Job Ad: Post-Doctorate Position in Modeling Breeding Bird Abundances to inform Large-scale Conservation

By Nick Anich May 6, 2021
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea

We’re recruiting a post-doctorate researcher to help us analyze atlas data and make distribution maps.

Please help us spread the word to suitable candidates!

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Breeding bird atlases are a widely used monitoring tool for identifying
conservation areas and studying the impact of habitat loss and climate change on species distributions.
The Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II was conducted between 2015-2019 with the goal of determining
the current distribution and abundance of the breeding birds in Wisconsin. As part of this effort, an
innovative point count secondary sampling scheme was deployed to obtain rigorous estimates of
population size and generate spatially explicit models of bird abundance across the state; the sampling
program resulted in 16,542 locations and 380,567 bird observations across four years of field work. We
are seeking a post-doctoral associate to 1) develop spatially explicit models of abundance and statewide
population-size estimates for multiple bird species, 2) develop recommendations for future sampling,
and 3) evaluate the optimality of conservation lands for individual species and identify those species
that are well represented in the current network of conservation lands. The successful candidate will be
expected to meet regularly with atlas coordinators, develop manuscripts for peer-review, and
collaborate with state researchers and managers. This project will be supported in the in the
Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology and under the supervision of Dr. Benjamin Zuckerberg

REQUIREMENTS: Minimum requirements include: 1) a Ph.D. in ecology, conservation biology,
biostatistics, or related field; 2) knowledge of principles and methods of bird population dynamics and
distributions; 3) demonstrated proficiency in R statistical programming and ArcGIS; 4) demonstrated
desire and proficiency to publish in scientific journals; 5) ability to communicate (oral and in print)
research findings to multiple audiences. The successful candidate should have excellent written and
personal communication skills and be able to work collaboratively in a group setting. Preferred skills
include experience designing or working with broad-scale monitoring data, managing spatial
environmental data, and skills in species distribution modeling and/or abundance estimation.

UNIVERSITY: The University of Wisconsin-Madison is one of the major research universities in the United
States. UW-Madison has a long history of excellence in ecology, conservation biology, zoology, and
remote sensing science. Madison, Wisconsin consistently ranks as one of the best places in the United
States to live, work, and study ( It is Wisconsin’s capital city,
with a vibrant population of approximately 240,000 that combines small town charm with a nice variety
of leisure and cultural opportunities.

SALARY AND CONDITIONS: The duration of the appointment is 24 months, and the position can start as
soon as July 1, 2021, but start date is negotiable. The salary is $50,000 per year plus benefits.
Reimbursement for relocation expenses is not available.

APPLICATION/CONTACT INFORMATION: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and will begin
immediately. Applications received before June 01, 2021 will be given full consideration. Candidates
should send a well-crafted cover letter summarizing their research interests and reason for applying, CV,
and contact information for three references. All applications (e-mailed as a single PDF file) should be
sent to with the subject heading “PostDoc Application – Atlas”.