Visiting Assistant Scientist, Ecologist
Illinois Natural History Survey Prairie Research Institute
Salary: $42,500 to $47,500 a year
INHS is seeking a Visiting Assistant Scientist, Ecologist to be part of the field research team in the INHS Urban Biotic Assessment Program for the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (ISTHA). The ISHTA program focuses on conducting biological surveys and environmental assessments, especially for threatened and endangered species and natural areas, within the region ISHTA services. The successful individual will conduct biological surveys describing typical and noteworthy organismal communities present and their species composition. Major focus is on the occurrence and abundance of species in greatest conservation need (SGNCs) including threatened and endangered species. Also conduct quantitative and longer-term assessments of wetland mitigation sites. Position is based in Champaign, Illinois.
This is a visiting full-time contract-funded academic professional appointment subject to the continued availability of funding and programmatic need. Position may become a regular, non-visiting position at a later date depending on funding and programmatic need. The starting date is negotiable after the closing date.
Major Duties and Responsibilities:
- Identify focal organismal taxa to the species level, interpret survey and quantitative study results, and provide mitigation, minimization, avoidance, and conservation determinations.
- Review literature, collections, and databases to evaluate the historical and contemporary distribution of occurrence elements.
- Conduct field work throughout the state, some of which may be under adverse conditions (inclement weather, remoteness, site security concerns, moderate physical exertion), and include overnight stays.
- Ensure the safety of staff and equipment.
- Compile the results into technical reports.
- Build research interests and focus on projects that fall under one or more of the following: direct application to efforts to minimize environmental impacts on animal biodiversity, an understanding of animal biodiversity in an urban landscape, ecological and life history strategies of SGNC animals, and/or restoration ecology of wetland mitigation sites.
- Secure external funding and build independent research program as time permits.
- Respond to requests for scientific/technical information and speaking engagements, as well as serving on internal committees.
- Participate in community outreach and service events.
- Mentor hourly staff.
- Master's degree in zoology or related discipline, with a research interest in ecology, conservation, or both. Alternate degree fields will be considered/accepted depending on the nature and depth of the experience as it relates to this position.
- Three years relevant experience in a related field. Relevant experience may include applicable college internships, field coursework, assistantships, or volunteer work.
- Expertise with a strong knowledge of the fauna of Illinois (particularly the Great Lakes Region), including endangered and threatened species and their habitat requirements.
- Must have the ability to identify organisms from at least three (more preferred) of the following taxa: amphibians, fishes, freshwater mussels, mammals, and reptiles.
- Must be familiar with the most current and appropriate sampling methods at least three (more taxa and varied sampling methodologies are preferred) of the aforementioned taxa.
- Must have a strong knowledge of techniques used for molecular ecological studies such as, but not limited to, DNA sampling methodologies, DNA extraction techniques, and PCR/qPCR competency.
- Must have strong quantitative analytical skills and be competent with statistical software packages such as R, SPSS, SYSTAT, or SAS.
- Must have strong GIS skills (e.g., Arc-GIS) and the ability to interpret maps and aerial photographs.
- Ability to work independently, collect and analyze field data, and coherently translate findings both verbally and in writing to granting agencies and to scientific and public communities.
- Ability to apply analytical/scientific thinking to define and solve problems.
- Effective communication, collaboration, personal relations, and team work skills.
- Proficiency in commonly-employed software and databases.
- Valid driver's license.
- Must be a strong swimmer and possess kayaking and outboard motor boating skills.
- Familiarity with collecting techniques for museum deposition.
- SCUBA certification.
How to Apply:
Applicants may be interviewed before the closing date; however, no hiring decision will be made until after this date. To apply, please visit https://jobs.illinois.edu/academic-job-board/job-details?jobID=90145&job=visiting-assistant-scientist-ecologist-illinois-natural-history-survey-a1800007 to complete an online profile and to upload 1) a cover letter that clearly articulates how your qualifications and experience make you a viable candidate for this position and should address the qualifications listed above, 2) a résumé/CV, and 3) the names and contact information (including e-mail addresses) of three professional references. All requested information/documentation must be submitted for applications to be considered. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.