Post-doctoral researcher (80 - 100%) “Aerial insect and bird movements”

Schweizerische Vogelwarte Sempach

Schweizerische Vogelwarte Sempach

Seerose1, 6204 Sempach

Key information

  • Publication date:

    01 September 2022
  • Workload:

    80 – 100%
  • Contract:

    Unlimited employment

The Swiss Ornithological Institute ( in Sempach is a non-profit foundation supported by the public and focuses on a wide range of research topics on wild birds within and beyond Switzerland. We aim to strengthen the scientific basis for the understanding of biological systems and for the conservation of birds and their habitats. In the bird migration unit, we focus on understanding the temporal and spatial patterns of bird migration, for example by quantifying mass migration across Europe using radar and other methods, and studying the movements of other taxa such as bats and insects. To foster our understanding of the relationship between aerial insect and bird movements, we are looking for a

The postdoctoral researcher will work within the MoveInEurope project to: (1) investigate the spatiotemporal interactions of aerial insect and migratory bird movements across Europe, and (2) determine the drivers and consequences of differences in activity across time and space. MoveInEurope is an international scientific collaboration aiming at quantifying the biomass flows and movement patterns of aerial insects in Europe, from regional to continental scales and over timescales from days to years, using radar data. We are particularly interested in identifying the atmospheric, climatic, and landscape/habitat drivers of migratory animal movements. MoveInEurope grew out of GloBAM (, a BioDivERsa ( research project with partners in Switzerland, Belgium, Finland, The Netherlands, and the USA.

Your specific tasks:

  • Analyse data from a network of vertical-looking radars across Europe to quantify bird and insect movements over time, and in particular the links between the two taxa
  • Establish the difference in type and timing of environmental and anthropogenic influences on both animal groups and what the implications of these differences may be for insectivorous birds under several future change scenarios
  • Publish your findings in scientific journals

Your profile:

  • PhD in ecology, biology, remote sensing, or related discipline
  • Background in bird or insect ecology
  • Strong quantitative skills and proficiency in a programming language, preferably R
  • Experience with radar data processing is of interest, but not essential
  • Excellent communication skills and interest in working in a collaborative project

We offer:

  • An international, dynamic, and flexible research group working on animal migration
  • Collaboration with leading national and international researchers
  • The position is for 2 years with possibility of extension for an additional year, with a starting date in early 2023.
  • Place of work is Sempach, Switzerland.

Application and contact

We look forward to receiving your online application by 2 November 2022. Please send your application documents (motivation letter detailing your research interests and fit to the position requirements - max 2 pages, your CV with publication list, and contact details of two academic references) in a single PDF file via. our application paortal here. Interviews will take place in the week of 14-18 November 2022. For more information about the position or the MoveInEurope project, please contact Birgen Haest (Write an email) and Silke Bauer (Write an email). The Swiss Ornithological Institute is committed to increasing diversity and encourages applications from all qualified persons.