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PhD Student (M/F) Bird Perception of Wind Turbines

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Français - Anglais

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General information

Reference : UMR5175-OLIDUR-002
Workplace : MONTPELLIER
Date of publication : Thursday, July 23, 2020
Scientific Responsible name : Olivier Duriez, Francesco Bonadonna
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 October 2020
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

The objective of this study is to understand how birds perceive wind turbines, in order to adapt turbines to make them more detectable by birds and possibly dispense with expensive and inefficient detection/scaring devices. As a complement, this study also aims to determine whether visual scaring devices would be more effective at long distances than audible alarms, and possibly replace them. This doctoral thesis project proposes to study these different elements through 3 research axes:
1. Perception of rotary movement by birds
2. Birds' perception of contrasts between wind turbines and the environment
3. Visual frightening
Most of this work will be based on behavioural test experiments (sometimes with operant conditioning) with birds in captivity, thanks to the collaboration of zoological parks or wildlife conservation centres. Some tests may also be carried out in the wild (axis 3).
At the end of this thesis, it may be possible to improve wind turbines at a lower cost in order to make them more compatible with the conservation of avian biodiversity.

Work Context

The host laboratory (CEFE) will provide the doctoral student with an office and computer equipment. In addition, the CEFE has a technical platform that can carry out any type of experimental device required. Finally, the CEFE has aviaries for blue titmice, allowing some of the experiments to be carried out on site. It will also be possible to capture certain species of passerines (greenfinches, finches, sparrows or warblers) on the CEFE's experimental site.
For the rest of the experiments, the doctoral student will have to travel between several sites, mainly zoological parks, aviaries (bird of prey parks) or wildlife care centres, partners of the project, which will provide their animals, facilities (aviaries), and agents to carry out the experimental tests in the best conditions.
The scaring experiments will be carried out with experts from the Airbird company, holders of the "looming eyes" scaring patent. As this scaring system is installed on a trailer, it will be possible to move it to several experimental sites in the natural environment.

Constraints and risks

no particular risk

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