PhD position in radar aeroecology

Faculty of Science – Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

4 oktober 2017
Master's degree
€2,222 to €2,840 gross per month
3 november 2017
38 hours per week

A new PhD position is currently open in the Theoretical and Computational Ecology Department within the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) at the University of Amsterdam. The IBED is one of eight research institutes within the Faculty of Science. Research in IBED aims at a better understanding of the dynamics of ecosystems at all relevant levels, from genes to climate change, using a truly multidisciplinary approach.

Project description

As humans expand their activities into the aerial environment of birds, through aviation and infrastructure such as wind turbines, conflicts between humans and birds are increasing. Increasing our understanding of flight behaviour and the external and internal factors that influence flight behaviour can be applied to find novel solutions to reduce such conflicts. This PhD project will contribute to a long-term mission to understand how birds adapt their movement strategies to environmental conditions, what the costs, benefits and constraints of different movement strategies are, and whether diversity is important for population persistence. This project will focus on the migratory behaviour of birds over the North Sea in the context of offshore windfarms. As wind energy development is expected to increase in the coming years in the North Sea, so to the need to find solutions to reduce the impact large scale wind farms may have on migratory birds. This project will be conducted in collaboration with Rijkswaterstaat (Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment) and the main aim is to develop a predictive model of bird migration to provide the wind energy industry advance warnings of intense migration and enable efficient adaptation of the turbine activity to reduce collision risk for migratory birds. Within the project the following objectives will be addressed by the PhD candidate:

  1. synthesize current knowledge and identify major gaps in our understanding about migration over the North Sea in terms of species composition, timing, numbers, source areas of departure, flight behaviour, spatial distribution;
  2. identify large scale spatial and temporal patterns of migration over the North Sea for at least two consecutive autumn and spring seasons;
  3. assess data quality of local bird detection radars for monitoring migration at se;
  4. determine how external factors influence the timing and 3D spatial distribution of migration over the North Sea;
  5. develop a statistical predictive model framework of migration over the North Sea with an emphasis on the air layer relevant for wind parks;
  6. explore the use of a mechanistic model of bird migration over the North Sea, with an emphasis on the air layer relevant for wind parks.

The PhD candidate will work with weather radar as well as dedicated bird radars to extract information about the spatial and temporal dynamics of avian migration over sea. The candidate will model migratory movement in relation to atmospheric conditions as well as other potentially relevant environmental factors. The candidate will be expected to communicate regularly with the project partners and lead periodic project meetings with external partners. For more information about work being conducted in the field of radar Aeroecology see the COST action titled 'European network for the radar surveillance of animal movement', a network we have played a leading role in.


  • A Master’s degree in Ecology, Earth Science or comparable fields. Exceptions can be made for candidates the profile from exact sciences with a shown interest in Ecology and otherwise fit the profile;
  • experience with spatial temporal data, preferably radar data and environmental data;
  • shown experience in analysing large and complex datasets;
  • good data analysis and modelling skills, experience with programming and working with databases is an advantage;
  • interest in conducting multidisciplinary research;
  • interest in communicating with non-academic stakeholders.

Further information

For additional information, please contact:

You may also visit her personal webpage for more information about her work:


The appointment would begin by January 2018, or earlier if possible. The full-time appointment will be on a temporary basis for a maximum period of four years (18 months plus a further 30 months after a positive assessment of the candidate) and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). A training and guidance plan will be drafted that includes attendance of courses, (international) meetings and contribution to teaching. The full-time gross monthly salary will range from €2,222 in the first year to €2,840 in the final year, according to the salary scale for PhD candidates. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable. The annual salary will be increased by 8 % holiday allowance and 8.3 % end-of-year bonus.

Job application

Applications should include

  1. a detailed CV including educational experience, a list of publications (if any) and the names and contact addresses of two academic references from which information about the candidate can be obtained;
  2. a letter describing motivation and research interests and
  3. an English writing sample (e.g. paper, MSc or BSc thesis).

Please combine these materials into a single PDF file.

Applications should be sent ultimately at 3 November 2017, via email to Please quote vacancy number 17-487 in the subject field. Interviews, possibly via Skype, will be held on 17 or 20 November 2017. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Gepubliceerd door  Universiteit van Amsterdam