Field Research Technician: Colorado

North Carolina State University
Crested Butte, Colorado
Job Category
Temporary/Seasonal Positions
$14.50/hr + housing
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
The Diversity in Changing Environments Lab: (PI: Dr. Will Petry at North Carolina State University; is searching for a temporary, full-time research technician to assist with our field work in Colorado from mid-June through early September 2023. We study plant population dynamics in changing environments from the individual to landscape scales. We use the long-lived plant Valeriana edulis to study how individuals respond to changing climate across their life cycle and how these responses scale up to drive population dynamics and the landscape-scale distribution of the species. Since 2013, we have collected detailed climatic and demographic data—growth, survival, reproduction, & germination—from several thousand permanently-marked individuals near the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL; ca. 8 miles north of Crested Butte, Colorado). We use these long-term census data along with experimental manipulations and climate data to understand the current patterns of population composition, to forecast the near-term trajectories of populations, and to predict how climate change will redistribute this species across the landscape. Our summer research involves intensive data collection of plant demographic variables from marked individuals in our study populations across Gunnison County, Colorado at elevations ranging from ca. 6,200-12,500 feet above sea level. Most of our work is done in the field, with a small amount of indoor lab and data management work. Working Coniditions: Field work will require driving on rough roads and strenuous hiking to remote and isolated study sites. Although most field sites are near roads, several are a few miles away from the nearest road access and require up to 10 miles round-trip hiking on steep trails while at elevations up to 12,500 feet above sea level. Measuring plants requires repeated bending, crouching, squatting, and kneeling on uneven ground. The locations of our study sites mean that access to bathroom facilities and cell phone reception may be limited for long periods of the workday. We work under a wide range of weather conditions, provided that we can do so safely. Work conditions may include temperatures ranging from 40ºF to >90ºF, high winds, direct sun, and precipitation. Most days the fieldwork will be conducted in pairs or small groups, though some fieldwork alone will be required. We provide safety training, a first aid kit, task-specific personal protective equipment, and an emergency communicator/transponder as part of our field safety plan. Living Conditions: Housing at the RMBL is an eclectic mix of cabins and tents/yurts. The housing is rustic, with simple cooking facilities (or access to a shared kitchen) and outhouses in lieu of indoor toilets. RMBL staff work directly with all residents to assign housing. A full description of the housing stock, assignment process, and policies is available here: Up to 12 weeks of housing provided through RMBL (including station use fees) Reimbursement for transportation costs to/from the RMBL up to $400 Use of a field vehicle for performing job duties We welcome applicants with or without prior field research experience.
Required: Bachelor’s degree, degree in progress, or at least 6-months of work experience in biology, ecology, botany, environmental science, or a related field Willingness to drive the field vehicle on mountain roads that may be unpaved, windy, or narrow to access field sites Ability to work in small teams or (occasionally) alone in the field Preferred: Ability to operate a survey GPS/GNSS to collect spatial data Experience using GIS software to produce maps and visualize spatial data Experience with data entry, organization, quality control, and management using spreadsheet software Experience driving 4×4 vehicles Wilderness First Responder or Wilderness First Aid certification General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) license for operating long-distance handheld radios
Contact Person
William Petry
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