The Resource Assistant Program seeks to engage ethnically and racially diverse young professionals in natural resource careers.
All interns must be fully vaccinated for covid-19 prior to the start of their internship.
Vehicle and Driver's License requirements:
Applicants should have personal transportation and must possess a valid U.S. Driver’s License.
The Resource Assistant will work to determine the manifestation of Ceratocystis-induced Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death (i.e., ROD) – its distribution, patterns, and impacts - among ʻŌhiʻa forests across Hawaii Island. They will help establish and monitor in a detailed fashion, over 250 ROD monitoring plots to characterize forest stands in which ROD is occurring and to determine ʻŌhiʻa annual mortality rates within those forests. We have identified and described the specific species of the fungal pathogen, Ceratocystis (i.e., C. lukuohia and C. huliohia) responsible for mortality of individual trees through time, and we have characterized physical (e.g., lava substrate and age, climate) and biological factors (e.g., stand age and forest composition) that correlate with distributions and impacts of the disease. Resulting information will be instrumental to informing additional critically needed management efforts. The Forest Service will train, guide, and assist the Resource Assistant. The Forest Service will provide transportation, office space, necessary equipment, and supplies needed by the Research Assistant in the execution of their project objectives and duties. The Research Assistant will also help to quantify the presence/absence of viable Ceratocystis inoculum in surface soils of areas where feral ungulates (i.e., pigs, cattle, sheep, goats) are present and active within ʻŌhiʻa -dominated forest stands at various locations around Hawaii Island. By doing so, the Research Assistant will help to directly determine whether feral ungulates are responsible for the local spread of viable Ceratocystis inoculum within and across given ʻŌhiʻa stands.
-Travels (drive/hike) to field sites with all necessary equipment to install and maintain forest inventory plots and measure trees and other plants in said forest inventory plots.
Uses hand-held data collectors to collect and process field data appropriately.
-Collects and processes soil and plant tissue samples in field and laboratory settings.
-Supports research efforts of mentor/supervisor as well as technicians, graduate students, collaborators of mentor/supervisor.
-Assists in preparation of manuscripts concerning a variety of ongoing research projects.
-Assists in preparation of necessary permits to conduct planned research projects/objectives.
-Interacts with collaborators, land managers, and the general public in the pursuit and execution of research project objectives.
Natural and Physical Work Environment:
The RA will often travel and work in backcountry natural areas and other remote locations across Hawaii, both independently and as part of a small team. Fieldwork, laboratory work, and administrative work in an office will constitute substantial portions of the Research Assistants responsibilities. Driving on and navigating forest roads and hiking will be required. Duties will require working throughout the day in the field and in high temperatures and both high sun and rain exposure.
Since 1956, IPIF has been serving the research, development, demonstration, and technical assistance needs of Hawaii and the US Affiliated Pacific, a highly diverse geographical area the size of the continental United States. The Institute is located in the small city of Hilo on the windward site of Hawaii Islands. The climate is mild, warm, and often rainy throughout the year.
Abilities and Skills
-Direct experience installing forest inventory plots, measuring vegetation within said inventory plots, and collecting data from said inventory plots in Hawaiian forests.
-Direct experience collecting, preparing, and processing soil samples in forests of Hawaii and in laboratory settings.
-Direct lab microscopy experience.
-Direct experience using hand-held electronic data collector tablets to collect field data.
-Direct experience hiking long distances and conducting arduous field work as part of a team in remote settings in Hawaii.
-Direct knowledge of Hawaii’s native and non-native flora, and experience identifying plant species in the field and across a variety of life stages.
-Direct experience carrying out proper field and lab sanitation protocols relating to fungal and viral pathogens.
-Direct experience and certification using chainsaws in professional work settings.
Education and Qualifications:
Associate’s Degree in Ecology, Forest Resources/Forestry, or Natural Resource Management. Must be enrolled or have completed a higher education degree within the last five years.