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SFI Gull PhD

Project Description

Fully funded PhD position at University College Dublin on the movement ecology and media portrayal of urban gulls.

Human-wildlife conflict in urban environments highlights the intractable tension between our desire for a sheltered life and our commitment to animal conservation. The case of roof-nesting herring gulls Larus argentatus epitomizes this tension. This project sets out a plan to uncover information on the movement ecology of gulls in Dublin City in Ireland. By using GPS tracking technology in collaboration you will:

1) reveal the hotspots of gull activity in and around Dublin.

2) identify differences in movement ecology between urban-nesting birds and island-nesting birds.

3) parametrise a spatial model which will simulate foraging distributions under different scenarios of population growth and waste disposal in Dublin. You will be joined by a postdoctoral researcher in year three who will aid in model development.

4) investigate the social side of the issue by analysing how the media portray urban gulls. We will use this information to develop an outreach campaign of our own that combats biased reporting, addresses public concerns and showcases our own research.

You will be supervised by Dr Adam Kane (UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science) and Dr Barry McMahon (UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science). If you have any queries about the project you are welcome to email adam.kane@ucd.ie Requirements: • You should have a BSc degree (at least a 2.1 or equivalent) in a relevant biological field (e.g. zoology, ecology, conservation biology or environmental science).

  • You will need to have an excellent command of the English language. • Experience working with quantitative data.
  • Field skills. Desirable: • An MSc in a related field.
  • Bird ringing or handling experience especially with birds.
  • Familiarity with licensing for ringing/ tagging studies.
  • Familiarity with agent-based modelling. • Experience with the programming language R. • Experience working with qualitative data. • Experience working in conservation or on human-wildlife conflict. To apply: please send your cover letter (max 1 page) describing your interest in the project, your CV and the contact details of two referees to adam.kane@ucd.ie

Closing date for applications: 10th October 2021

Start date: 1st December 2021 Further Reading:

  • Dickman, A. J. (2010). Complexities of conflict: the importance of considering social factors for effectively resolving human–wildlife conflict. Animal conservation, 13(5), 458-466.
  • Redpath, S. M., Young, J., Evely, A., Adams, W. M., Sutherland, W. J., Whitehouse, A., ... & Gutierrez, R. J. (2013). Understanding and managing conservation conflicts. Trends in ecology & evolution, 28(2), 100-109.
  • Spelt, A., Williamson, C., Shamoun-Baranes, J. et al. (2019). Habitat use of urban-nesting lesser black-backed gulls during the breeding season. Sci Rep 9, 10527.

Funding Notes

Funding Notes: A tax-free stipend of €18,500 per annum (plus EU fees) for up to a maximum of 4 years. Consumables and training/conference travel budget is also included. Please note that while we are happy to accept applicants from anywhere in the world, this project will only cover the fees up to the EU rate, therefore a successful non-EU applicant would have to fund the difference themselves. As part of this scholarship the successful applicant will be expected to demonstrate for the School. Details & rates here; View Website