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Research Associate position available, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Subject: Research Associate position available, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
From: "Liz D. Rowland" <>
Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2019 16:46:00 +0000

POSITION:          Research Associate, Animal Communication Specialist / Behavioral Ecologist



LOCATION:         Cornell Lab of Ornithology

                Johnson Center for Birds & Biodiversity Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850


The Bioacoustics Research Program (BRP), within the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (Lab), collects and interprets sounds in nature by developing and applying innovative technologies across ecologically relevant scales to inspire and inform conservation of wildlife and habitats. In addition to conducting basic and applied research, BRP provides training and mentorship to students and researchers from around the world.

The Animal Communication Specialist (ACS) will join the Lab academic community and work collaboratively to establish, contribute to, and implement the scientific and educational vision of BRP, and develop, conduct, and lead original research in the fields of animal communication and passive acoustic monitoring (PAM), with a focus on the study and conservation of African forest elephants.

The ACS will assist the director of the Elephant Listening Project (ELP) and collaborate with the ELP team to execute and expand ongoing research and education initiatives and develop new directions of study and applied conservation, as well as collaborate with and advise scientists and research analysts in the analysis and interpretation of very large data sets, including development of innovative approaches to the analysis of acoustic data. Research activities will include detailed study of the communication system of African forest elephants, design, implementation, and development of PAM initiatives at the landscape scale, and the integration of these focus areas. Keep supervisor updated on ongoing progress and future directions

The ACS will serve as Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI) of sponsored projects; monitor and report sponsored project status on a regular basis to the ELP director, Assistant Director for BRP, and Lab Administration. Work collaboratively with other PIs within and external to the Lab to identify, seek, and secure funding to support BRP’s vision and strategic goals. Collaborate with BRP staff and external scientists on publishing methods and research in technical reports and peer-reviewed journals. Represent BRP and the Lab by attending and presenting at conferences, seminars, workshops, and meetings.


Lead and direct innovative research, including the analysis of new and archived acoustic data from Central Africa obtained as part of independent research initiatives. Develop a forward-looking research program for ELP in the Dzanga-Sangha protected area of the Central African Republic, including education initiatives focused on nationals from C.A.R, Congo, Cameroon, and Gabon. Collaborate with the ELP acoustic team in northern Congo to expand and enhance the landscape-scale acoustic monitoring grid with the goal of establishing a long-term study and testing arena for PAM. (55%)

Publish original research in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Represent BRP and the Lab by attending and presenting at scientific conferences, seminars, workshops, and professional meetings. Develop white papers and technical reports for research opportunities that support the mission and research goals of BRP. Write or contribute to the writing of technical reports or other deliverables for grants. (15%)

Independently identify, seek, and secure funding sources that align with and support ELP’s research goals. Collaborate with other PIs or Co-PIs on the development of potential funding sources that support the mission of BRP and the Lab. Serve as PI or Co-PI on sponsored research projects that support BRP’s scientific

mission and strategic priorities. Write or contribute to the writing of grant proposals for new funding opportunities that support ELP’s scientific and conservation goals. In collaboration with BRP’s Program Manager ensure that project deliverables such as status reports, technical reports and data products for grants are submitted as required by the sponsor. (15%)

Assist the ELP director in managing research staff and student interns, including establishing analysis priorities, designing protocols, and instructing on analysis methods. Contribute ideas for evolution of the main ELP website, social media outreach. Assist and/or assume responsibility for mentoring independent research by select undergraduate students. (10%)

Communicate BRP’s vision, goals and research objectives to BRP staff and ensure that research and development supports these objectives. In collaboration with BRP’s leadership council, help define the vision of BRP’s research goals. This includes recommendations on how to refine and adapt the scope of acoustic data acquired from the earth’s ecosystems in ways that maximize their value for biodiversity conservation, and contributing to how data can be analyzed, interpreted and disseminated to the scientific as well as the lay community to best achieve BRP’s statement of purpose and strategic goals. Encourage and facilitate cross- programmatic collaboration. Establish and maintain a safe, productive, and respectful working environment that fosters a culture of inclusiveness, teamwork and high quality research and development results. (5%)


PhD in behavioral ecology and animal communication. At least 3 years of postdoctoral experience. At least 5 years of experience in the study and interpretation of animal acoustic communication systems, including the mapping of these systems on animal’s broader behavioral ecology and evolution. Proven experience in the design and implementation of behavioral ecological field studies in Central Africa, including passive acoustic monitoring. At least a working ability to communicate and conduct research in French. Excellent oral and written communication skills. Must enhance the performance of a team through productive collaboration.

Must have a record of repeated success in conducting research and managing projects with both short-term and long-term goals. Demonstrated record of scientific publications. Must have a record of successfully reporting and meeting schedules and milestones of multi-facetted field research projects that involve multiple stages and multiple collaborators.


Demonstrated track record of obtaining extramural funding. Fluency in the French language and a workable ability with the Lingala and/or Sango dialects. Knowledge of elephant behavior and acoustic communication. Competence in the use of signal processing tools in the R programming language.



SALARY:         Commensurate with experience

SUPERVISION: Peter Wrege, Bioacoustics Research Program Director

SUPERVISION EXERCISED: ELP research assistants and analysts

APPLICATIONS: (closing date 2 December 2019)


Diversity and inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. We’re an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and individuals with Disabilities.


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