field surveys in a collaborative team setting, and preparing and presenting results and recommendations based on field and lab work. The individual will work with a team of internal and external shorebird/saline lake ecology experts that will serve as a review panel for the project design.

This is an 8-month part-time (28 hours per week on average) remote position, with required travel to the Salton Sea, with the potential to be extended if funding permits.

$30.00 / hour
Essential Functions:
  • Conduct literature review/consult with experts on biofilm and shorebirds and summarize findings
  • Organize a research advisory committee comprised of internal Audubon and external experts (USGS, USFWS, etc.)
  • Develop research questions, design, and methodology to survey shorebirds and sediment/biofilm
  • Organize and conduct preliminary laboratory analyses
  • Conduct preliminary field work at selected sites in April, July, and August
  • Synthesize results and present findings
  • Produce final report and recommendations for research program
Qualifications and Experience:
  • Minimum Master’s Degree in Ornithology, ecology, natural science, or related field.
  • 2-4 years field research experience; ability to identify shorebirds and prior experience with benthic community surveys a plus.
  • Experience developing a research project and managing a team of research collaborators/advisors.
  • Ability to synthesize and analyze data.
  • Self-starter with a strong collaborative work ethic and ability to work independently and remotely.
  • Sound independent judgement and problem-solving ability.
  • Strong interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills.
  • Ability to synthesize and communicate technical and complex information for a non-technical audience.
  • A willingness to travel and conduct field work early mornings and for long hours, and sometimes in the desert heat temperatures
  • Personal vehicle required (mileage reimbursed)
EEO Statement:
The National Audubon Society is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE). All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. We are committed to a policy of nondiscrimination, inclusion and equal opportunity and actively seek a diverse pool of candidates in this search.
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COVID Policy:
All new hires must be fully vaccinated prior to their start of employment unless they are pre-qualified by HR for exemption.