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Postdoctoral research position - rail ecology (WV/VA)
Job Type: full-time permanent position
Location: West Virginia
Posting Date: 6 Jan 14
Closing Date: 31 Mar 14
Dr. James Anderson, jim.anderson*aT*mail.wvu.edu
Dr. Todd Katzner, todd.katzner*aT*mail.wvu.edu
Dr. Amy Welsh, amy.welsh*aT*mail.wvu.edu
Distribution, differentiation and hybridization of king and clapper rails in eastern Virginia. King Rails and Clapper Rails are in the Virginia Wildlife Action Plan and can be sympatric in areas of intermediate salinity in eastern Virginia. However, surveying for these species is challenging, as their calls are similar, they overlap in distribution, and because they can hybridize. Addressing conservation efforts toward the higher-priority king rail requires reliable information on its status, distribution, abundance and habitat use. This in turn requires a methodology to reliably identify the species in the field or through post-field analysis of the data collected. The overarching goal of this project is to develop and implement a mechanism to survey for, identify and estimate distribution and abundance of allopatric and sympatric breeding populations of king, clapper and hybrid rails in Virginia.
This project will address the problem of distinguishing between king and clapper rails by ear by drawing on links between acoustic monitoring, genetics, morphology and ecology. Rails will be captured in the field and genetic, morphometric and toxicology samples will be taken from all rails captured. Captured rails will also be used as a foundation for telemetry and acoustic monitoring studies. The specific goals of our project are to:
• Identify the distribution and abundance of king-clappers complex of species and hybrids.
• Characterize habitat associations at multiple spatial scales of each of these species and their hybrids.
• Develop acoustic and morphological mechanisms to identify king, clapper and hybrid rails.
• Evaluate genetic distinctness of each species and their hybrids.
• Evaluate contaminant loads (mercury and lead especially) and correlates of contaminant loads in rails in Virginia.
Position is open until filled. The tentative starting date is August 2014. Salary is competitive and depends on experience.
Contact Information:see posting
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