Saturday, December 19, 2009

Post doctoral position with the 'Rui Nabeiro' Biodiversity Chair

Post-doctoral research position announcement:

Ensemble forecasting of species distributions under climate change

Starting date: Early 2010 (starting date flexible)
Duration: 36 months
Stipend: EUR 1495-2245 per month plus social security. The stipend value is free from taxation. The upper value is due when the research fellow is doing research abroad.
Other subsidies: EUR 750 per year to participate in scientific meetings and conferences, EUR 1000 for installation, EUR 300-600 for inbound and outbound travelling.

Over the past 100 years, Earth’s climate has become warmer and precipitation regimes have changed. Can we predict the effects of these changes on the distributions of species? Bioclimate models estimate relationships between the distributions of species and climate. However, models are based on some problematic assumptions and studies have shown that projections by alternative models can be so variable as to compromise the simplest assessment of whether species distributions should be expected to contract or expand for any given scenario. Can uncertainty from bioclimate models be reduced? In this research project, approaches to improve existing statistical tools for forecasting effects of global environmental changes on biodiversity will be explored. In particular, alternative approaches to explicitly handle model uncertainties within an ensemble forecasting framework will be investigated.

Key papers for the project
• Araújo, M.B. & New, M. 2007. Ensemble forecasting of species distributions. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 22: 42-47
• Araújo, M.B. & Guisan, A. 2006. Five (or so) challenges for species distribution modelling. Journal of Biogeography 33: 1677-1688
• Araújo, M.B. & Rahbek, C. 2006. How does climate change affect biodiversity? Science 313: 1396-1397
• Araújo, M.B., Pearson, R.G., Thuiller, W., & Erhard, M. 2005. Validation of species-climate impact models under climate change. Global Change Biology 11: 1504-1513
• Araújo, M.B., Whittaker, R.J., Ladle, R.J. & Erhard, M. 2005. Reducing uncertainty in extinction risk from climate change. Global Ecology and Biogeography 14: 529-538
• Diniz-Filho, J.A., Bini, L.M., Rangel, T.F.L.B., Loyola, R.D., Hof, C., Nogués-Bravo, D. & Araújo, M.B. 2009. Partitioning and mapping uncertainties in ensembles of forecasts of species turnover under climate changes. Ecography 32: 897-906

Research environment:
The post doctoral research fellow will be associated with ‘Rui Nabeiro’ Biodiversity Chair at the University of Évora and the BIOCHANGE lab at the CSIC National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid. The project also involves collaboration with the Theoretical Ecology Group at the Federal University of Goiás in Brazil. The successful candidate will work jointly with Miguel B. Araújo, Alexandre Diniz-Filho, and Thiago Rangel. The post doctoral researcher will be mainly based in Évora, but he/she is also expected to conduct research with Theoretical Ecology Group in Brazil.

Required background and skills:
Two alternative profiles are acceptable for this post

Profile 1 – PhD in Statistics, Mathematics or Physics. Solid skills in modelling of environmental processes, particularly climate, and/or the statistical analysis of non-linear patterns; good programming skills are desirable.

Profile 2 - PhD in Biology, Ecology, or related fields. Solid background on species distributions modelling, numerical analysis of ecological data, and /or macroecology is required.

Language: English as a first or second language is required.

Publication record: Candidates are expected to have a good publication record in internationally refereed journals.

Application: Send your application by email (catedra-biodiversidade "at" uevora "dot" pt) before the 14th of February 2010. The application must include a cover letter (in English) explaining why you think you are an adequate candidate for the post, a short CV (please no more than 5 pages), external links to five of your most relevant papers, and the names and contacts of two academics that can provide a reference for you.

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