Job no: 502146 Position type: Full-Time 12-Month Department: 080300 - FWRC-Wildlife,Fisheries&Aquaculture Location: Main Campus - Starkville, MS Categories: Professional Position Open Date: Mar 18 2021
The successful candidate will be responsible for developing guidelines and estimating wildlife monitoring bias of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS). Mississippi State University (MSU) is seeking a Research Associate to join a research team investigating applications of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) in airport environments. Specifically, the MSU research team is developing standard processes and procedures for wildlife monitoring, assessing sampling bias, and evaluating computer vision applications in close collaboration with USDA Wildlife Services - National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and USDA Wildlife Services - Airport Wildlife Hazards Program. Candidates interested in developing UAS technologies for wildlife and other natural resource monitoring are encouraged to apply. The successful candidate will work closely with aforementioned personnel to 1) develop selection criteria of available equipment including sUAS platforms and sensors for on- and near-airport environments, wildlife species of interest, and survey conditions; 2) design and conduct controlled experiments to evaluate estimator bias among survey platforms, survey conditions, and wildlife species; and, 3) develop monitoring procedures for accurate assessment of wildlife hazards on common airport landcovers. For reference, the MSU research team is comprised of Dr. Ray Iglay (lead PI), Dr. Kristine Evans (co-PI), and Dr. Jared Elmore (postdoc) of the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture (WFA) in addition to Dr. Sathish Samiappan (co-PI) and Mr. Meilun Zhou (research associate) of the Geosystems Research Institute (GRI).
Mississippi State University is a top-ranked research institution and the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture (WFA) has a strong applied focus in wildlife conservation and management. The 35-member faculty within the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture leads one of the most productive research programs in the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University. The department is well-known for its highly collegial and interdisciplinary faculty, post-doctoral fellows, research and extension associates that help make the department one of the premier institutions for applied wildlife and fisheries science in the nation. As one of the fastest growing undergraduate programs in the region, our 300 undergraduate students concentrate in wildlife agriculture science, human-wildlife interactions, conservation biology, wildlife veterinary medicine, conservation law enforcement, and wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture science. The department also houses 60 graduate students across a variety of programs. For additional information see extension.msstate.edu/natural-resources/wildlife and www.cfr.msstate.edu/wildlife
Area of Specialization:
Drone (sUAS) Applications for Wildlife Monitoring & Hazard Mitigation
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
Primary duties will include investigating the above objectives, assisting with associated literature reviews, data management and analysis, development of data management and processing guidelines for end users, and effectively communicating and collaborating with a diverse team of stakeholders and interest groups. Secondary duties may include, but are not limited to, preprocessing imagery using commercially available photogrammetry tools, developing image processing algorithms, informing strike risk model development, leading additional research efforts related to FAA and USDA interests, interacting with civil and military personnel, including but not limited to airport wildlife biologists and military BASH team members, presenting results at scientific and non-scientific meetings, and developing peer-reviewed manuscripts. In summary, early-career researchers interested in advancing the current use of sUAS for wildlife monitoring and directly informing sUAS-associated policy are encouraged to apply. The incumbent will also be expected to obtain their part 107 license and fly sUAS to collect imagery and run experiments. The level of appointment and/or rank and salary will be commensurate with the individual's qualifications, background and experience.
B.S. with 3 years of relevant experience in wildlife science, ecology, wildlife damage management, natural resource management, conservation biology
M.S. or Ph.D. in wildlife science, ecology, wildlife damage management, natural resource management, conservation biology or combination of at least one degree in an above discipline or similar discipline and a degree in a technology-related field.
Experience with sUAS, GIS, sampling and survey design, aeroecology, wildlife damage management, and/or large data processing, preferably regarding wildlife or other natural resource monitoring.
Demonstrated abilities in designing and managing field research projects, managing and analyzing data, creative thinking, publication development, and/or effective communication among multiple stakeholder groups are preferred.
Preference will also be given to candidates with a background in wildlife damage management (i.e., human-wildlife conflict mitigation) or thorough knowledge thereof, demonstrated data management abilities among multiple software and coding language platforms including image processing, and demonstrated success working closely with government and non-government stakeholders on applied questions in wildlife conservation or wildlife monitoring technology development.
Applicants should be self-motivated, fit well in a multidisciplinary team environment, exhibit excellent oral and written communication skills, and demonstrate the ability to publish in the peer-reviewed literature.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
Knowledge of and demonstrated skills in wildlife research, monitoring and damage management techniques and technologies, some of which are listed above and demonstrated ability to multi-task among competing priorities.
Working Conditions and Physical Effort
Ability to perform routine office duties and field work conditions, interact with fellow researchers and stakeholders, participate in call or web conferences, and a willingness to travel out of state to meet with project collaborators or present results at meetings.
Interested applicants must apply online at www.jobs.msstate.edu by submitting a cover letter, vitae, statement of research interests, copy of your transcripts, and the complete contact information for three references. Applicant should redact their social security number if it appears on their academic transcript prior to submitting it online. For additional information, please e-mail Dr. Ray Iglay at email@example.com (Subject: "UAS RA") or call 662-325-5933 and leave a detailed message.
Position is contingent upon funding availability.
Equal Employment Opportunity Statement:
MSU is an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, ethnicity, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, pregnancy, gender identity, status as a U.S. veteran, and/or any other status protected by applicable law. We always welcome nominations and applications from women, members of any minority group, and others who share our passion for building a diverse community that reflects the diversity in our student population.
Internal Number: 502146
About Mississippi State University
Mississippi State University represents the highest level of research activity for doctorate-granting institutions and is designated by the Carnegie Foundation as an R1-Very High Research Activity University. Also, a National Science Foundation “Top 100” research University, MSU shelters a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honor society, and values the talents of our distinguished faculty, staff, and student scholars. Here, a culture of inclusion is fostered and we’re driven each day to make a difference at the local, state, regional, national and global levels. At Mississippi State University we invite you to join us as we continue our momentum in research, teaching, and service.
To apply, please go to http://explore.msujobs.msstate.edu/