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Departmental Postdoc fellowship open for applications

Our department is once again seeking a PEEP fellow for this upcoming year – this is a competitive postdoctoral fellowship open to candidates whose research overlaps with at least two of the ecology and evolution faculty at the university. If you are interested in applying for this opportunity, please feel free to contact Justin in advance to discuss potential ideas. The full announcement is below:

The Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh invites applications for a 2-year Postdoctoral Fellowship in Ecology and Evolution, broadly defined (e.g., disease ecology, microbiome, behavioral ecology, species interactions, phylogenomics, population genetics, community and eco-evo dynamics). The goal of the EE Postdoctoral Fellowship is to broaden expertise and to stimulate synergistic interactions between faculty interested in the area of Ecology and Evolution.The successful candidate will be expected to conduct original independent research that bridges the interests of two or more faculty members in the Ecology and Evolution sections of Biological Sciences and to lead a graduate seminar in their area of expertise each year.

Qualified candidates are required to submit a single, coherent 2-year research proposal to be completed under the guidance of two or more members of the ecology and evolution faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences of the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences (https://www.biology.pitt.edu/research/ecology). The position does not include research funds so the extent of contributions from the faculty sponsors should be addressed in the proposal. We strongly encourage candidates to contact appropriate faculty sponsors before applying. Preference will be given to candidates with novel ideas, demonstrated research ability, and strong communication skills. Along with the research proposal, applications must include a CV, a short description of research accomplishments and a description of how your research, teaching or service demonstrates a commitment to diversity and inclusion. The applicant must arrange for two recommendation letters from non-UPitt faculty, and letters from the UPitt faculty sponsors to be emailed to the address below. The expected salary will be $48,000 per year with benefits. Application deadline is April 1, with position start date June-August 2019 (specific date negotiable).
Application materials should be emailed to: Dr. Tia-Lynn Ashman at: [email protected] The subject line should read “EE Post-doctoral application”.

2019-02-24T12:34:59+00:00February 24th, 2019|

Welcome Trieste!

We are happy to welcome Trieste Devlin as our new Field Assistant. Trieste has a B.S. in Robotics Engineering from UC Santa Cruz, and will be working on a variety of projects related to our acoustic recorder hardware development as well as to our field deployments.

2019-02-11T11:23:42+00:00February 11th, 2019|

AI for Earth Innovation Award

We are happy to announce that the Kitzes Lab has been awarded an AI for Earth Innovation award from Microsoft and National Geographic. Our proposal was one of 11 funded projects, which each receive financial support as well as Microsoft Azure credits for cloud computing work. This funding will specifically support our development of our open source acoustic classification software, OpenSoundscape, as well as our efforts to release 600 classifiers for North American bird species by the end of the year. Read more from National Geographic, Microsoft, and Pitt.

2018-12-22T20:21:57+00:00December 12th, 2018|

Kitzes awarded Mascaro Scholarship

We are happy to announce that Justin has been awarded a Faculty Scholarship from the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, He will use the award to support all of the lab’s projects, with a particular focus on the development of our acoustic recording hardware and classification methods. This work will be done in collaboration with members of our lab and students and faculty in the Swanson School of Engineering. Relatedly, Dr. Kitzes is also a member of the Sustainability Task Force as the Mascaro Center – see the Pitt Sustainability Plan for more information on this work.

2018-12-20T10:42:22+00:00November 7th, 2018|

Welcome Lauren!

Lauren Schricker is joining the lab this semester as our first grad student! She’ll be mostly running our large scale bird survey field projects, while also joining in many of our other lab interests. Like many of us around here, Lauren has a diverse and interdisciplinary academic background, with a B.S in Geology (Allegheny College) and a P.S.M. in Environmental Management and Sustainability (St. Edward’s University). You can read more about Lauren on her personal website. Welcome!

2018-10-17T15:05:22+00:00September 2nd, 2018|

Welcome, and thanks, undergrads

A very belated welcome, and simultaneously a thank you, to the undergrad researchers in our lab from this past spring and summer

  • Aaron Lauer (Pitt, Biological Sciences) assisted with a literature review on the species-area relationship
  • Madoc Smith (Pitt, Mathematical Biology) worked on a Raspberry Pi-based streaming audio recorder
  • Lydia Zimmerman (Pitt, Biological Sciences) has been helping us with our field deployments of audio recorders
  • Tanvi Merengenti (Carnegie Mellon) worked with us on our OpenSoundscape classification software, and several other projects
  • Jack Challiet (University of Chicago) helped us with annotation of our bird song recordings

Thanks to everyone, and good luck! (Except for Lydia, she’s still here…)

2018-10-17T14:55:59+00:00August 28th, 2018|

Welcome Tessa!

Tessa Rhinehart is joining the lab as our new Research Programmer. She’ll be working mainly on our bird call classification algorithms and software, and also helping out with our field surveys and other lab projects. Tessa comes to us via Swarthmore College, where she was an undergraduate Mathematics and Biology major – she also happens to be quite the birder. Welcome Tessa!

2018-03-16T16:25:53+00:00March 16th, 2018|

Research Programmer position available

The Kitzes Lab at the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Biological Sciences (http://kitzeslab.org) is seeking a Research Programmer to assist with research studying the spatial distributions of bird and bat species at landscape scales.

The Kitzes Lab is currently placing autonomous acoustic recorders throughout landscapes in western Pennsylvania to record ambient sounds. This data is then processed to identify the species present near each recorder and their relative activity levels, which we analyze to determine the factors that influence where organisms are found and why.

We are seeking an experienced data analyst and programmer to support the development of algorithms and software to identify the species present in these recorded sound files, as well as to assist with the placement and retrieval of recorders in the field.

Competitive applicants will have several, though not necessarily all, of the following skills:
– Experience programming in Python (or a similar language), and the ability to rapidly learn new languages and techniques, as needed.
– Experience working with development tools and platforms such as GitHub, Docker, and Amazon AWS.
– Experience with machine learning and/or classification methods.
– Experience with statistical modeling, including mixed models and/or Bayesian analysis.
– Experience working in Unix/Linux environments.
– Experience with Raspberry Pi’s, UDOO boards, or other single board computers.
– A working knowledge of the principles of audio recording, amplification, or analysis.
– The ability to walk up to three miles on uneven terrain.
– Strong verbal and written communication skills.

This position is available initially for one year, with an extension for a second year available pending a positive first-year review. We may be able to provide flexibility in work hours and location, if requested by applicants.

For more information, and to apply for the position, please visit https://www.pittsource.com/postings/148476.

2017-11-17T14:46:23+00:00November 17th, 2017|

Postdoc position in spatial ecology

The Kitzes Lab at the University of Pittsburgh (http://kitzeslab.org) is seeking a Postdoctoral Associate to join our lab. Our lab studies species diversity and distributions in human-altered landscapes, primarily using methods drawn from spatial macroecology. Our goals are both to answer fundamental questions about how species organize themselves in space and to inform the practice of conservation in fragmented landscapes.

Our lab is currently involved in both theory-based and field-based projects, and the Postdoctoral Associate will work on at least one of these in addition to potentially developing independent, related projects. Our current theoretical work involves investigating the relationship between spatial scaling metrics, such as the species-area relationship, and point process models. We expect these to lead to new predictions of species turnover patterns as well as multivariate scaling metrics that will predict species diversity in patchy landscapes. Our field projects use autonomous acoustic recorders, placed throughout western Pennsylvania, to study the factors that control bird and bat distributions at landscape scales and to provide data to test our theoretical models. A major portion of this research involves developing algorithms and software to identify the species that are present near each recorder from many terabytes of recorded sound files.

We are seeking applicants with experience in spatial ecology, macroecology, conservation biology, avian ecology, statistics, machine learning, ecoinformatics, and/or data science. Competitive applicants will have programming skills in Python, R, or a related language, and experience with ecological modeling and/or statistics.

The salary for the position will be $47,476 per year (which goes a long way in Pittsburgh). The initial appointment will be for one year, with funding available for a second year pending a positive first year review. Postdoctoral Associates at Pitt also receive benefits including health insurance, access to libraries and recreational facilities on campus, free access to public transit, and paid vacation days.

Interested applicants should send an email ([email protected]) that includes (1) a cover letter describing your interest in this position, prior research, and plans for future research, (2) your CV, (3) the names of three references, and (4) a writing sample. Review of applications will begin in early December and will continue until the position is filled.

The start date for the position is flexible, and applicants may join the lab any time between January and June of 2018. Review of applications will begin in early December and will continue until the position is filled.

Please see our lab website (http://kitzeslab.org) and the website of the Department of Biological Sciences (http://www.biology.pitt.edu/) for more information about the department, other faculty and students, the university, and the city of Pittsburgh.

2017-10-31T09:43:54+00:00October 31st, 2017|

PhD positions in spatial ecology

The Kitzes Lab at the University of Pittsburgh (http://kitzeslab.org) is seeking up to two Ph.D. students to join our lab in the Fall of 2018. Our lab studies species diversity and distributions in human-altered landscapes, primarily using methods drawn from spatial macroecology. Our goals are both to answer fundamental questions about how species organize themselves in space and to inform the practice of conservation in fragmented landscapes.

Our lab is currently involved in both theory-based and field-based projects, and incoming Ph.D. students are invited to work on either of these or to develop their own projects along related themes. Our current theoretical work involves investigating the relationship between spatial scaling metrics, such as the species-area relationship, and point process models. We expect these to lead to new predictions of species turnover patterns as well as multivariate scaling metrics that will predict species diversity in patchy landscapes. Our field projects use autonomous acoustic recorders, placed throughout western Pennsylvania, to study the factors that control bird and bat distributions at landscape scales and to provide data to test our theoretical models. A major portion of this research involves developing algorithms and software to identify the species that are present near each recorder from many terabytes of recorded sound files.

We are seeking applicants with interests in spatial ecology, macroecology, conservation biology, avian ecology, statistics, machine learning, ecoinformatics, and/or data science. Competitive applicants will also have prior experience, though not necessarily formal training, in programming (any language), ecological modeling, or other quantitative research methods.

The department provides competitive financial support for graduate students that includes a stipend, full tuition remission, health insurance, and free access to public transportation (http://www.biology.pitt.edu/graduate/financial-support). Students admitted to the graduate program have typically been offered 5 years of guaranteed support, with at least one year free of teaching responsibilities. Depending on students’ interests and skills, up to an additional two years of research support may be available from our lab.

Applications are due by January 3rd, but interested applicants should contact Dr. Kitzes during the fall term. Please send an email ([email protected]pitt.edu) that includes a few paragraphs describing the type of work that you are hoping to do for your dissertation and why you are interested in our lab in particular, as well as your CV.

Please see our lab website (http://kitzeslab.org) and the website of the Department of Biological Sciences (http://www.biology.pitt.edu/) for more information about the department, other faculty and students, the university, and the city of Pittsburgh.

2017-10-31T09:36:24+00:00October 31st, 2017|