Farmland biodiversity is still declining in Switzerland and around the world despite all efforts and increasing money invested in its protection. In this context, small structures, such as piles of branches or stones, are more and more popular and recommended as greening measures. It is quite intuitive that a multitude of organisms benefit from these structures, however, there is very little scientific evidence behind (reviewed in Rossier et al. 2021, in German). The goal of the project is to determine quantitatively which species are favoured by the presence of piles of branches or stones and to better understand the role of these small structures on the functionality of our agroecosystems (e.g. as a stepping stone for animal dispersal). Ultimately, the project will deliver evidence-based recommendations on when, where and how to place these structures in the landscape to conserve and restore biodiversity. While stoat (Mustela erminea) and common weasel (Mustela nivalis) are the focal species, other indicators among reptiles and invertebrates shall be selected. Stoats and weasels will be monitored using non-invasive genetic sampling with the help of scat-detection dogs.
The candidate holds a MSc degree, shows a strong interest in biodiversity conservation and masters modern analytical techniques. Knowledge of genetic tools would be advantageous, though not prerequisite. English literacy is important, while written proficiency in German or French with oral competences in the other language is necessary, notably for dealing with local stakeholders and financing partners.
Please email a letter of motivation with CV, summary of MSc thesis, as well as name, phone number and email address of two referees to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about our research group ‒ which is part of the Division of Conservation Biology at the University of Bern headed by Prof. Raphaël Arlettaz ‒ can be found here.
Application deadline: 24 April 2022; interviews in Bern on 5 May 2022.
Envisioned starting date: July-August 2022; duration: 3 years; salary according to SNSF rules.