Plant demography technician at the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab (Gothic, Colorado)

North Carolina State University
Gothic, Colorado
Job Category
Temporary/Seasonal Positions
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
The Diversity in Changing Environments Lab at North Carolina State University ( is seeking two (2) temporary research assistants for the June-August 2021 field season. The successful applicants will assist with the collection of plant demographic data from Valeriana edulis populations in western Colorado. The position is paid, full time (40 hr/wk), and includes on-site housing at the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab + reimbursement of travel costs. APPLICATION REVIEW began on May 9th, but will continue until the position is filled. Duties: • Collect demographic data from permanently-tagged plants growing in remote natural populations • Assist in tagging plants in new populations • Maintain plant tags, plots, and data loggers • Driving the field vehicle to access research sites, including on mountain roads that may be narrow, windy, and unpaved • Digitize and assist with the management of field data • Assist with the setup of a high elevation seed germination experiment 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. See the full posting at for full details and to submit an application. Contact Will Petry ( with any questions.
• Bachelor’s degree (or degree in progress) in biology, ecology, botany, environmental science, or a related field • Strong motivation to do field work • 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 and occasionally alone in the field • Ability to independently schedule tasks to efficiently meet data collection goals and priorities • A commitment to safety and inclusion of all team members
Contact Person
Will Petry
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