RAY Conservation Diversity Fellow: Antarctica Program Biologist

Point Blue Conservation Science

The RAY Fellow will be part of a team that studies Adélie penguin breeding and wintering ecology with the objective of increasing our understanding of population structuring of this and other species through time. Emphasis during the Fellow’s term will be on the long-term effects of early life conditions on individuals as they mature and use of devices deployed on penguins to monitor environmental change. Field work will involve at least one deployment of ~4 months (October-February) in Antarctica. While in Antarctica, the Fellow will be stationed at a small field camp (2-4 people) at Cape Crozier, Ross Island. The field crew works out of a small hut, sleeping in tents, accessible in good weather conditions only by helicopter from McMurdo station, which in turn is only accessible by military aircraft from New Zealand. Living conditions in the field are rustic, communal space is cramped, there is no running water (no showers). Temperatures range from -20 to +10 C, with intermittent severe wind and snowstorms. The Fellow will participate in several unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) surveys and will be required to obtain FAA certification as a remote pilot prior to deployment to Antarctica. The remainder of the position will be based out of Point Blue headquarters in Petaluma, California. Working from home is supported.

The Fellow will benefit from exposure to key concepts and skills in the following areas:
● Field methods in ecology and conservation biology
● Broader context of polar biology and climate change
● Safety and logistical challenges of working in Antarctica
● The scientific process and the role of natural history observation in guiding meaningful research and conservation
● Critical thinking and evaluation of research and conservation
● Climate-smart conservation
● Science communication
● Data management

● This position will participate in all aspects of the project from field work and field-logistics, data management and analysis, literature review, and preparing manuscripts for publication.
● Responsibilities while in the field (up to 4 months of the year)
o Collect data on many aspects of the species’ breeding and wintering ecology
▪ Searching for banded (known-age) penguins and recording their nesting status
▪ Deploying and maintaining automated scale and PIT-tag reader
▪ Deploying biologging devices on individual penguins to track movement and behavior
▪ Measuring chicks and recording observations of chick diet
▪ Surveying for whales and pinnipeds
▪ Conducting UAV surveys to photograph and census nesting adults and chicks
▪ Data entry and proofing
● Non-field responsibilities
o Data management (50%)
▪ Data quality assurance
▪ Annual summaries and reports
▪ Maintain existing long-term databases
▪ Develop and maintain data collection and entry protocols
o Additional projects and activities as developed with supervisor (40%).
Examples include:
▪ Independent research project
▪ Literature review
▪ Attend and present at scientific conferences
▪ Create outreach materials
▪ Contribute to ongoing analysis, publications, and grant proposal preparation in partnership with the leadership team
o Project administration (10%)
▪ Safety and permitting
▪ Sample curation
▪ Scheduling
▪ Ordering supplies
▪ Shipping project cargo

In addition to the responsibilities at the host institution outlined above, RAY Fellows will spend, on average, 2-4 hours per week (5-10% of work time) on the following:
● Actively communicating and building community with their RAY Fellow cohort and previous RAY Fellows.
● Attending monthly check-ins calls (including 1-on-1 check-ins with RAY program staff and group calls with their RAY Fellow cohort).
● Meeting regularly with mentors both inside and outside the host institution.
● Attending monthly professional development webinars, trainings, and other opportunities to build knowledge and skills.
● Developing a Personal Leadership Plan (PLP) in their 2nd year with the support of supervisor(s), mentors, RAY program staff, and their RAY Fellow cohort. The PLP will serve as a tool for self-reflection, planning, and assessing progress towards professional, personal, and leadership goals.
● Preparing and leading an hour-long end-of-fellowship webinar highlighting their Fellowship experience.

RAY Fellows will also attend:
● A 3-day Orientation Retreat in August 2021.
● A 3-day Mid-Fellowship Leadership Retreat in August 2022.
● At least one other in-person training or workshop with their RAY Fellow cohort.

Eligible RAY Fellow applicants will:
● Come from a racial / ethnic background underrepresented in conservation and clean energy and demonstrate a commitment to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
● Be no more than 1 year out of college and have a Bachelor’s Degree by July 2021 (we are not considering individuals with graduate degrees at this time).
● Have not had a full-time job in conservation or clean energy.
● Have the ability to work in the United States and commit to the entire fellowship.

● A college degree by the time of employment.
● An interest in the field of conservation.
● Demonstrated intellect and leadership.
● Effective written and verbal communication skills.
● An eagerness to learn.
● Attention to detail and patience.
● Teamwork skills- ability to communicate well, actively listen, and be responsible.
● Interest in learning to conduct UAV surveys and ability to obtain FAA Remote Pilot certification (written exam)
● Enjoy living and working in challenging outdoor environments.
o ability to carry a heavy (30+ lb) backpack daily
o tolerance of cold and dirty working conditions
o ability to go for several months without running water or internet
● Interest in developing skills to conduct scientific research
Examples include:
o developing coding skills for data analysis and visualization
o image analysis
o scientific writing
o manuscript preparation

This is a two-year, full-time fellowship (one year with a one year renewal) starting on or after July 15, 2021.

The Fellowship is compensated and sponsored by Point Blue Conservation Science, who offers a competitive benefits package as well as training and professional development opportunities. All expenses related to training and travel to Antarctica will be covered (including FAA remote pilot certification and Wilderness First Aid certification). Extreme cold weather clothing provided by the US Antarctic Program.

To apply for the RAY Fellowship Program, applicants must:

1. Complete the online application survey on the RAY Fellowship Program website: https://rayfellowship.org/apply

2. Follow the instructions on the linked application webpage to submit a curriculum vitae or a resume, two essay and one short answer responses, and a letter of support.

Applications must be submitted to the RAY Fellowship Program no later than March 26, 2021. Transcripts and additional writing samples are not required. Questions about the application process can be submitted to the RAY Conservation Program Manager, Guilu Murphy, via email at guilu@elpnet.org.

Point Blue Conservation Science is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, sex, handicap, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, or veteran status. Point Blue is continually seeking to diversify its staff, particularly to broaden opportunities for individuals from demographic groups that are historically underrepresented in the sciences and in environmental advocacy.

To apply for this job please visit rayfellowship.org.