Research Associate, BirdNet Ecology Lead - Lab of Ornithology

Research Associate, BirdNet Ecology Lead - Lab of Ornithology


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Research Associate, BirdNET Ecology Lead

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Johnson Center for Birds & Biodiversity

Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Who We Are

Located in the beautiful Sapsucker Woods Sanctuary, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (the Lab) is dedicated to advancing the understanding and protection of the natural world and joins with people from all walks of life to make new scientific discoveries, share insights, and galvanize conservation action. The Lab is a vibrant unit within Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), and our management and staff are committed to the highest standards of ethics and excellence in all areas of our work.

The BirdNET Ecology Lead will join the Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics (KLY-CCB;, one of six programmatic centers within the Lab. KLY-CCB’s mission is to collect and interpret sounds in nature by developing and applying innovative technologies across multiple ecologically relevant scales to inspire and inform the conservation of wildlife and habitats. Our highly interdisciplinary team of scientists, educators, engineers, students, and research support personnel is working with many national and international collaborators on a wide variety of terrestrial, aquatic, and marine bioacoustic research projects tackling conservation issues worldwide.

What We Need

This position will lead the implementation of conservation-oriented research with an emphasis on using BirdNET to estimate avian biodiversity. This position will collaborate with computer scientists and mathematicians to use BirdNET app data to conduct conservation research. A major component of this work will be sustaining and expanding a landscape-scale passive acoustic avian biodiversity monitoring program in California’s Sierra Nevada in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service and other partners and stakeholders.

Applicants will be expected to:

  • Publish high-impact conservation research in major peer-reviewed journals
  • Secure external funding to sustain ongoing projects (e.g., the Sierra Nevada monitoring program) and to develop new research projects
  • Apply cutting edge quantitative tools (e.g., Bayesian population modeling) to estimate avian diversity and abundance/density at landscape scales
  • Develop new techniques to improve acoustic monitoring of wildlife populations and communities
  • Mentor undergraduates and supervise postdoctoral researchers

The BirdNET Ecology Lead must be able to foster and maintain excellent working relationships with coworkers, collaborators and students from very diverse cultural and educational backgrounds. This requires approaching all matters with an open mind, sense of curiosity, service-minded attitude, and diplomacy. KLY-CCB is an inclusive community (, and we welcome anyone who has an interest in bioacoustics without consideration of age, sex, gender/gender identity, ethnicity, race, skin color, religion, physical or mental ability, sexual orientation, nationality, or background, among others. We recognize that diverse, inclusive communities create more innovative and impactful work to address global challenges and benefit humanity and nature; We will work purposefully to amplify underrepresented and marginalized voices within KLY-CCB and the communities we aspire to serve. Applicants are invited to include a statement on how their experiences, perspectives, and aspirations can contribute to diversity and inclusion in support of KLY-CCB’s values.


Lead landscape-scale acoustic monitoring research. Use BirdNET to derive bird community data from the ongoing UW-Madison-led Sierra Nevada acoustic monitoring program. Apply existing quantitative tools (e.g., Bayesian multi-species occupancy models and generalized linear mixed models) to raw bird community results to estimate species richness and the abundance/density of focal species. Independently and collaboratively develop novel methodological tools for the analysis of passive acoustic survey data (e.g., simulation-based power analyses). Advance efforts to expand BirdNET’s capabilities to include non-avian taxa as well as density estimates. Develop new broad-scale acoustic monitoring programs with significant conservation implications. Maintain and build upon relevant technical skills such as data management, web publishing, machine learning. (30%)

Conduct research and support that is integrated with the BirdNET app. Work with the BirdNET app team to develop new features to enhance user experience, foster user communities, and improve data quality and quantity. Use BirdNET app data to conduct research that advances CCB’s conservation-oriented mission. Develop a rigorous quantitative framework for using BirdNET app data to estimate species distributions in space and time. Engage with collaborators interested in using BirdNET app data with the potential for high-impact research products and/or significant conservation applications (20%).

Supervision. Mentor undergraduate students interested in bioacoustic research and conservation. Supervise postdoctoral researchers hired with internal or external funds to advance related projects. Supervise analysts, field technicians, and other staff hired to support related projects. Establish and maintain a safe, productive, and respectful working environment that fosters a culture of inclusivity and teamwork (15%).

Acquisition of research funding. Secure funds to help sustain the Sierra Nevada acoustic monitoring program in collaboration with external PIs. Apply for external grants to sustain or expand current projects and to initiate new projects that are consistent with CCB’s mission (15%).

Dissemination of Results. Publish research findings in high-impact peer-reviewed journals. Work with stakeholders to ensure that results can be used to implement on-the-ground conservation actions that are respect local communities. Discuss results with journalists and media outlets. Attend and present at conferences related to bioacoustics and conservation (10%).

Other duties as assigned. Maintain and build upon relevant technical skills such as data management, interface design, web publishing, and machine learning. Deploy recording hardware and conduct other related fieldwork as needed. Establish and maintain a safe, productive, and respectful working environment that fosters a culture of inclusiveness, teamwork and high-quality research and development results. Serve on administrative committees (e.g., hiring committees, space committee) (10%).

Term of position

This is a full-time (100% FTE) position and will be located in Ithaca, New York. This is a one-year appointment with possible extension depending on available work, funding and performance.

Required Qualifications

  • PhD in ecology with experience using bioacoustic and quantitative tools for wildlife conservation.
  • A strong publication record with an emphasis on the development of acoustic monitoring techniques and the application of those methods to conservation challenges.
  • Experience applying BirdNET (or similar deep learning algorithms) to passively recorded audio data collected at landscape scales.
  • Good interpersonal skills required to engage with a variety of stakeholders and collaborators, including maintaining and expanding ongoing research partnerships.
  • Experience mentoring undergraduate and graduate students, as well as experience teaching acoustic monitoring techniques to a wide range of audiences.
  • Ability to work effectively with programmers, scientists, and engineers in a dynamic, creative, multi-disciplinary environment.
  • Willing to collaborate with other Project Leaders to advance KLY-CCB and Lab goals. Experience securing extramural funding.

Preferred Qualifications

Familiarity with the ecology and conservation issues of California’s Sierra Nevada. Ability to plan and conduct fieldwork in a range of different ecosystems, and to manage the unique challenges of audio data collection and management.

What We Offer You

We hope you appreciate great benefits! Cornell receives national recognition as an award-winning workplace for our health, wellbeing, sustainability, and diversity initiatives.

  • Our benefits program includes comprehensive health care options, access to wellness programs, employee discounts, and generous retirement contributions.
  • Our leave provisions include three weeks of vacation and 13 holidays including an end-of-year paid winter break from December 25th through January 1st.
  • Cornell's impressive educational benefits include tuition-free Part-Time Study and Employee Degree Program, Tuition Aid for external education, and Cornell Children's Tuition Assistance program.
  • We invite you to follow this link for more information about current benefit options:

Application Instructions:

Interested applicants should submit a CV, letter of interest, research statement, teaching statement, contact information for 3 references and a statement of contribution to diversity, equity, and inclusion via Academic Jobs Online at the following link:

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until a candidate is selected.  If you have questions about this position, please email Holger Klinck,

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Life. Changing.


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

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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.


About Us

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. With our main campus located in Ithaca, NY, 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 Cornell Tech campus located on Roosevelt Island in the heart of New York City.

We offer a rich array of services, programs and benefits to help employees advance in their career and enhance the quality of personal life, including: employee wellness, workshops, childcare and adoption assistance, parental leave, flexible work options.