Postdoctoral researcher in aeroecology of avian migration

Faculty of Science – Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

Publication date
19 December 2018
Level of education
Salary indication
€2,640 to €4,166 gross per month
Closing date
20 January 2019
38 hours per week
Vacancy number

A Postdoctoral researcher position is available with Dr Judy Shamoun-Baranes, leading animal movement ecology research in the Department of Theoretical and Computational Ecology within the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) at the University of Amsterdam. IBED is one of the eight research institutes within the Faculty of Science. Its goal is a better understanding of the dynamics of ecosystems at all relevant levels, from genes to climate change, using a truly multidisciplinary approach.

Project description

This postdoctoral position is part of research project 'Towards monitoring, understanding and forecasting Global Biomass flows of Aerial Migrations (GloBAM'. GloBAM is a BioDivERsa project with partners in Switzerland, Belgium, Finland, The Netherlands and the USA.

Migratory animals play significant roles in shaping ecosystems through a variety of transport and trophic effects that also represent services and disservices to human infrastructure, agriculture and welfare. Their aerial and terrestrial habitats have changed dramatically over the past decades and are expected to change further, particularly from rapid climate change, increased urbanization, wind energy installations, and habitat fragmentation. Within GloBAM, we aim at quantifying the biomass flows of aerial migrants from regional to continental scales in Europe and North America and over time-scales from days to years from weather radar data. We are particularly interested in identifying the drivers of movements and migrant abundances and will relate the timing and intensity of movements to a suite of atmospheric, climatic and landscape/habitat variables. For these external variables, we will use their past and present distributions but also develop scenarios of potential future changes and explore their implications for aerial migrants. Within GloBAM, there are four open postdoctoral positions, two of which at the Swiss Ornithological Institute Sempach, Switzerland, one at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and one at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, USA. For more information: see GloBAM.

Within GloBAM we offer a 30 month postdoc position focusing on drivers of spatio-temporal dynamics of avian migration over Europe. The aims of this subproject within GloBAM are to

  1. compile a 2 year bird migration dataset from approximately 70 weather radar in Europe in order to
  2. identify hot-spots of migration in 3D space and time,
  3. ompare the relative influence of current abiotic and biotic drivers of spatio-temporal dynamics of migration,
  4. model the influence of future scenarios of anthropogenic change on the spatio-temporal distribution of avian migration in Europe and
  5. contribute to synthesis among taxa and continents led by postdoc of work package 6. Data on avian migration will be extracted from operational weather radar in Europe and will require skills in working with very large datasets.

Furthermore the postdoctoral researcher will have to compile the necessary environmental data needed for analysis, for example, gridded meteorological data, land use data, wind energy installations, artificial light. This position will require coordination with existing postdoctoral fellows on this project, of which there will be an additional 5 team members; particular coordination will be required to synthesize information about biomass flows of birds and insects and across continents.


We are looking for you if you meet these criteria:

  • a PhD in Ecology, Evolution or related field. Excellent candidates with a PhD in earth science and a strong affinity for migration may be considered;
  • good computational, modelling and programming skills;
  • experience working with large ecological or environmental datasets;
  • excellent written and oral communication skills;
  • an interest in working on a collaborative and interdisciplinary project;
  • preferably experience with radar data.

Further information

For additional information, please contact:


The starting date of the position on offer is flexible. You may start between April 2019 and September 2019, though we prefer an early start. The appointment is full time, but part-time employment (0.8 fte minimum) is negotiable. Initially, you will be appointed on a temporary basis for one year. After a positive evaluation, extension to a maximum period of 30 months is intended. The full-time gross monthly salary will range from €2,640 to €4,166, depending on experience. The annual salary will be supplemented with 8 % holiday allowance and 8,3 % end-of-year bonus. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable, including a salary rise of 2,6 % starting 1 February 2019. 

Job application

The UvA is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. We value a spirit of enquiry and endurance, provide the space to keep asking questions and cherish a diverse atmosphere of curiosity and creativity.

Applications should include a motivation letter and CV, including a list of publications, description of research experience and interests and the names and contact addresses of two academic references. You may apply no later than 20 January 2019 using the link below. Please add vacancy number 18-782 in the subject field of your letter. 

Interviews are planned in early February. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Published by  University of Amsterdam