Logo: RSPB


Senior Research Assistant - Vegetation Surveys

Reference: FEB20211389
Location: Sites in Suffolk, N Essex, S Norfolk, E Cambs
Salary: £21,718 - £24,294 Per Annum
Duration: 6 Months

Turtle dove populations are in rapid decline (-98% in the UK since 1970), with strong links to the reduction in availability of arable plants on which they feed. In small plots on 8 study sites with varying soil types and management, this study will trial multiple new and existing options for managing seed-rich habitat for turtle doves.

This is a resurvey of the vegetation in experimental plots first established in 2018/19. Comparison of the vegetation in various treatments will help the understanding of how best to manage land to enhance the abundance of, and access to, seeds.

You will be working outdoors to record and manage the vegetation on a number of sites in East Anglia, including the RSPB’s flagship Minsmere reserve. A work vehicle and fieldwork equipment will be provided. A substantial part of the role involves outdoor, lone-working.

Key activities:

  • Vegetation quadrat surveys, recording the cover of bare ground and vegetation in the plots, the plant species present and their reproductive stage.
  • Using a hand-pushed rotavator, experimental manipulation of the vegetation structure in the treatments.
  • Input, error checking and manipulation of data in Excel spreadsheets.
  • Editing of and contributing to the update of a project report.
  • Note that this work does not involve bird surveys of turtle doves.


  • Practical experience of vegetation surveys and identification of UK plant species
  • Track record in collecting and manipulating field data on vegetation composition.
  • Ability to undertake demanding fieldwork (long hours/poor weather).
  • Ability to lone-work under their own initiative
  • Ability to regularly travel to, from, and within rural locations in East Anglia not served by public transport, and willing to travel widely - perhaps including occasional overnight stays.
  • Practical experience of measuring vegetation structure and identifying plants in quadrats in a professional or voluntary capacity or as part of higher-education project.
  • Ability to keep accurate and legible data records
  • Ability to input, error check and manipulate the data in excel.
  • Ability to write basic scientific reports.


  • Experience working on farmland plants/vegetation communities.
  • Understanding of agro-ecology issues.
  • Liaison with landowners and their agents/employees.
  • Experience of multivariate statistical analysis.
  • Home base in East Anglia within traveling distance of study sites

For more information and to apply click here 

Closing: 7 March 2021

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