Disease Ecologist: Bozeman, MT

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Bozeman, MT
Job Category
Full time Positions
Last Date to Apply
Job Duties: The Disease Ecologist is a key member of the Wildlife Health Program (WHP) team and is the FWP lead for developing statewide surveillance programs for priority wildlife diseases and health of focal wildlife species to develop and directly inform disease and wildlife management programs and policies. The disease ecologist will lead research into patterns, effects, and management of wildlife diseases, and is the recognized Department expert on these topics. Using information collected through disease surveillance, they will make management recommendations to reduce risks of disease to wildlife and people. They will also help develop policies to address wildlife disease risk and prevention. They will conduct risk assessments for emerging wildlife diseases to inform FWP plans and approaches. Some current priorities for the Disease Ecologist include serving as the FWP lead in a collaborative research project into rates and drivers of comingling between bighorn sheep and domestic sheep, leading the design of the statewide surveillance and monitoring program for CWD, conducting epidemiological analyses to improve the design of CWD surveillance and targeted management, and leading the evaluation of CWD management in Montana. The disease ecologist will assist with design and implementation of annual targeted monitoring and statewide surveillance activities for brucellosis, provide support for the ongoing elk brucellosis research project, and continue to develop and work on collaborative brucellosis-related projects that will help inform wildlife management and decision-making related to brucellosis. The Disease Ecologist will help lead statewide white-nose syndrome (WNS) surveillance efforts by coordinating with partner agencies and supervising field technicians to complete sampling goals, assisting the Nongame Bureau Chief with paired acoustic monitoring to measure the impacts of WNS on Montana’s bats, and working with national partners to evaluate effectiveness of management tools to mitigate WNS impacts on bats. This position supervises variable numbers of technicians, seasonal, and short-term workers depending on the requirements of disease surveillance programs that are being conducted.
Minimum Qualifications (Education and Experience): The knowledge, skills, and abilities of this position are normally attained through combination of education and experience equivalent a master's degree or equivalent experience in Fish and Wildlife Management, Disease Ecology, Wildlife Biology, Zoology, Biology, or closely related field and 2 years of job related work experience, as well as aptitude and skills in quantitative analyses, must be demonstrated. A PhD will substitute for 1 year of the required experience. Equivalent experience is defined as five (5) years of progressively responsible experience as a fish or wildlife biologist, or senior fish or wildlife technician, in addition to successful completion of a single research effort that includes: - Literature review and development of a problem statement and hypothesis for a particular issue. - Development of a detailed study plan or sampling protocol for a field-oriented project based on the above-noted hypothesis. - Data collection and the effective management of data with an appropriate application. - Interpretation and analysis of data, including a quantitative assessment of that information. - As primary author, completion of one or more publications in a peer-reviewed journal. - If appropriate to the project, formulation of any recommended changes in management prescriptions and/or actions. - Oral presentation on results of investigation to agency staff and public audience Please submit the following required documents on the State of Montana Careers website: Resume Cover Letter Supplemental Questions (Maximum 1 page response per question): The successful applicant will be interacting frequently with a variety of interests, including local sportsmen groups, traditional and non-traditional ranchers, farmers, agricultural organizations, state and federal agencies, academic scientists, and NGOs. Discuss your experience and philosophy for collaboration with varied groups of people and organizations. Describe one example of a successful collaboration you have been a part of to demonstrate your experience and philosophy in this arena. Wildlife management and conservation is often controversial due to the varied interests of the involved stakeholders and uncertainty regarding some aspects of wildlife biology and ecology. Wildlife health and disease issues are increasingly complicating this picture. Describe how a wildlife disease ecologist can effectively integrate with established wildlife management and conservation programs to make progress on difficult issues. What is your vision of a successful wildlife health program in a state wildlife agency? Describe your understanding of the role(s) that wildlife research plays in wildlife management and conservation. Provide an example of how you have seen research results applied to a specific decision regarding wildlife conservation or management and highlight the key aspects of the research that facilitated its use by decision makers. Describe your experience with wildlife disease or wildlife monitoring project design, implementation, and completion. Include specific reference to products, data analysis experience, and how your project findings have been applied to wildlife management decision-making or programs. When submitting the required documents, you must check the “relevant document” box to ensure your attachments are uploading correctly to the specific application for this position. Applications missing the requested documents will be considered incomplete and may not progress further in the process. Documents not requested will be not considered in the recruitment process. Special Information: Identity of applicants who become finalists may be released to the public if the Department deems it necessary. Employees scheduled at least half-time for more than 6 months consecutively are also provided paid health, dental and life insurance. Other benefits include retirement, paid vacation, sick and holidays. This position may be covered by a VEBA (Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association). A successful applicant will be subject to a background investigation. Women and minorities are under-represented in this job category and are encouraged to apply. This position is based in Bozeman, Montana, at the statewide Wildlife Health Lab. The duties for this position are statewide, so substantial travel will be required. Working conditions are routinely hazardous. Exposure to potentially harmful pathogens, chemical agents and offensive sights, odors and sounds are routine. Extreme caution and rigorous protocol must be followed to prevent exposure to serious health hazards indoors and outdoors. Work will often require use of light aircraft at low altitudes and in hazardous flying conditions and sitting in confined spaces with exposure to high noise levels. Fieldwork is often carried out alone in rugged terrain during unpredictable and inclement weather conditions. Hours of work are often long and irregular and include evening meetings and occasional weekend and holiday work. Capturing and handling large mammals may involve hazardous flying conditions in light aircraft and the use of potentially lethal immobilization chemicals. Injuries may occur when handling large mammals such as deer, elk, bears, lions, moose, and sheep in any capture operation.
Contact Person
Brianna Johnson
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