Research Assistant

Swansea University - College Of Science

The normal expectation is that the successful applicant will be appointed to the minimum of the scale with annual increments on 1 October each year (subject to completing six months service).

Specific Duties and Responsibilities

Flight is thought to be one of the most energetically costly of bird activities. These costs matter by virtue of their magnitude, as factors affecting flight costs can have a disproportionate impact on the overall energy balance. However, fundamental questions remain about the scale of these costs and how they vary for birds operating in the wild, where airflows are highly variable. While acceleration-based metrics should be able to provide insight into how these costs vary in the field and over fine scales (using appropriate on-board loggers), these proxies have yet to be validated for flight. The over-arching purpose of this 3-year post is to use novel methods to quantify the costs of flight. This will centre on the quantification of the mechanical power output of birds during flight, using individuals equipped with high frequency loggers. Wind tunnel experiments will enable proxies for flight costs to be tested and validated in a range of species that vary in morphology and flight style, before approaches are extended to free-flying birds.

While the post will largely be based at Swansea University, the research will be conducted in close collaboration with Professor Anders Hedenström at Lund University and it is anticipated that the successful candidate will travel to Lund for periods within the project to conduct experiments. There are also opportunities to collect data at several different field sites and to work at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology with Professor Martin Wikelski.

The successful candidate will benefit from working with an interdisciplinary team brought together through an ERC funded project on bird flight. As the remit of the post is broad (being the use of novel methods to quantify the costs of flight), there will be opportunities for the post-holder to develop lines of research that they are interested in within this area, making use of the wider resources and networks available through the project.

General enquires concerning should be submitted to Emily Shepard, via

This post will close at midnight 8 January 2018.

Applicants will find full job details together with the online application link: The University is committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity in all of its practices and activities. We aim to establish an inclusive environment and particularly welcome applications from diverse backgrounds.

Swansea University is a registered charity. No. 1138342.

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