Field assistant on impacts of predation on meadow bird populations (0.8 FTE)


Faculty of Science and Engineering


University of Groningen

Founded in 1614, the University of Groningen enjoys an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative center of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Flexible study programme and academic career opportunities in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 36,000 students and researchers alike to develop their own individual talents. Quality has been our top priority for over four hundred years, and with success: the University is currently in or around the top 100 on several influential ranking lists.

GELIFES, Faculty of Science & Engineering
The Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES), one of the larger institutes of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), fills a special niche in the life sciences by covering and integrating mechanistic, evolutionary and ecological approaches, aiming to understand adaptation on all levels of biological organization. Researchers pursue fundamental questions while collaborating with partners from nature conservation, industry, medicine and other realms of society. Our research fields include ecology, conservation biology, evolutionary biology, behavioral biology, chronobiology, genetics and genomics, neurobiology, physiology and theoretical modelling, using a wide array of research tools.

Job description

Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Live Sciences, GELIFES , Institute of the Faculty of Science and Engineering invites applications for a field assistant on the impacts of predation on meadow bird populations. The position is within the Conservation Ecology Group.

The Field Assistant will be working closely together with a newly hired PhD student and a consortium of researchers from various organizations that are involved in the project. The job of the field assistant will be (assisting with) the setting-up of the field studies and collection, and in part processing, of the field data. Main duties will be the collection of data on mammalian predator presence and habitat use in the main study areas in the provinces of Groningen and Friesland. You will be collecting fecal samples of mammalian predators in these various field sites for diet analyses, and assist with the metabarcoding work in the RUG lab. In addition, you will be setting up and deploying a grid of cameratraps, help with the annotation of the data, assist with the setting-up and collection of data of the GPS loggers (from tagged predators and bird chicks), and measure the fate of chicks and nests of the monitored birds. Coordination and supervision will be performed by hired (specialized) consortium partners of the project.

Meadow bird populations have been declining dramatically over the last decades in the Netherlands. Predation by various species (mammals, birds of prey) plays an important role, e.g. by predation of chicks and breeding birds, as well as by disturbance during the breeding season. However, the magnitude of these effects has thus far not been properly quantified; the available evidence is little and mostly indirect. Hence, there is a large need of scientific studies that quantify the impacts of predation on meadow bird populations.

Aims of the project are to quantify the impacts of predation at meadow bird populations at national level, and assess the effectiveness of conservation measures (e.g. removal of predators). The project should lead to evidence-based concrete advise to the Dutch government about effective measures. The project consists of three main pilars: i) ARTS (automatic radio tracking station), high-resolution tracking of tagged meadow bird chicks and (feral) cats, ii) eDNA analysis of faeces of predators and (remains of) prey items to determine the share of meadow birds in their diet, iii) experimental field study, manipulation of number of predators to assess the effectiveness of removal on meadow birds populations. Our project has important links with other research programs on the spatial dynamics of predators in relation with landscape factors, with the desire to reach sustainable conservation of ground breeding coastal and meadow birds in more robust systems.


You have a degree in biology/ecology or equivalent (HBO/WO degree). The ideal candidate is highly motivated, has a strong background in (field) ecology / natural history, has relevant experience and proven field-work and lab skills, is willing to carry out intensive field work under sometimes harsh conditions, is trained/licensed to work with animals, has a driving license, can work independently but is also a team player with good communication skills.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 36 months.

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

• a salary minimally € 2,367 (salary scale 7) gross per month up to a maximum of € 3,606 (salaary scale 8) gross per month for a full-time position depending on relevant qualifications and work experience
• a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income and an 8.3% year-end bonus
• a temporary position og 0.8 FTE based on temporary funding and is offered for a maximum period of three years.

The conditions of employment are available at the University of Groningen website under Human Resources:

The preferred starting date is 1 February, 2022

Job Application

Do you want to become a member of our team? Please send your application to us, by submitting the following requested documents:

1. a motivation letter
2. a complete curriculum vitae
3. names and email addresses of two referees
4. if available, an example research paper.

You can submit your application until 28 November11:59pm / before 29 November 2021 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

We are an equal opportunity employer that values diversity. We have adopted an active policy to increase the number of female scientists across all disciplines of the university. Therefore, women are encouraged to apply. Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP),

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Chris Smit

Christiaan Both

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 221627

Digital application form