Wildlife Conservation Society Canada
Location: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada or Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada

Position Title: Arctic Acoustics Post Doctoral Fellow

Location:Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, or Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
Term:2 years, with the option of a one-year extension depending on funding and performance
Salary: $65,000/year plus health benefits
Start date: 1 January 2024, depending on timing of Mitacs Elevate Fellowship
Closing date: Review beginning 18 October 2023, but remaining open until the right candidate is found.

Position Contact: William Halliday, whalliday@wcs.org

Position Summary
We are seeking a highly qualified candidate for a post doctoral fellowship to work on a project focused on the vocal behaviour of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) in the western Canadian Arctic, including an assessment of the impacts of underwater noise from vessel traffic on this species. The candidate will work closely with Dr. William Halliday and Dr. Stephen Insley with Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Canada (www.arcticnoise.ca) and Dr. Stan Dosso at the University of Victoria, and would be based in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, although candidates may also have the option to be based at Yukon University in Whitehorse, Yukon if interested. The fellowship will be for a two-year term to start, with the option for a one-year extension depending on funding and performance. This fellowship will focus on three main tasks: 1) bioacoustic analyses to build a call catalogue for bowhead whales; 2) assessing the exposure of bowhead whales to vessel noise based on passive acoustic data; and 3) examining the impacts of vessel noise on the vocalizations of bowhead whales. Beyond data analysis and writing scientific publications, the post doctoral fellow will be involved in fieldwork to collect passive acoustic data in the western Canadian Arctic, meetings with Inuvialuit community groups, grant management, and grant report writing.

The fellowship will be funded through a Mitacs Elevate Post Doctoral Fellowship (https://www.mitacs.ca/en/programs/elevate), with Dr. Dosso at the University of Victoria as the academic supervisor and WCS Canada as the partner organization. The selected candidate will be expected to apply for the Mitacs fellowship with assistance and guidance from the supervisors. The yearly salary will be $65,000/year and will include extended health benefits.

The successful candidate must be self motivated and be able to work independently, have a strong interest in marine conservation, have a strong background in bioacoustic analyses of passive acoustic monitoring data and statistical analyses or directly transferable skills, and would ideally also be skilled in measuring underwater noise and acoustic propagation modeling. The majority of time will be spent analyzing data and writing manuscripts, but may also include 2-4 weeks of field work per year in the Canadian Arctic to retrieve and deploy acoustic recorders. The following experience will also be considered an asset: working in remote locations; working out of a small boat; and working with or communicating research to Indigenous individuals and communities. The successful candidate must hold a PhD by the start date of this fellowship, should have a strong record of scholarly publications, and should meet eligibility criteria for the Mitacs Elevate fellowship. Interested candidates can apply at this link: https://wcscanada.bamboohr.com/careers/63

This application will remain open until the right candidate is found for the position, with review of applications starting 18 October 2023. Email William Halliday (whalliday@wcs.org) with any questions about the position or application process.

Position Objectives:

Build a classification system for bowhead whale vocalizations
Quantify the impacts of vessel noise on bowhead whale vocal behaviour
Help maintain WCS Canada’s passive acoustic monitoring network in the Canadian Arctic
Help to build and maintain relationships with Inuvialuit partners

Principal Responsibilities:

Conduct bioacoustics analyses of large passive acoustic monitoring datasets
Measure underwater noise from vessels in passive acoustic monitoring datasets
Statistical analyses
Writing manuscripts and reports
Giving presentations on results to Inuvialuit partners and at scientific conferences
Grant reporting and management
Field work to deploy and recover acoustic recorders in the Canadian Arctic
Support WCS Canada’s goal of transforming WCS Canada’s conservation practice through reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.
Contribute to creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace that promotes engagement and belonging.

Required Qualifications/Skills/Experience

PhD in biology, oceanography, or a related field with a strong computational/analytical background.
Experience with bioacoustic analyses of large passive acoustic monitoring datasets.
Statistical analyses of large datasets.
Strong record of scholarly publications.
Ability to work both independently and within a team on multiple projects concurrently.
Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail.
Excellent communication skills, both oral and written, and an ability to share complex science in way that connects with Indigenous people, the public, and decision-makers.
Strong problem-solving skills, detail oriented, and resourceful.
A passion for the conservation of nature and wildlife.

About WCS Canada

WCS Canada (www.wcscanada.org) was established as a Canadian conservation organization in July 2004. We are committed to championing accessibility, diversity, and equal opportunity. Our mission is to save wildlife and wild places by improving our understanding of and seeking solutions to critical problems that threaten key species and large wild ecosystems throughout Canada. We implement and support comprehensive field studies that gather information on wildlife needs and then seek to resolve key conservation problems by working with a broad array of actors. WCS Canada has a track record of our science being recognized as relevant, credible and legitimate by researchers, NGOs and agencies. WCS Canada is independently registered and managed, while retaining a strong collaborative working relationship with sister Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) programs in more than 60 countries.

Diversity and inclusion are core WCS Canada values. We value the diversity of the people we employ and work with and we strive to provide an inclusive and equitable workplace in which we recognize the unique characteristics, skills and experiences of all employees. We are committed to engaging our employees in our diversity, equity and inclusion work and together we aim to create a workplace where all staff feel they belong and can grow.

WCS Canada’s programs occur on the homelands of Indigenous Peoples whose relationships various governments are described in historic (numbered) Treaties, modern land claim agreements, and negotiations around unceded lands. We recognize and support the international ecological and social commitments and responsibilities to Indigenous Peoples that Canada has signed, including the Convention on Biological Diversity, Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Our commitment to engagement with Indigenous Peoples ranges from notification of research to the provision of scientific advice, to co-creation of research. We respect Indigenous knowledge systems and include this knowledge in our research and conservation programs where possible. We engage in land use planning and impact assessment processes that affect Indigenous Peoples, seeking ways to advance conservation as well as opportunities to sustain the livelihoods and cultures of Indigenous communities. We seek to motivate positive conservation outcomes by supporting effective governance and decision-making processes by Indigenous communities, particularly by supporting Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas.

WCS Canada is committed to contributing to the field of conservation science and the professional development of its employees. Employees are encouraged to participate in professional societies and present their research at conferences and meetings, as well as participate in relevant workshops and training opportunities. Employees are likewise encouraged to mentor graduate students, participate in relevant graduate student committees, and pursue adjunct status with universities as appropriate.



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