Cornell University, Lab of Ornithology

Position ID:Cornell-Lab-ANIMALCOMMUNICATIONS [#15343, WDR-00021203]
Position Title: Animal Communications Specialist/Behavioral Ecologist(Lab of Ornithology)
Position Type:Non tenure-track faculty
Position Location:Ithaca, New York 14850, United States [map]
Subject Areas: Ecology / Conservation Biology
Ornithology / Acoustics
Appl Deadline:2019/12/02 11:59PMhelp popup* finished (2019/11/01, finished 2020/08/24, listed until 2019/12/02)
Position Description:    

*** this position has been closed and new applications are no longer accepted. ***

* this map is a best-effort approximation. Open in Google Maps directly.

Animal Communication Specialist/Behavioral Ecologist

Research Associate

Johnson Center for Birds and Biodiversity
Lab of Ornithology
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS)

Cornell University

Ithaca, New York


The Center for Conservation Bioacoustics (CCB), within the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (Lab), collects and interprets sounds in nature by developing and applying innovative technologies across ecologically relevant scales to inspire and inform conservation of wildlife and habitats. In addition to conducting basic and applied research, CCB provides training and mentorship to students and researchers from around the world.

The Animal Communication Specialist (ACS) will join the Lab’s academic community and work collaboratively to establish, contribute to, and implement the scientific and educational vision of CCB. Develop, conduct, and lead original research in the fields of animal communication and passive acoustic monitoring (PAM), with a focus on the study and conservation of African forest elephants.

The ACS will assist the director of the Elephant Listening Project (ELP) and collaborate with the ELP team to execute and expand ongoing research and education initiatives as well as develop new directions of study and applied conservation. Collaborate with and advise scientists and research analysts in the analysis and interpretation of very large data sets, including development of innovative approaches to acoustic data analysis. Research activities will include detailed study of the communication system of African forest elephants. Design, develop, and implement PAM initiatives at the landscape scale and integrate multiple focus areas. Keep supervisor updated on ongoing progress and future research activities.

The ACS will serve as Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI) of sponsored projects; monitor and report sponsored project status on a regular basis to the ELP director, CCB Assistant Director, and Lab Administration. Work collaboratively with other PIs within and external to the Lab to identify, seek, and secure funding to support CCB’s vision and strategic goals. The ACS will be required to acquire at least 25% of their salary in sponsored funding. Collaborate with CCB staff and external scientists on publishing methods and research in technical reports and peer-reviewed journals. Represent CCB and the Lab by attending and presenting at conferences, seminars, workshops, and meetings.

This position travels to Africa a few times per year for extended periods of time.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Lead and direct innovative research, including the analysis of new and archived acoustic data from Central Africa obtained as part of independent research initiatives.
  • Develop a forward-looking research program for ELP in the Dzanga-Sangha protected area of the Central African Republic (C.A.R.).
  • Independently identify, seek, and secure funding sources that align with and support ELP’s research goals. Collaborate with other PIs or Co-PIs on the development of potential funding sources that support the mission of CCB and the Lab.
  • Publish original research in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
  • Represent CCB and the Lab by attending and presenting at scientific conferences, seminars, workshops, and professional meetings. Write or contribute to the writing of technical reports or other deliverables for grants.
  • Assist the ELP director in managing research staff and student interns.
  • Mentor independent research conducted by select undergraduate students. 
  • Communicate CCB’s vision, goals and research objectives to CCB staff and ensure that research and development supports these objectives.
  • Establish and maintain a safe, productive, and respectful working environment that fosters a culture of inclusiveness, teamwork and high quality research and development results.
This position is full-time and will be located in the Ithaca,  New York. This is a three-year appointment  with possible extension depending on funding and performance.

 Required Qualifications:

  • PhD in behavioral ecology and animal communication. At least 3 years of postdoctoral experience.
  • At least 3 years of experience in the study and interpretation of animal acoustic communication systems that includes experience mapping communication systems on the broader behavioral ecology and evolution of the species.
  • Proven experience in the design and implementation of behavioral ecological field studies utilizing passive acoustic monitoring in Central Africa.
  • Must have the ability to communicate and conduct research in French. Excellent oral and written communication skills in English.
  • Must enhance the performance of a team through productive collaboration. Must have a record of repeated success in conducting research and managing projects with both short-term and long-term goals. Demonstrated record of scientific publications.
  • Must have a record of successfully reporting project progress and achieving scheduled milestones of multi-facetted field research projects that involve multiple stages and multiple collaborators.
  • Prior experience identifying and securing future funding from external funding sources.

 Preferred Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated track record of obtaining extramural funding.
  • A workable ability with the Lingala and/or Sango dialects.
  • Knowledge of elephant behavior and elephant acoustic communication.
  • Competence in the use of signal processing tools in the R programming language.

 To apply:

 Please apply via Academic Jobs On-line (

Qualified candidates should submit a cover letter outlining qualifications and interest in the position, curriculum vitae, one example of publication and appendix code, the names and contact details for two references, and a statement of contribution to diversity, equity and inclusion via the website. 


Applications will be reviewed as received, continuing until a suitable applicant is identified. For more information, please contact Peter Wrege ( 

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Life. Changing.


Cornell provides great benefits that include professional development, access to a plethora of wellness programs, employee discounts with local and national retail brands, health care options to choose from, generous paid leave provisions:  3 weeks of vacation, 12 holidays (including end of year winter break) and superior retirement contributions.

Cornell University is an innovative Ivy League university and a great place to work. Our inclusive community of scholars, students and staff impart an uncommon sense of larger purpose and contribute creative ideas to further the university's mission of teaching, discovery and engagement. Located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell's far-flung global presence includes the medical college's campuses on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and Doha, Qatar, as well as the new Cornell Tech campus to be built on Roosevelt Island in the heart of New York City.

Employment Assistance: If you require an accommodation for a disability in order to complete an employment application or to participate in the recruiting process, you are encouraged to contact Cornell University's Department of Inclusion and Workforce Diversity at voice (607) 255-3976, fax (607) 255-7481, or email at For general questions about the position or the application process, please contact the Recruiter listed in the job posting. Applicants that do not have internet access are encouraged to visit your local library, or local Department of Labor. You may also visit the office of Workforce Recruitment and Retention Monday - Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. to use a dedicated workstation to complete an online application. Notice to Applicants: Please read the required Notice to Applicants statement by clicking here. This notice contains important information about applying for a position at Cornell as well as some of your rights and responsibilities as an applicant. EEO Statement: Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities. We also recognize a lawful preference in employment practices for Native Americans living on or near Indian reservations. Cornell University is an innovative Ivy League university and a great place to work. Our inclusive community of scholars, students, and staff impart an uncommon sense of larger purpose, and contribute creative ideas to further the university's mission of teaching, discovery, and engagement.

Application Materials Required:
Submit the following items online at this website to complete your application:
And anything else requested in the position description.

Further Info:
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, New York 14850