What employment sector do you work in?

Private Sector

How long have you had a green job for nature?

> 2 years

Salary Range

£25,000 – £30,000

Please describe the work that you do.

I analyse seabird and marine mammal data from airborne imagery obtained from offshore wind farm sites in the UK, Ireland, the US (East Coast) and South Australia (the sea between Victoria and Tasmania, Bass Strait). Examples of seabirds I encounter within the datasets can comprise of gannets, kittiwakes, and auks, whereas in the case of marine fauna, I can often encounter fin or minke whales, seals, sharks (e.g. Porbeagle, blue or basking shark) and large fish (e.g. Bluefin tuna, Ocean sunfish).

I then compile the data and resulting statistics into professional consultancy reports used in the consenting process by OWF (offshore wind farm) developers.

In terms of statistical tools, I use ‘Rstudio’ (R) and QGIS to estimate seabird and marine mammal abundance and density and then map their distribution. I also use Rstudio for data manipulation, visualisation, and wrangling (e.g. to combine monthly data into larger datasets comprising of several months). I also use Excel (sometimes it’s easier or faster to conduct data checks here than in R!)

The role involves working with large datasets and various kinds of reports in a fast-paced environment where we must meet reporting deadlines. Most of my work is to support senior staff.

What do you most like about your job?

I mostly enjoy working with data and problem-solving (e.g. R code troubleshooting, and other technical problems). I enjoy using R and QGIS, and managing and standardising large datasets.

What inspired you into this career? 

Passion for ornithology. I wanted to work with birds or bird data and there is plenty of the latter in my role!

Have you faced any challenges in progressing your career so far? 

I have faced challenges with code or data so mostly technical challenges that I had to figure out by either asking someone in my team or sometimes by trial and error.

No other type of challenges.

What education/training did you have?

A degree in Zoology and a Master’s in Applied Ecology & Conservation.

Received in-house training on running R codes, QGIS (e.g. creating various map types of species distribution) and reporting. Received training to work on tenders and costing for projects.

What advice would you give to someone coming into the profession? 

This role would suit someone with a genuine (demonstrable) passion for ornithology and/or the marine environment. Also, it would suit a person who likes to work with data or enjoys writing reports — if both, then that’s even better. It is all desk-based and the role involves being able to keep organised and being able to prioritize as there are many reporting deadlines to meet. In addition, you need to have a keen eye for detail to ensure high levels of quality and consistency month-to-month.

Header image: David Pereira carrying out Masters degree fieldwork in Grand Bahama’s pine forests.

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