Postdoctoral Fellow: Evaluation of Drone-Derived Imagery for Wildlife Surveys


Undertaking wildlife surveys is critical to produce robust data to inform management decisions around appropriate management strategies. In an effort to reduce the cost and safety concerns associated with undertaking wildlife surveys from helicopters, the interest in the use of drones has grown dramatically in the past few years for this task. This project will first undertake an assessment of the capacity of drone-captured wildlife information to inform survey designs for monitoring wildlife populations (e.g., moose), to consider any potential bias associated with drone-based counts. The PDF will then lead the capture of proof-of-concept data over wildlife to assess animal detection rates using a variety of camera systems and operating parameters, design detection routines, and ultimately work towards a full scale operation trial in the second year of the project.

The PDF will lead the project, undertake statistical survey design, develop and test data processing approaches and prepare best practice guides on the operational use of the developed approaches. The PDF will also be expected to produce publications, and presentations in national and international workshops/conferences.

Successful applicants should:

  • Hold a relevant PhD (e.g., wildlife ecology, remote sensing, data science, or forestry with a strong technical background) and an interest in wildlife ecology and survey design.
  • Strong programming skills in Python or similar
  • Interest in drones and the associated technologies
  • Documented track-record in publishing high-quality scientific papers within the field of the position.
  • Have excellent oral and written communication skills with a strong publication record.


The candidate will be based at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada under the supervision of Professor Nicholas Coops. Applicants should send a letter explaining their motivation and relevant skill set, a CV and the names of three references to

The deadline for sending in applications is November 30th but we will consider applications until the position is filled. The expected start date would be in Jan 1st 2024. The position is for a fixed length of 24 months.

Equity and diversity are essential to academic excellence. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the B.C. Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or status as a First Nation, Metis, Inuit, or Indigenous person.

Reference Number

Please mention reference number GPS-57623 in all your correspondence about this Postdoctoral Fellow position.

This position will be supervised by

Get key application advice, hear about the latest research opportunities and keep up with the latest news from UBC's graduate programs.