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We are hiring two technicians for a research project studying the effects of landscape composition and patch characteristics on the occupancy, abundance, behavior, and survival of woodrats in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. This technician is needed to specifically assist in small mammal trapping, population monitoring, behavioral surveys, and vegetation sampling. The technician should be effective and skillful in data collection, including trapping and handling small mammals, radio telemetry, and conducting vegetative surveys. In addition, the technician will be required to take detailed field notes, operate independently, and work in remote areas in steep, rugged terrain.
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Specific job responsibilities will include deploying and checking small mammal traps, tagging woodrats, collecting morphological information, and releasing individuals back into the wilderness. The technician will also assist in behavioral studies of foraging behavior and population monitoring, which consists of deploying and retrieving VHF collars and tracking the survival and activity of individual woodrats throughout the study period. Upon completion of the trapping portion of the field season, the technician will help to conduct vegetation surveys at sites of interest. Some of these include measuring and taking detailed notes on vegetation and environmental conditions following established scientific protocols, and as instructed. The technician will also record field notes onto survey forms, enter transcribed data into computer databases, and validate the recorded data by reconciling computer databases with handwritten survey forms. The technician is also expected to submit all required survey forms, map locations, timesheets, and other related paperwork, including computer data entry at the end of each week to the supervisor, as well as clean equipment and care for traps and equipment that are used on the project.
Goal: A. 50% Small mammal trapping and handling.
Activity: A1. Conduct large-scale operations of live-trapping woodrats safely, tagging woodrats with ear tags, collecting morphological information, and releasing them back into the wilderness. Also, safely release other small mammals caught in the Sherman traps.
Activity: A2. Deploy VHF collars onto woodrats; track collared individuals and monitor location and survival every other day. Assist with collar recovery and mortality detections, and other tasks deemed necessary.
Goal: B. 25% Nonconsumptive effects of predation
Activity: B1. Deploy food trays, camera traps, and prepare food matrices to measure foraging activity.
Activity: B2. Prep, monitor, and refill deployed foraging trays daily. Record data and assist with measurements and weighing remaining food.
Activity: B3. Assist with experimental manipulation projects.
Goal: C. 20% Conduct vegetation surveys, while following established protocols in remote mountainous locations.
Activity: C1. Measure and take detailed notes on vegetation and environmental conditions by following established scientific protocols, and as instructed. Transcribe field notes onto survey forms, enter transcribed data into computer databases, and validate the recorded data by reconciling computer databases with handwritten survey forms.
Goal: D 5%. Submit paperwork and equipment care.
Activity: D1. Submit all required survey forms, map locations, timesheets, and other related paperwork, including computer data entry at the end of each week to the supervisor.
Activity: D2. Clean equipment and care for traps and equipment that are used on the project. Clean interior and exterior of vehicles. The technician must report any equipment that needs maintenance, has been lost, or is damaged to the supervisor.
Specific work conditions:
1. Most of your duties will involve working in the field and driving to and from work sites. We send out crews of one to two people to conduct fieldwork. You will start surveying in the early morning and depending on the day, work into the late afternoon or even dusk. Some days you will be required to survey independently from your partner. Even when working with a partner, while you will most likely be within radio contact, you may be on a different road, or on a trail, or even off-road while your partner is surveying somewhere else. There will be times when you will be alone, by yourself, in the forest. There are bears, mountain lions, and occasionally we encounter strange people in the forest.
2. You will also be required to conduct vegetation surveys, possibly throughout the season, and it is likely you will spend 3 or 4 straight weeks near the end of the season doing veg work.
3. You will also have daily duties involving data processing, and routine cleaning duties. We require that our crews transcribe their field notes onto survey forms, maps, and into a journal on a daily basis. We also enter survey form data into a computer database and later validate the data. Crew members also take turns with cleaning mouse cages and vehicles.
4. Weather conditions are quite variable. Spring weather can be very cold, snowy, or wet, and summer weather can be hot and dry. It can also be very buggy in some areas.
5. Hours may be variable day to day, and while you are asked to work 40 hours a week, there may be some weeks where you work a little more than 40 and some where you work a little less than 40. Crews are paid for up to 40 hours a week. We cannot pay overtime or per diem. There are no health or retirement benefits with this position, but there is workers compensation for work-related injuries. There are two unpaid holidays during the field season, Monday the 4th of July, and Monday, May 30th for Memorial Day.
6. You will be expected to adhere to strict COVID policies; including but not limited to strict mask-wearing outside of the field, no trips, and avoiding close contact with any individuals outside of your research pod.
-Applicants must be physically fit (i.e., able to walk long distances in steep terrain).
-Demonstrated ability to take detailed field notes and translate these into electronic databases.
-Ability to work alone and off-trail at night far from human settlements.
-Ability and confidence navigating unfamiliar terrain with a map, compass, and GPS.
-Ability to safely operate 4-wheel-drive vehicles.
-Ability to handle wildlife
-A nearly spotless driving record is required.
-Must work and live cooperatively.
-Preference is given to applicants with prior experience in small mammal trapping and handling and radio telemetry.