Natural resources and environmental related job listings. Includes internships, graduate fellowships, faculty positions and scholarships.
Research Technician (Tortoise Research), U.S. Geological Survey (GG-0404-05) – southern Nevada
United States Geological Survey (USGS)
$16.00-$21.00 hourly, plus paid vacation and sick days
Last Date to Apply
The U.S. Geological Survey is recruiting 1 field biological science technician (starting in July/August 2021) to assist with research for a project designed to understand habitat quality for Mojave desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) in southern Nevada. We are looking for staff to 1) assist in quantifying how habitat conditions (e.g. annual vegetation production and diversity) impact tortoise growth, clinical condition, and physiological status; 2) document preferred forage plants by conducting vegetation surveys and observing tortoise bite counts each month; and 3) monitoring the ecology, movement, and behavior of tortoises in select habitats.
In addition to the habitat quality project, the selected candidate will also assist with a research project at the Ft Irwin National Training Center and surrounding public lands in southern California as needed, and must be willing to travel up to 8 days per month or more. Specifically, we are looking for staff to work in conjunction with the Army to 1) Monitor tortoise movements using radio telemetry, 2) determine how animal displacement (i.e. translocation activities) may impact the ecology, physiology, health, and disease dynamics in tortoise populations, and 3) provide updated ecological and environmental data required to quantify habitat quality for tortoises in this region.
This position requires patience, organization, and a love of plant ID and tortoise ecology. Our field station is based in Henderson, Nevada. Duties will primarily be fieldwork based and will include, but are not limited to:
• Using radio telemetry to monitor tortoise movement and behavior;
• Identifying annual and perennial Mojave desert vegetation;
• Documenting tortoise forage preference using bite-count surveys;
• Attaching, removing, downloading, and troubleshooting radio transmitters and GPS data loggers;
• Evaluating tortoises for clinical health status (health assessments) and body condition;
• Collecting tissue samples (e.g. blood, oral swabs, and other biological samples) and morphological measurements;
• Conducting field surveys to document the location and condition Mojave desert tortoises and their habitat at multiple sites in Clark County, NV and San Bernardino County, CA;
• Conducting vegetation and disturbance surveys to document habitat conditions;
• Using software programs including Microsoft Office (e.g. Word, Excel), relational databases (e.g. FileMaker Pro), ArcGIS, and R to enter, organize, QA/QC, and analyze data;
• Assisting with the day-to-day operations of field research (e.g. preparing supplies, vehicles and equipment maintenance)
• Participating in other research projects as needed.
The data collected from these projects will be used to better understand tortoise population trends, movement patterns, diet, habitat suitability/quality and use, and home range characteristics, as well as aid in the understanding of how environmental conditions influence health, physiology, incidence and transmission of disease, population connectivity, and genetic diversity.
Schedules are highly variable, can change will little notice, and will sometimes require early mornings (3AM) start times, long days, and a few weekends of work.
This position will be classified as a Biological Science Technician GG-0404-05 and will be temporary, not-to-exceed 180 working days (~ 9 months).
9 months of field experience OR 3 years of sub-professional experience OR 3 years of college with courses related to biological sciences (equivalent to 90 semester/135 quarter hours) plus 3 months of lab or field work experience. Subprofessional experience consists of working as a technician or aid in the field or in a laboratory or similar environment. A valid U.S. driver’s license and pre-employment physical are required. All applicants must be U.S. citizens.
We are seeking applicants in great physical condition and capable of hiking long distances over rugged desert terrain, all while carrying a 30-lb pack. A positive attitude, flexibility, attention to detail, interest in ecological research, ability to follow data collection protocols, and the ability to work well both independently and as part of a team are also requirements. Experience with Mojave Desert annual and perennial plant identification, broad botanical training, desert tortoises (or other turtles), analysis of ecological data, R scripting and uses is preferred.
Application instructions: For each position on your resume, please include the number of hours worked per week, as well as exact start and end dates (month/day/year).
Email resumes and the contact information for at least three references to Kristina Drake and Caleigh Quick via email@example.com by 11:59 PM PST on Monday, June 14, 2021. Applicants will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Please include reference number #WERC 73-21-0 BST Henderson in the subject line.