Movement Ecologist/Programme coordinator

Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Radolfzell

Developmental and Evolutionary Biology & Genetics Behavioral Sciences Microbiology & Ecology


Type of Job


Movement Ecologist as Programme coordinator

Job offer from December 20, 2017

The Max Planck Institute for Ornithology is an internationally oriented research institute dealing mainly with the fields of behavioral neurobiology, behavioral ecology, evolutionary biology, immunoecology and animal migration. We seek a programme coordinator with the skills, experience, and vision to lead this effort. You will work on the Galapagos Islands and in Radolfzell, Germany, with main base of operations the Charles Darwin Foundation’s Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos.

Our research

The Galapagos Tortoise Movement Ecology Programme (GTMEP), operating since 2009 as a collaboration originally among the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Galapagos National Park Service and Charles Darwin Foundation, seeks to assist the Galapagos National Park (GNP) to effectively conserve giant Galapagos tortoises by conducting cutting-edge applied science while delivering an inspirational, tortoise-based outreach and education programme. To this end over 100 tracking tags have been deployed on tortoises from four different species on three different Galapagos Islands, from hatchlings weighing 75 grams to 150 year old adults weighing up to 300 kg.

Scientific outputs are disseminated to communities through grassroots outreach activities and national and international multimedia products. Funding sources include private donors, NGOs, the US National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society and others. Project partners now include the College of Environmental Science and Forestry of the State University of New York, the Galapagos Conservation Trust, the Saint Louis Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Medicine, the Houston Zoo, and the Central University of Ecuador.

The programme is beginning an exciting new phase that will build on previous accomplishment and extend research with new technology developments in animal tracking capability using the International Space Station and also deepen partnerships with collaborators in conservation and education to increase science, conservation and education impacts on Galapagos.

Main tasks

  • develop and implement a 5 year strategy for the Galapagos Tortoise Movement Ecology Programme that will 1) deepen our understanding of how the environment, physiology and life history determine movement and reproductive strategies of Galapagos tortoises and 2) use scientific results to inform and improve  conservation of tortoises and their habitats
  • initiate the ICARUS (International Collaboration on Animal Research Using Space) programme on Galapagos initially involving Galapagos tortoises and expanding it to endangered seabirds, before assessing opportunities for expansion to further target species
  • lead the scientific research programme coordinated effectively with partners
  • coordinate outreach and education activities with local staff and partners
  • assist with fund raising efforts to maintain and expand the programme in line with the above objectives
  • develop annual work plans including staffing, schedules, and relationships with partners
  • meet reporting and accounting requirements among donors and partner organizations
  • ensure excellent communications between principal partners MPI-O, CDF, and GNP, and similarly with additional collaborators
  • manage project staff, their work plans and well-being
  • work specifically with the Houston Zoo to maximize the two-way flow of benefits of the programme between the newly initiated Galapagos Experience exhibit at the zoo and the Galapagos Islands
  • publish at least one first-authored peer reviewed paper per year

Your profile

Because of the need to work locally on the ground permanently for the duration of the project, this grant is open only to applicants who are 1) Ecuadorian, 2) have permanent residency status on the Galapagos, 3) have a PhD in a relevant field, and 4) can demonstrate a long-term commitment to biological conservation in the islands.

This Scholarship requires not only excellent coordination of the GTMEP, but also building local capacity within the islands, such that the programme transitions to locally based senior staff.

Our offer

The scholarship is awarded according to the guidelines of the Max Planck Society. Initially, the scholarship will run first for two years, with funds are available for five years pending satisfactory performance.

Your application

The Max-Planck society is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individuals.

Report directly to Prof. Dr. Martin Wikelski and Dr. Stephen Blake .

Please submit your application online. Deadline for the application is February 28, 2018.

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