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Research Associate: Investigating how sensory demanding environments impact animals' perception, movements and behaviour.

We have a vacancy for a post-doctoral researcher to work with Dr James Herbert-Read in the new Marine Biology Group at the Department of Zoology. The researcher will be part of a project determining how natural and anthropogenic forms of environmental noise across multiple sensory modalities impact animals' perceptual abilities, activities, movements and social behaviour. We are looking for a natural scientist with an excellent understanding of experimental design and strong analytical skills in animal behaviour research. Experience of working in the fields of sensory ecology, collective behaviour, vision research or camouflage would be highly desirable. Candidates that have previously worked with fishes in both laboratory and field environments are particularly encouraged to apply. The researcher will be tasked with performing behavioural experiments, primarily on fishes, to investigate how animals adapt their behaviour to detect information, and not be detected, in environmentally noisy conditions. The researcher will be responsible for laboratory and field experiments, which will involve collecting highly quantitative behavioural data using computer-vision techniques. The work will provide an in-depth understanding of how both natural and anthropogenic sources of noise impact the behavioural ecology of marine organisms.


  • A PhD, or equivalent experience, in an area related to behavioural ecology or animal behaviour.

  • Proficient coding skills in MATLAB, R or equivalent.

  • Experience of working on animal behaviour in both laboratory and field environments

  • Excellent understanding of statistics and experimental design

  • Ability to write clear, concise summaries of scientific papers, quickly and accurately.

  • Fluent at writing in English

  • Demonstrable ability to complete projects and disseminate these into quality publications on time

Duties and responsibilities

The post-holder will carry out the following tasks:

  • Immerse animals into simulated ecological environments in the laboratory to assess how different sensory conditions affect individual exploration, activity, search patterns and habitat use.

  • Measure variation in the sensory environments that animals experience in nature, and monitor animal behaviour under those natural ecological conditions.

  • Assess how additive and non-additive effects of environmental noise impact behaviour, perception and task efficiency.

  • Extract and summarize information from automated tracking to quantify animal behaviour and movement in detail.

  • Draft and submit co-authored manuscripts on laboratory and field results.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for up to 36 months.

Interviews are planned in the week commencing 11th November

Applications are welcome from internal candidates who would like to apply for the role on the basis of a secondment from their current role in the University.

Click the 'Apply' button below to register an account with our recruitment system (if you have not already) and apply online.

Please quote reference PF20577 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Further information

Apply online