NWRC anticipates a vacancy for a full-time temporary post-doctoral research Biologist (Invasive Parakeet Management Specialist) to be stationed on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. Because NWRC has no facilities on Kauai, the duty station will be incumbent’s place of residence on Kauai.
The National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) is the research arm of the USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services program. NWRC is the only U. S. Government facility dedicated to conducting research on understanding and resolving conflict situations between wildlife and people. NWRC is recognized internationally for its research. The mission of the NWRC Hawai’i Field Station is to develop and test methods and strategies to manage invasive species impacts to agriculture, natural resources, and human health and safety on Hawai’i, Guam, and other U.S.-managed lands in the Pacific Basin.
The Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri; RRP) is one of the most widespread invasive birds on the planet. In the U.S., established populations occur in Florida, Hawaii, and southern California. In its native range of Africa and India, this bird is considered to be one of the most significant agricultural pests of important food crops. In Hawaii the Rose-ringed Parakeet population has been particularly damaging on Kauai, where the population has been growing exponentially. Although the first pair of RRP were introduced in Kauai in the 1960’s, the population was estimated at 150-200 birds by 1994; 500-1000 birds by the late 2000’s, and over 2000 birds by 2011. The current number of RRP on Kauai is unknown, but observations suggest over 5000 birds.
RRP poses a significant threat to local economies (through agricultural damage to lychee, longan, rambutan and other crops), ecology (through invasive seed dispersal and competition with native wildlife), and human health and safety (through potential spread of disease). On Kauai, RRP cause more crop damage than all other birds and mammals. Kauai residents have complained about the noise from RRP calls, feces spread below roosts, damage to local gardens and orchards, and loss of business profits and tourism. The RRP is a potential vector of various pathogens and diseases (e.g., Avian Influenza, Avian Malaria, salmonella) that could be passed to humans, pets, and native wildlife. These birds are likely dispersing invasive plant species and possibly destroying native seeds.
The Hawaii State Legislature has appropriated funding to the Department of Land and Natural Resources to support research on damage mitigation and population reduction strategies, to be carried out by the USDA NWRC Hawaii Field Station.
NWRC seeks to hire a post-doctoral research biologist to serve as an Invasive Parakeet Management Specialist on Kauai.
1. Establish protocols for pilot studies to evaluate the most promising control tools.
2. Conduct up to three field trials of the most promising control tools to evaluate efficacy and practicality.
3. Update parakeet habitat uses, daily dispersal patterns, and overall range on Kauai
4. Develop an effective control plan for reducing the parakeet population on Kauai.
5. Implement an experimental parakeet population reduction action as a practical evaluation of the control plan.
A high degree of professionalism and diplomacy is required since he/she may often be interacting with other federal and local agencies, and a diverse general public on potentially controversial animal control issues. The post-doc will take the lead in developing techniques for investigations and is expected to fully participate in the entire research process, including field work, data analysis, writing reports of results for peer-reviewed publication, and oral data presentations at professional conferences.
1. PhD in Zoology, Ecology, Biology, Statistics, or Wildlife and/or Conservation Biology, or related field.
2. Demonstrated field experience in avian ecology, population biology, and bird damage management.
3. Demonstrated proficiency with telemetry and/or other methods of quantifying bird abundance, movement, and behavior.
4. Demonstrated proficiency with statistical software and model evaluation.
5. Demonstrated success at publishing scientific investigation results in the peer-reviewed literature.
6. Must have a valid driver's license or the ability to obtain a driver's license or access to a licensed driver by the employment start date.
7. Must be a U.S. citizen and pass a background check and drug test.
Competitive candidates will have proficient programming skills using data analysis software (specifically, the R software environment for statistical computing). The successful candidate will have excellent written and personal communication skills, an ability to work with people, and experience with living and working in tropical or island ecosystems with little direct supervision.
This will be a 13-month appointment, to be renewed annually based on availability of external funding. The anticipated funding will allow extension of this appointment to 18 months. Further extensions will be contingent upon receipt of additional cooperator funding.
Pre-applicants will be directly notified when the formal opportunity is posted. Please provide a cover letter and resume, by September 30, 2018, to:
Shane R. Siers (firstname.lastname@example.org)
NWRC Hawai’i Field Station, PO Box 10880, Hilo, Hawaii 96721