Opportunities to the join the Sound Forest Lab! (where science for biodiverse and equitable forests is done)

Lab leader: Zuzana Burivalova (Assistant Professor)

In the newly established Sound Forest lab, we do ecology and conservation research for biodiverse and equitable Forests, with a focus on the tropical forests. The Sound Forest Lab is based at the University of Wisconsin Madison, in two departments: The Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, and The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

There are several ways in which you could join the Sound Forest lab, starting in the 2019/2020 academic year, or later (I will be reviewing applications on a rolling basis):

PhD Student

Seeking a highly motivated, independent PhD student who is ready to learn how to choose the right research question so that it helps conservation, how to carry out her/his/their own research project, and how to then make appropriate use of the results by communicating with conservation stakeholders. The accepted candidate will undertake scientific projects that fit closely within the lab’s agenda, as well as develop her/his/their own projects. I expect applicants to have 1) strong analytical, quantitative and programming skills (for example R or python), or deep interest to learn new techniques quickly; 2) excellent writing and communication skills; 3) experience with research or conservation projects (but note that having published is not necessary); 4) collaborative, inquisitive, open-minded approach to science and conservation.

Experience: Masters degree, or Bachelors degree plus at least a year of additional work experience, preferably in conservation, research, tech, or education. Applicants without a masters degree will have to initially enroll as a masters student, with the possibility to carry on towards a PhD.

Disciplines: The Sound Forest lab relies on many disciplines to solve difficult conservation issues, and so I welcome applicants from almost any disciplinary background, as long as they can demonstrate how their expertise can translate to conservation science. Especially encouraged are applicants from ecology, environmental sciences, conservation biology, computer science, data science, social science, behaviour psychology, geography, physics, engineering, science communications.

Whereas the main goal for the PhD student will be to learn how to carry out innovative, important, useful, ethical, and feasible research, as a mentor, I also put emphasis on developing a broad range of skills necessary for a fulfilling career in conservation science and beyond.

Postdoctoral researcher

Seeking a postdoctoral researcher to collaborate on and develop new analyses of tropical forest soundscape data from Southeast Asia and beyond. The focus is on being able to use soundscape data for on-the-ground conservation purposes, and understanding natural variation in soundscapes over time and space. Much data has been already collected, and more data collection is ongoing, so this is an excellent opportunity to carry out an important and impactful conservation project in a limited time of a postdoctoral position (1-2 years), with the possibility to carry out additional fieldwork. The successful candidate will have expertise in several of these areas: analyzing and management of large datasets, bioacoustics, machines learning, Artificial Intelligence, computer science, sound analysis, ecology, (sound) engineering, conservation, ecology. Beyond leading exciting and collaborative projects, the postdoctoral researcher will be expected to and supported in developing complimentary skills to those acquired during the PhD, to gain a competitive edge in pursuing a fulfilling career beyond this position.

The Sound Forest research agenda:

  1. Borneo and Gabon Bioacoustic Projects – Understanding the natural variation in soundscapes over space and time, and under anthropogenic influence in Southeast Asia (Borneo) and the Congo basin (Gabon).
  2. Soundscape tool for biodiversity monitoring in certified forests – Developing a simple tool to measure how well individual certified forest concessions are doing in terms of biodiversity conservation.
  3. Conservation Effectiveness Project – Making sense of the scientific evidence on how well different conservation strategies work and transforming the wall between conservation science and practice.

See https://burivalova.wordpress.com/ for examples of projects.

To apply, email burivalova@wisc.edu

Note that applies to all positions: Everybody is encouraged to apply. Conservation science needs people from all countries, backgrounds, genders, and life experiences!