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  • Writer's pictureSara Kross

PhD position- Effects of birds in vineyards and arable farms (now filled)

Updated: Jan 9

We are recruiting for a PhD student to join the lab by March 2024.

Birds provide valuable pest-control services for farms, but sometimes cause significant damage to crops. These ‘net effects’ of birds are often linked to both on-farm and landscape-scale habitat management. In Aotearoa New Zealand, a lack of natural predators has resulted in what may be the highest bird damage pressure in the world, but we have little knowledge of the potential pest-control benefits from birds. Furthermore, the cost/benefit relationship for net services from birds may be more closely tied to habitat quality (i.e. native vs. exotic non-crop habitats) in Aotearoa than in other well-studied regions globally. This project will involve fieldwork in seed- and winegrape- producing regions of Canterbury and Marlborough to disentangle the relationships between habitat management and the net effects of birds.

We are seeking a curious, independent, and hardworking student with interests in avian ecology, community ecology and/or agroecology. Experience in practical field ecology, ecological data analysis using R, and knowledge of avian ecology would be an advantage. Additional skills that would be valuable, but not essential, include experience with GIS, DNA metabarcoding, movement ecology, and/or bird banding. You should also have a full driver’s license (or the ability to obtain one in NZ).

The student will work with Sara Kross, along with Simon Howard (Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research), and Claire Grose and Damian Martin (Plant and Food Research).

The successful student will join the 2024 cohort of the Food Transitions Joint Postgraduate School- an innovative partnership between 5 key food systems institutions in Aotearoa. Students in the programme receive additional mentorship, trainining, and are part of a vibrant community of scientists working on a variety of topics in food systems science. Visit to learn more about the programme.

More details about this specific PhD position are in the PDF below. This position is open until filled (up until 31 January 2024), but applications are encouraged by 20 October 2023 for full consideration.

PhD position_avian effects on farms
Download PDF • 7.29MB

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