Volunteer Aquatic Ecology Lab and Field Assistant: Working in/near Glacier National Park with The University of Montana and the Flathead Lake Biological Station (a field station), Polson, MT

Flathead Lake Biological Station, The University of Montana
Polson, MT
Job Category
Volunteer Openings
$300 monthly stipend + lodging
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
Description: • Start Date: approximately April 1st, 2019 (field season: April 1st – Oct 31st) o *We will consider hiring for part of the field season • Last date to apply: February 28th, 2019 (positions open until filled) • You will gain experience and training in multiple lab techniques and field sampling techniques from insect respirometry and identification to sampling in streams, ponds and aquifers and water sampling for environmental DNA (eDNA) testing. • Exposure to conservation ecologists from different agencies including USGS, GNP, and possibly the USFS. • This position provides lodging at the Flathead Lake Biological Station and also at our Field Camp just outside Glacier National Park. Mileage is paid for any travel among field sites in personal vehicles and a monthly stipend of $300 per month. As part of an NSF-funded project, The University of Montana is seeking up to two highly motivated volunteers to assist with laboratory studies at FLBS and work on a field crew on the Flathead River near Glacier National Park, MT. River floodplains are among the most diverse yet endangered landscapes on the earth, however the invertebrate communities have not been extensively studied yet using genetic techniques. These volunteers will assist in collecting data for a study concerning the impact of climate change on the diversity among macroinvertebrates in river floodplains. Data collected during field activities will be analyzed using novel genomic tools and modeling frameworks to assess the genetics, populations, and functional trait diversity among floodplain arthropods. The volunteers will learn taxonomy and identify samples to be extracted for DNA analysis, help run respirometry experiments in the lab, and also will collect samples in the field. Volunteers will have free time to hike, fish, float the wild and scenic rivers. They will also be exposed to multiple agency researchers and mangers to help understand different career options in biology. The field season will run from the beginning of April through the end of October with varying duties throughout the season. Preference will be given to those applicants who can commit to all or most of the field season Field sites are located on tributaries and floodplains of the Middle Fork, North Fork, South Fork and main Flathead River, and also in other rivers in MT. We will sample macroinvertebrates in tributaries and the main river using kick nets, sweep nets, and drift nets. Groundwater wells will be sampled to remove larval and adult macroinvertebrates from the river aquifer. Volunteers will also have opportunities to interact with students and faculty at the Flathead Lake Biological Station (FLBS). FLBS is one of the oldest active biological field research stations in the United States. It was established near Bigfork in 1899 and moved to Flathead Lake’s Yellow Bay in 1908. The station conducts multiple college courses, graduate programs, workshops, and research on genes to landscapes focused on the Crown of the Continent ecosystem and other systems from Yellowstone to China and worldwide. This position is an excellent opportunity to gain valuable experienced and knowledge of river ecology, aquatic ecology field techniques, and to make valuable connections with professionals working in aquatic ecology, conservation biology, and genetics. It is also a great opportunity to work, explore, and live in one of the most beautiful areas of the country. This work is part of an NSF-funded project to study river biodiversity led by PI Dr. Gordon Luikart, co-PI’s Dr. Jack Stanford and Dr. Brian Hand, and post-doctoral scholar, Dr. Rachel Malison.
Applicants should have a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, Ecology, or a related field, or be currently enrolled in a bachelors program in one of these fields. Completion of at least 4 total semesters in biology, chemistry, environmental science, or equivalent is required. Preference will be given to students who have demonstrated passion and proficiency in field-related activities in their major program. Familiarity and passion for working with and identifying aquatic macroinvertebrates is desirable. Applicants would ideally have his/her own vehicle, and be willing to drive to locations where help is needed throughout the season. Mileage for field work in personal vehicles will be reimbursed. Volunteers will be responsible for keeping all sampling gear organized and ready on a daily basis, collecting samples, identifying macroinvertebrates, entering data, and keeping detailed field notes. Applicants should be mature, hardworking individuals with good organizational skills and attention to detail. They should work well as part of a team, and have a positive attitude, a desire to learn, and a good sense of humor. A good applicant will be in good health, and be capable of hiking in rough terrain through thick vegetation and be able to lift up to 50 lbs. Applicants should have experience wading in swift currents over slippery rocks. They should also be comfortable using their hands in cold water for extended periods of time. Long hours are common during different sampling events, and fieldwork will be conducted regardless of the weather. Applicants should be comfortable working in inclement weather. Mosquitoes can be persistent through parts of the field season, and fieldwork will be conducted in bear country. Applicants must be comfortable carrying bear spray and willing to follow bear safety protocol. Applicants should be excited to live in a field camp with wall tents, limited power, no indoor plumbing (a shower is available), and no cell phone or internet service (there is a landline at the camp and cell phone service is available nearby in West Glacier). Most of all, applicants should have a passion for aquatic ecology, interest in learning about biodiversity conservation, macroinvertebrates, and river floodplains, and be confident in their ability to fit the job description above. To Apply: If interested in this position please send the following to Dr. Rachel Malison, at rachel.malison@umontana.edu: An application should include a Cover Letter describing your interest and qualifications for this position (including any taxonomy experience), your resume, and at least one professional reference, all attached as a single PDF document. Please include your DATES OF AVAILABILITY in this email and the letter.
Contact Person
Rachel L. Malison
Contact Phone
406 872-4518
Contact eMail
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