Research Assistant in Ecological Database Development at FLINDERS UNIVERSITY

About Flinders

Our bold vision, reflected in our Strategic Plan: Make a Difference: Agenda 2025, is to be internationally recognized as a global research leader, an innovator in contemporary education, and the source of the most enterprising graduates from Australia.

To achieve this ambition, we recently made a significant organizational change to a six-college structure with professional alignment of staff and services.

We recognize that the key to our success is exceptional people and we are looking for an exceptional individual to join our transformed university team.

Type of employment:
Fixed term (Fixed term)

Position Summary

Fixed term until December 2023 | Part-time at 0.8 FTE

Higher Education Officer Level 5

Wage scale:
$74,270 – $81,966 (prorated)

Pertaining to:
Dean, People and Resources (or delegate)
Biological Sciences

The research assistant, based at Flinders University, will work in collaboration with several other institutions (e.g. UoW, UTAS, ANU, UQ, Deakin, Australian Museum, etc.) to locate and collect information on: (a ) extant features and recently extinct Australian and New Guinean terrestrial vertebrates, and (b) predator-prey interactions involving top predators among these terrestrial vertebrates. The research assistant will create a comprehensive database that will be hosted on an open web platform according to FAIR data principles and help design and organize workshops and outreach activities based on the trait database/ interactions.

Beyond the importance of the number of species that make up an ecosystem, the collective diversity of all the traits of those species and the interactions that occur between species (themselves determined by traits) give the ecosystem stability and resilience to environmental disturbances such as fires, droughts, invasive species and storms. The measurement of traits and interactions between species is therefore essential to identify the mechanisms involved in extinction events and their wider ecological consequences.

Thanks to global initiatives, the amount of data available on trait-species interactions has increased rapidly over the past two decades. However, the geographic and taxonomic coverage of these data remains patchy, which limits detailed analysis of trait variation and species interactions in certain regions and for certain taxa. If we want to understand past, current and future extinctions in Australia’s unique and diverse biological region, databases containing detailed data on the traits and interactions of extant and recently extinct species (i.e. say of the last 100,000 years) are needed.

Main responsibilities of the position

  • Complete the basic course of the AIATSIS Basic Cultural Learning Program.
  • Collect data on the characteristics of extant or recently extinct mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles.
  • Development of a stand-alone trait database.
  • Integration of the database in the OCTOPUS platform.
  • Help organize and facilitate workshops to demonstrate the various applications of the database.
  • Develop and disseminate infographics and animated videos promoting the database.
  • Contribute to the preparation of research reports and publications.
  • Liaise with staff, students and external collaborators.
  • Any other responsibilities corresponding to the level of the position assigned by the supervisors.

Capabilities of the key position

Essential criteria

  • Specialized degree in a discipline relevant to ecology, or comparable relevant experience.
  • Trait-based ecology experiment.
  • A commitment to research excellence and attention to detail.
  • Well-developed organizational and analytical skills.
  • Effective communication (verbal and written) and interpersonal skills, including a willingness to engage with external research partners.

Desirable criteriaa

  • Experience in creating databases.
  • Experience in R programming.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively as a member of a research team as well as to conduct independent research and lead projects.

Prescribed conditions of employment

  • A valid National Police Certificate satisfactory to the University will also be required before the successful candidate can commence the position.
  • Flinders University has introduced a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy which requires all new staff to be current on their COVID-19 vaccinations, subject to medical exemptions and limited exemptions.

How to register

Please review the core job abilities of the job description and submit a suitability statement of no more than 3 pages that meets the criteria. Applications without a declaration of suitability may not be considered. For more information, please see our How to Apply page.

For more information regarding this position, please contact Dr. Frederik Saltre

Information for applicants:

A valid National Police Certificate satisfactory to the University will also be required before the successful candidate can commence the position.

We seek to increase diversity to improve equal opportunity for employees, and therefore encourage applications from women, persons with disabilities and/or of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent to apply.

Please note that late applications and applications sent through agencies will not be accepted.

Closing of applications at 11:59 p.m.:

November 19, 2022

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