Acoustic Analyst Position
Wildlife Conservation Society - New York, NY

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Position Overview

The Wildlife Conservation Society's Ocean Giant Program is seeking a postdoctoral level acoustic analyst to work with large acoustic databases from the southern Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The primary focus of the work is detection, classification and localization of cetacean vocalizations, as well as characterization of ambient noise. Datasets include long-term continuous data from seafloor mounted autonomous recording units (both singular and arrays of up to 8 units) and boat-based survey data from a towed hydrophone array. Target species vary according to dataset, but include both Mysticete and Odontocete cetaceans. The position is currently funded for 18 months, with the option of continuation given satisfactory performance and the acquisition of further funding. The successful candidate will be expected to work independently under the supervision of the project director, developing and conducting analyses to satisfy the project goals, and writing reports that will lead to multiple publications as both lead author and co-author. For longer-term employment potential, the successful candidate will be expected to assist in raising project funds.

Program Specifics

The majority of time during the 18-month period will be dedicated to an assessment of cetacean species off the Cabinda coast of Angola, West Africa. The dataset is a year-long deployment of 8 Cornell BRP MARUs ('Pop-ups') from August 2012 to August 2013, divided between Austral winter and Austral summer deployments. The Austral winter deployment is a continuously recording synchronized array, optimized for detecting and locating Mysticetes. The goal is to assess spatial and temporal distribution of humpback whales migrating to and through the region, as well as assess the presence and distribution of blue whales and other Mysticetes (e.g., Bryde's whales and Minke whales). The Austral summer deployment will be a spread of 8 singular, duty cycled MARUs, optimized for detecting sperm whales and whistles of oceanic Delphinids. The goal is to assess species diversity, and the relative spatial and temporal distribution of sperm whales in particular. The successful applicant will likely take part in the 2013 Angola fieldwork to deploy/retrieve MARUs.

A portion of the successful candidate's time will also be dedicated to one or more additional projects, to be determined in discussion with the project director based upon the successful applicants specific skill set, interests and cumulative workload. Existing datasets include towed array data from Madagascar using a four-element array (92kHz bandwidth); fixed autonomous buoy data from the North Indian Ocean; and a long-term archive of focal animal recordings of humpback whale song from Gabon (Eastern South Atlantic Ocean) and Madagascar (Western South Indian Ocean).

The successful applicant is expected to have a PhD, Engineering degree, or the equivalent, in a field related to Marine Bioacoustics. The following experience is highly desirable (this is a non-prioritized list and applicants will be assessed on the specific subset of skills from this list that they can claim and describe).
1. Working with large datasets of long-term acoustic data
2. Familiarity with cetacean vocalizations
3. Fluency in the use of Bioacoustic analysis software (such as Raven, AviSoft, XBAT, etc.)
4.Programming skills in MatLab allowing development of stand alone
analysis tools
5.Automated detection of cetacean vocalizations in large datasets
6.Localization of sound sources using an array of recording
7.Classification of detected vocalizations to species or taxon
8.Characterization of ambient noise using established metrics and
9.Familiarity with field deployment of acoustic recording gear
10.Demonstrated ability to publish peer-reviewed journals
11.Demonstrated ability to write successful proposals for competitive grant opportunities

The is a Term Position for 18 months


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