Prospective Postdoctoral Research Position Studying Blanding’s Turtles – Concord, Massachusetts

Agency
Zoo New England
Location
Concord, Massachusetts
Job Category
Post Doctoral Appointments
Salary
$50,000/year
Start Date
03/01/2022
Last Date to Apply
03/01/2022
Website
https://www.zoonewengland.org/protect/here-in-new-england/turtle-conservation/
Description
Zoo New England has applied for grant funding to hire a postdoctoral researcher to assist us with on-going and new research on our Blanding’s turtle conservation program in Concord, Massachusetts. Though we do not yet know if we will be awarded the grant, due to the short time frame between the grant notification and project start, we are gathering interest from potential candidates who would like to be notified when the position is confirmed. Please see below about details on the position. If you are interested in submitting an application or being notified if the position is opened, please fill out the following form: https://forms.gle/4kepVxEtDc7M24w1A We will contact all prospective applicants by February, 2022. For any questions, please contact fieldconservation@zoonewengland.org Project Abstract: Turtles are renowned for their longevity, yet most die soon after hatching. In relatively undisturbed populations, high juvenile mortality is offset by high adult survival rates. Increasingly, however, many turtle populations globally are disappearing as the result of unsustainably low rates of juvenile survival, leaving dwindling populations dominated by senescent adults. In response, conservationists have increasingly turned to headstarting hatchlings as a means of boosting survival. Some recent publications show greatly enhanced rates of survival among headstarted turtles compared to non-headstarted turtles; however, the great majority of existing data on turtle headstarting programs, including our own, remains unpublished. We have worked to restore populations of rare turtle species in New England since 2003, using headstarting and habitat enhancement measures intended to increase young juvenile survival. Currently, we annually headstart >150 rare turtle hatchlings of four species in more than 30 schools. We monitor survival and growth post-release for a sample of the released turtles and have begun testing aspects of personality and stress hormone responses. We estimate that individual Blanding’s turtles entered into the headstarting program have at least a 30-fold increase in their odds of survival from egg to adulthood relative to published life table models. We propose to augment our existing data with an intensive effort to track the fates and welfare of two cohorts of headstarted Blanding’s turtles for their first years of life. Both during and after headstarting, we will regularly measure growth rates, relative “boldness”, and corticosterone levels. After release, we will also study movement patterns, habitat choice, and food preferences to model habitat suitability at a small scale. Although the subject species of the work proposed here is the Blanding’s turtles (IUCN “Endangered”), we will also apply, as we are able, the methods and procedures developed here to our current headstarting programs with wood, eastern box, and spotted turtles. Position Details Term: 2 years, starting in March/April 2022 Compensation: $50,000/year plus benefits Core Responsibilities Field work and radiotracking turtles in dense, shrubby swamps under adverse conditions, including inclement weather Extensive data analysis, writing and preparation of 2-3 manuscripts Minimum Qualifications PhD or equivalent doctoral degree in Ecology, Biology, or related field US citizen or permanent resident
Qualifications
Minimum Qualifications PhD or equivalent doctoral degree in Ecology, Biology, or related field US citizen or permanent resident
Contact Person
fieldconservation@zoonewengland.org
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