The Field Research Assistant (FRA) will help PhD researcher Kyle Hogrefe, from Oregon State University, conduct field research and implement two computer based habitat assessment models, PHYGROW (Phytomass Growth Model; http://blackland.tamu.edu/models/phygrow/) and LandTrendr (Landsat-based Detection and Trends in Disturbance and Recovery; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eh4EqVCXLk). Both models use satellite imagery and in-situ environmental data to enable rangeland habitat assessment and monitoring. The International Center for the Advancement of Pastoral Systems (ICAPS), a consortium of ranchers based in Enterprise, Oregon, has assisted with several PHYGROW implementations in other countries, and LandTrendr, developed by members of our research team at OSU, has been applied throughout the NW United States. Hogrefe and the FRA will collaborate with ICAPS and other local partners, including the U.S. Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, and Wallowa Resources, to implement the models in Wallowa County, Oregon.
FRA duties will center on the conduct of range assessment surveys to collect data describing landcover, vegetative species, forage condition and soil characteristics needed to run the models and tune them to local conditions (80% of work time). Many of the survey sites will be quite remote with access by dirt roads, long hikes and/or horseback and survey activities will take several hours per site, requiring multi-day expeditions with long hours and rough camping conditions. Training on survey technologies and techniques will be provided and must be successfully completed by the candidate (5%). While not in the field, daily duties will include data quality control, data entry into spreadsheets, and integration of data into the models and will be conducted out of the Wallowa Resources offices (in Enterprise, Oregon) during a regular 8-hour day (15%). Available FRA work hour’s average to 32 hours per week for 10 weeks, but Hogrefe and the FRA will create a flexible schedule to accommodate intensive survey periods followed by commensurate time off as dictated by field logistics.
Decision making Guidelines
Decisions will be made under the direct guidance of a supervisor. However, once the FRA demonstrates proficiency in survey protocols and sampling techniques, they may conduct survey and sampling protocols independently. PHYGROW protocol training will be conducted by the model's stewards from Texas A&M University (on June 21 and 22 in Wallowa County) and LandTrendr protocol training will be conducted by Hogrefe and other O.S.U. staff, both of which will provide methods field guides for the FRA. Field guides for plant identification will also be provided.
Student must meet the minimum enrollment requirements at their university. The candidate ought to have a 3.2 GPA with coursework relevant to the natural, range or agricultural sciences and resource management and some background in the conduct of field surveys and sampling. They must also be familiar with MS Word and Excel.
The ideal candidate will be proficient in MS Word and Excel, have experience with GPS technology and the ArcGIS software suite, be capable in the outdoors and on horseback, and be available for both summer 2017 and 2018 field seasons (June 15 – September 31), but training will be provided and this full suite of skills is not expected.
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