Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
PhD position in Biodiversity Monitoring using Camera Traps 80 %
Prof. Dr. Arpat Ozgul from the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies of the University of Zurich is offering a fully funded four-year PhD position at the University of Zurich, to work in a new project in biodiversity monitoring at the Kalahari Research Centre, South Africa. The Kalahari Research Center, known for its long-term, individual-based studies like the cooperative breeding meerkats, is expanding its scope to explore complex multi-species interactions and co-occurrence patterns using an extensive network of 150 camera traps arranged in a 1x1km grid. This project aims to investigate the biodiversity dynamics of the Kalahari ecosystem and how different species interact within this ecosystem.
The PhD student will play a key role in this project, focusing on analyzing the extensive data gathered from the camera traps. Their research will be vital in advancing our knowledge of multi-species interactions and biodiversity in the Kalahari, particularly in relation to different land use regimes and climate change. They will employ existing methods for analyzing abundance, co-occurrence, and habitat selection from camera trap data, while also exploring the potential development of new approaches using hierarchical modelling. Responsibilities:
Managing, sorting, and analyzing a vast amount of camera trap images.
Employing machine learning and AI tools for species identification and biodiversity analysis.
Developing and testing statistical methods for assessing species abundance, co-occurrence, and habitat selection based on camera trap data.
Applying GIS analysis to investigate spatial biodiversity patterns and land use impacts.
Taking a role in coordinating fieldwork, including data collection and logistics, to ensure the successful continuation of field activities.
MSc degree (or equivalent) in ecology, environmental science, data science, or a related field.
Experience in data management and handling large datasets.
Familiarity with / interest in machine learning and AI applications
Proficiency in GIS analysis in biological research.
Strong interest in biodiversity, conservation, and ecological research.
Solid quantitative skills and interest in Bayesian statistical analysis.
Ability to work both independently and collaboratively within a diverse team
What we offer
We offer varied and interesting work in an inspiring and socially relevant environment. Diversity and inclusion are important to us. We offer an academic degree in a dynamic research environment. The PhD student will be an active member of the Population Ecology Research Group at the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies of University of Zurich and have extended field visits to the Kalahari Research Centre. They will have ample opportunity to collaborate with an international network of ecologists and biostatisticians. The salary will be based on the guidelines of the University of Zurich.
Employment start date to be mutually agreed. Please submit your application by 19 February 2024. The screening of applicants will continue till the position is filled. Please send the following application material in a single pdf file:
Cover letter indicating your motivation for this research