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Employment Opportunities


Research coordinator position on conservation, ecology, and physiology of wild bats in Canada:

The Evo-Eco-Energetics research group (principle investigator: Dr. Jeffrey Lane; www.lanelab.ca) in the Department of Biology at the University of Saskatchewan is recruiting a full-time technician to support a province-wide research and monitoring project. The successful candidate will also work closely with co-investigators (Erin Swerdfeger and Dr. Iga Stasiak) in the Ministry of Environment (Saskatchewan)). The overall purpose is to coordinate fieldwork, data management, and partner engagement on a conservation project of endangered bats (little brown Myotis and northern Myotis) in Saskatchewan. The initial appointment is for 12 months with a strong possibility of extension, given satisfactory performance.

Nature of Work: The individual in this position will be responsible for coordinating a large-scale field-based project on endangered bats in Saskatchewan. Coordination with collaborators and partners will enable province-wide searches for critical and important habitat for endangered bat species in the province. Additional responsibilities for this role will be varied and include (but not be limited to): site visits to potential hibernacula in the province; land-owner meetings; communication and collaboration with partners (including government and not-for-profit agencies); interviewing, training and overseeing temporary field technicians; and associated administrative duties (e.g., financial record keeping, preparation of permits and reports). Fieldwork will include mist-netting for bats, deployment of acoustic detectors, and blood and insect sampling (to quantify pesticide exposure), as well as transport, maintenance, and oversight of the use of a mobile field energetic physiology lab. The lab is housed within a 30’ trailer and contains portable respirometry equipment (to measure metabolic rates) and quantitative magnetic resonance technology (to measure body composition). It will be used to measure these parameters in captured bats. During the field season, atypical work hours can be expected (e.g., mist-netting for bats at night and radio-tracking, acoustic detector deployment, and insect sample collection during the day).
Typical Duties or Accountabilities:

• Passive acoustic monitoring for bats – including: site selection and deployment of detectors, coordination with partners and land-owners in deployment, manual vetting and analysis of acoustic data and acoustic database management.

• Fieldwork (and coordination of same) on bats – including: scheduling for field crews, planning accommodations and other logistics, mist-netting, handling of live bats, deployment of the mobile laboratory, hiring, training and supervision of temporary field technicians, blood sampling, body composition analysis.

• Partner/collaborator/land-owner coordination – including: telephone, video-conferencing, email and in-person communication on logistic (e.g., seeking land-owner permission for detector deployment and mist-netting) and programmatic aspects of the study (e.g., site selection to meet project objectives).

• Administration – including: coordinating with graduate students on field research needs, report writing, submission of project reports, assistance with grant applications.

• Public/scientific communication – including: presentations to partner groups and scientific audiences, write-ups of project results for land-owners, collaborators, and the public.

• Encouraging, and participating in, a safe and respectful work environment.

Education: Candidates must have completed an undergraduate degree (graduate degree is preferred) in ecology, conservation biology, wildlife science or a related field. Evidence of previous field and project coordination experience is required.

Licenses: A valid driver’s license and good driving record is necessary, and experience with pulling trailers is an asset. An active (or willingness to acquire) first aid certification is necessary. Wilderness first aid certification is an asset. Candidates will also need to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 (prior to starting the position), as well as rabies and tetanus (prior to handling bats).

Experience: Evidence of previous relevant field and project coordination experience is required. Bat research is unique (e.g., nocturnal mist-netting, species ID and bat call analysis). Evidence of applicable experience is thus highly preferred.

Skills: Applicants must be able to work independently and to support members of a team. Excellent written and oral communication skills are required. Much of the work will be field-based and the successful candidate will thus have both the flexibility and proficiency to spend extended periods in the field. Work with the mobile lab requires the ability to tow a large (30’) trailer. Evidence of previous towing experience is an asset. Maturity, good coordination, organization and ingenuity are requirements. Skills in mist-netting, bat call vetting and analysis and species identification are considered highly desirable.

Salary: $17.64 – $23.86 per hour. The starting salary will be commensurate with education and experience.

Application Procedure: Please submit a CV, cover letter, and contact information for three references to Dr. Jeffrey Lane (Jeffrey.lane@usask.ca). Review of applications will commence on February 1, 2023 and continue until the position is filled. For full consideration, please submit application materials asap.

Thank you in advance for your interest in this position, however, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

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Graduate position(s) on conservation, ecology, and physiology of wild bats in Canada.

We are currently advertising up to three graduate student openings in the Department of Biology, at the University of Saskatchewan. Start dates of May or September, 2023 are possible. There is also the potential to be a part of one of the field research teams in the summer of 2023, prior to formally enrolling in the graduate program. Full stipends ($25,000k CAD/yr for 4 years (Ph.D.) or 2.5 years (M.Sc.)) are guaranteed for the first two positions, but the successful students will be expected to apply for stipend supports for which they may be eligible (e.g., NSERC post-graduate scholarships for Canadian citizens). Stipend support is not currently secured for the third position, but applicants with competitive applications will be put forward for internal support (e.g., TAships). Proposed suitability of each project for either a Ph.D. student or a M.Sc. student is indicated, but there is flexibility in expanding or narrowing each project to tailor to either degree program.

Project 1 (Ph.D.): Conservation biology of endangered bats on the prairies.

In 2022, the presence of white-nose syndrome (WNS) was confirmed in Saskatchewan. The catastrophic population declines of bats affected by WNS have led to three species in Canada being emergency listed as endangered (two of which are found in Saskatchewan). As WNS spreads across the prairies, conservation efforts for bat populations are likely to encounter new challenges. Agricultural intensification and landscape simplification can affect both the food resources (insects) and habitat quality (e.g., maternity roost sites) for bats. Pesticide exposure is also a looming threat, and has had well documented detrimental effects in ecologically similar birds (i.e., aerial insectivores). Our understanding of the ecology of bats in prairie landscapes also lags behind that for forested environments, making mitigation of these effects even more challenging. This project will directly address these challenges and research needs. Specifically, we are interested in meeting three core objectives:

1. Determine how agricultural intensification in the northern Great Plains affects foraging activity by, and body condition of, little brown bats; identify landscape features most likely to benefit bats through habitat enhancements and conservation initiatives. 

2. Determine how variation in pesticide exposure influences body fat dynamics of little brown bats.

3. Evaluate the influence of post-hibernation body condition on the likelihood of reproduction in female little brown bats, and whether habitat augmentation can ameliorate the predicted detrimental consequences for poor-condition survivors.

This student will be co-supervised by Drs. Christy Morrissey (https://christymorrissey.driftchamber.com/) and Jeffrey Lane (www.lanelab.ca), and be an active participant in both wildlife biology research labs.

Project 2 (Ph.D.): Habitat selection by endangered bats on the prairies.

A further limitation in conserving and managing endangered bats on the prairies is our current lack of knowledge regarding critical (hibernacula) and important (maternity roost sites) habitat. In this project, the student will employ a suite of approaches (e.g., acoustic monitoring, radiotelemetry, and public engagement) to locate these habitats used by bats, and identify their habitat correlates/predictors (both natural and human-made). This project is best suited towards a student who has some expertise and interest in using GIS software (e.g., ArcGIS) and will overlap with the above project, both in field logistics and shared objectives. This student will work closely with colleagues in the Ministry of Environment, Saskatchewan (Dr. Iga Stasiak and Ms. Erin Swerdfeger) on this collaborative project.

Project 3 (M.Sc. or Ph.D.): Ecological energetics and roosting ecology of endangered boreal bats.

Bats are famous for their nocturnal habits, but populations at high latitudes receive little darkness during the peak of the summer, when energetic demands are high for reproductive females. How bats adjust their energetic physiology under these conditions is little known. For example, does their use of torpor (i.e., short term drops in body temperature and metabolic rate) differ under these conditions? How do extended hours of daylight influence circadian patterns in their metabolism? Additional focus may be given to examining aspects of their roosting behaviour that support the conservation of roosting habitat (i.e., roost switching). In this project, the student will work closely with Thomas Jung (Government of Yukon/University of Alberta) to investigate these questions in populations of endangered little brown bats across southern and central Yukon.

To support these projects, the students will have access to dedicated research infrastructure, including (as is necessary for each project): a mobile laboratory trailer (housing a quantitative magnetic resonance body composition analyzer and other energetic physiology equipment), autonomous bat detectors, necessary field equipment (e.g., mist nets, harp traps, radio tags and telemetry equipment, and handling equipment) and lab equipment/access for pesticide analyses. Preliminary acoustic data from Saskatchewan is also available from the previous three years, and bat banding data from the Yukon maternity roosts spans up to 20 years.

The successful applicants will have performed well during a degree in a relevant discipline (e.g., ecology, conservation biology, environmental science). Receiving internal support (scholarship or TAship requires a GPA > 80 % (converted to the UofS’ 1-100% scale)) over the past two years of schooling. Students who do not meet this threshold, but otherwise have a competitive application are still encouraged to apply. A passion for fieldwork, bats and wildlife conservation, as well as excellent scientific communication skills (both written and oral) and statistical proficiency (or a willingness to gain it) is necessary. Evidence of scientific productivity (manuscripts published or in preparation, conference attendance and presentations) is considered an asset, especially for students wishing to enroll in the Ph.D. program. This position is open to both Canadian and international students (although international students do pay a higher cost of tuition at the U of S). We believe equity, diversity, and inclusion strengthen the community and enhance excellence, innovation and creativity. We, therefore, encourage members of the underrepresented groups in STEM (e.g., women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible minorities, and diverse sexual orientation and gender identities) to apply.

If you are interested in applying, please submit a cv (including names and contact details of references), a short (< 1 pg) description of research interests and a copy of your transcripts to (unofficial or official) to Jeffrey.lane@usask.ca. Applications will be evaluated as they’re received. To ensure full consideration of your application, therefore, please submit ASAP. Any questions can also be directed to the same email address.

Thank you in advance for your interest in this position, however, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.



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Bats and Agriculture

Bats and Agriculture: Bats are vital to agriculture around the world, saving farmers millions of dollars, and cutting down the amount of toxic pesticides and fertilizers used to protect crops and increase yields. Read more…

Safe Alternatives to Round Up and similar toxic pesticides for your Bat Friendly Garden:

Bat Links:

E-Fauna BC: Detailed, scientific information about BC Bats.

E-Fauna BC: Detailed, scientific information about BC Bats.

Videos:

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Life of a Greater Horseshoe Bat (48 minutes). Beautiful French documentary about life for a Horseshoe Bat colony by the Camargue in southern France. Subtitles available.

Greater Horseshoe Bats in HD Thermal Infrared (9 minutes). Wonderful thermal imaging of a colony inside and outside a historic roost in the UK. See bats flying through the forest in infrared!

Dave’s Gabriola Bat Box (5 mins) Bats emerging from a rocket box at dusk on Gabriola Island.

Bats and Bridges: (1 hour:14 minutes) Webinar on using guano sampling for species inventories and Pd (White Nose Syndrome) surveillance.

Meet the Bats of BC with Dr.Cori Lausen: (Length 1hour: 52minutes) Everything you always wanted to know, and more about the Bats of BC, as part of the Wetlands Institute Speaker Series 2021.

White Nose Syndrome WNS: (Length 5.5 minutes) A team of US scientists explores a cave hibernacula to determine if WNS has affected the bats there. In a controlled study, they have treated a number of the inhabitants with a medication which they hope will prevent or discourage the spread of the disease.

The Goldilocks Approach to Bat Houses: (Length 15 minutes: 35 seconds), Join Dr. Cori Lausen as she outlines the need and best practices and tips for successful bat house locations.

Roosts for Tomorrow – Putting Bat Boxes into Context: (length 1 hour) A detailed exploration of Why, When Where and how we can and must mitigate habitat loss with Dr. Cori Lausen.

Bat Song for Kids: Animated, cute song all about bats.

Bat Video – Thanks to Alberta Bats https://www.youtube.com/c/AlbertaBats/videos

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BEEPS Bat Blast – Newsletters:

2021 Bat Blast Newsletters
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