M.Sc. Research assistantship in bats and wind energy at Texas State University
In collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Bat Conservation International (BCI), NRG, and Texas A&M San Antonio, Dr. Sarah Fritts at Texas State University will assess the effectiveness of acoustic deterrents for decreasing bat mortalities at wind turbines using an outdoor flight cage. The effectiveness of ultrasonic acoustic deterrents (UADs) varies by species, but it remains unclear as to why species respond differently to the devices. Given this variability, additional research is necessary to examine species-specific responses. The objective of this study is to improve a previously developed UAD’s range and effectiveness, specifically by testing the response of various species to different signals in a relatively controlled environment. The testing goals in our study are to 1) maximize the number of species with reduced fatalities from UADs, including both high- and low-frequency species, 2) optimize the ultrasonic signal (e.g., signal intensity, frequency range, and signal pattern), 3) observe potential seasonal differences in behaviors (e.g., spring and fall), and 4) assess bat echolocation and behavior patterns during UAD transmission. Results will inform an optimized UAD configuration. Relative to curtailment, UADs represent a cost-effective, alternative impact reduction strategy for bats, benefiting both the wind energy industry and the conservation community. We expect to advance the technology toward commercial application by optimizing the deterrent signal for a variety of bat species.
Required credential include a B.S. in wildlife, ecology, natural resource conservation, environmental studies, or a related field; strong quantitative skills and demonstrated writing ability; competitive GPA and GRE scores. Applicants should be willing to work independently and as part of a team, have experience with capturing and acoustic monitoring of bats including hardware and software (Sonobat, Kaleidoscope), experience with statistics, and the ability to withstand demanding Texas field conditions (i.e., hot weather, long driving hours).
If interested, send in a single PDF file: (1) a cover letter briefly describing your research interests, career goals, and why you would like to pursue a graduate degree; (2) a resume/CV (3) unofficial copies of GRE scores and academic transcripts; and (4) name, phone number and email address of 3 references. There is no need to pursue the official application process through the university until candidate selection is complete. Review of applications will begin immediately.
Student support will be through a combination of grant support and instructional assistantships. Tuition and salary support will be provided for 1 year and the student will be paid as an instructional assistant for 1 year. Multiple opportunities exist at the Biology Department for additional scholarships/awards on a competitive basis.
The Biology Department (http://www.bio.txstate.edu/) of Texas State University (http://www.txstate.edu/) has a M.Sc. program in which an emphasis exists on the application of ecological principles to studies in wildlife ecology and natural resource management. The University campus is conveniently located in central Texas along the I-35 corridor and close to both Austin and San Antonio. Details about the entry requirements for this graduate program can be found here (http://www.gradcollege.txstate.edu/ .Applicants need to meet the entrance requirements for the program, department and university.
For more details about the details of the research team you can visit our websites where we have a description of our individual research and past publications:
Dr. Sarah Fritts (https://sarahfritts.wordpress.com/, https://www.bio.txstate.edu/about/Faculty---Staff/faculty/Sarah-Fritts.html and https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sarah_Fritts).
Dr. Sara Weaver (http://www.tamusa.edu/College-of-Arts-and-Sciences/scienceandmathematics/Biology/Faculty/Sara-Weaver-Bio.html)