Wichita State University seeks three highly motivated technicians to assist in data collection for a collaborative research project investigating the response of birds, plants, and insects to cattle grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) grasslands in Kansas. Grazing disturbance on CRP lands is currently excluded or restricted, despite the historic role of bison grazing in prairie communities. Our study will test how high and low diversity seeding practices (CP25 and CP2, respectively) influence the restoration of 108 CRP sites across the longitudinal precipitation gradient in Kansas and the effects of periodic grazing on plants, insects, and birds.
Technicians will collect plant and insect data in three-person sampling crews, each led by a graduate researcher. Each crew will be responsible for sampling a subset of sites (36) in the western, central, or eastern region of Kansas. Reaching sites will require driving a few hours each day over paved and low maintenance (dirt, gravel) roads. Duties include, but are not limited to: collecting vegetative visual obstruction, abundance, and biomass data; sweep netting for aerial insects and collecting associated abiotic data (wind, temperature, etc.); hand netting for pollinators; data entry and quality control; and equipment preparation. Candidates must be able to hike up to a mile and a half one-way through tall grass with equipment to reach some sampling locations. Working hours will be spent almost exclusively in the field and involve early mornings, long hours when necessary, and in variable weather conditions. Weekend work may be required (dependent on weather delays). Technicians must be able to transport themselves to field housing and be ready to begin orientation on May 18, 2019 for a 10-week field season ending on July 28, 2019. Shared housing will be provided for technicians at field stations or rental houses near field sites in rural Kansas. Field vehicles will be provided. Technicians must be 21 years of age or older to drive field vehicles and will be compensated $4,400 for the season.
1) Academic training in or enthusiasm for biology and/or ecology,
2) Previous experience with plant and insect sampling preferred, but not required,
3) Fit to perform field work while maintaining exceptional work ethic in a variety of conditions, including heat, humidity, rain, and biting arthropods,
4) Excellent interpersonal skills and willingness to work and live with other technicians and interact positively with CRP landowners,
5) Attention to detail and able to follow a detailed data collection protocol,
6) Able to use a compass and GPS for field navigation,
7) Possess a valid driver’s license and willing to drive rental field vehicles on gravel and muddy roads,
8) Must be available from May 18 to July 28, 2019.
Technicians will gain experience with plant and insect field data collection techniques, large-scale ecological research, and communicating with private landowners.
To apply, email a 1-page cover letter, CV, and the names and contact information of three references with the subject line “Field Technician Jobs in Plant and Insect Ecology” to Molly Reichenborn at firstname.lastname@example.org. Application review will begin January 28, 2019. Positions will remain open until filled.