The Kitzes Lab at the University of Pittsburgh is seeking several Research Assistants to contribute to analysis of acoustic biodiversity data sets. Our lab’s research focuses on understanding how human alteration of natural habitat impacts species abundance and diversity, motivated strongly by an interest in informing conservation and habitat management.

As part of this work, our group is deeply involved in the development and application of automated acoustic recording methods for studying biodiversity, particularly birds, at large spatial scales. Among other activities, we develop open source software and machine learning models for the automated identification of bird song and, with our networks of collaborators, deploy several thousand automated acoustic recorders each field season throughout Pennsylvania and beyond.

The main responsibilities of these positions will include several or all of

  • Assisting in the development and/or testing of acoustic recorder hardware
  • Managing large acoustic data sets collected by the lab
  • Creating and/or applying machine learning models to analyze data on local, cluster, and cloud hardware
  • Annotating audio for species presence
  • Using statistical modes to estimate occupancy and abundance of focal species
  • Interpreting the results of these analyses in manuscripts and other communications

The particular responsibilities of each Research Assistant will depend on their background and skills, as well as the needs of the overall team. In general, we will be looking for candidates with more than one of the following skills

  • Programming experience (Python preferred, other languages acceptable)
  • Demonstrated interest or experience in training machine learning models
  • Experience with bioacoustics
  • Experience with field work
  • Ability to bird by ear in Eastern temperate forests
  • Record of first-authored peer-reviewed publications

The Research Assistants will be supported by a combination of funding sources, including the National Science Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

We currently have openings for Research Assistants at two different levels. The Research II positions are appropriate for recent graduates with a Bachelor’s degree and less than two years of work experience. The Research III positions are appropriate for candidates with a Master’s degree and several years of work experience. The Research III candidates will be expected to take a more independent role managing and completing research projects.

We are a highly collaborative and interactive lab group in which multiple lab members work together on all of our research projects. We make a specific point to involve all of our lab members in reading groups, manuscript writing, conference presentations, grant writing, and other activities.

To apply for these positions, please begin by sending an email to [email protected] with (1) a cover letter describing your interest in this position, (2) a resume or CV, (3) the names of three references, and (4) a writing sample. Review of candidates will begin in October 2021 and will continue until filled.