Associate Herpetologist

  • Illinois Natural History Survey
  • Champaign, Illinois, United States
  • Jan 30, 2017
Full time Biology/Ecology Wildlife/Endangered Species

Job Description

The Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) is part of the Prairie Research Institute (PRI) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, centrally located between Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis. PRI houses 5 large scientific surveys covering a wide range of expertise including biology, water resources, climate, geology, sustainable technology and archaeology. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a large campus with many opportunities and programs.  The twin cities offer a variety of features including theaters, museums, restaurants, concert venues, parks, and recreation facilities.  The expanding industrial and business commerce throughout the area is an exciting proposition for Urbana-Champaign, yet we still are able to preserve a small-town feel.  Even with this growth, the area maintains a sense of community with smaller, established neighborhoods dominating the interior of both towns, while larger suburban housing is available on the outskirts. There are also delightful small towns within 20 miles of campus. The commute to work is not an issue in Urbana-Champaign! Most employees live within a 20 miles radius, and are able to make the trek within 20 minutes. Our area also has the pleasure of experiencing all four seasons, with average winters and summers in comparison to other US locales. The local public schools within C-U and surrounding areas offer a wide range of gifted programs, and there are several private schools within the area.
This is a regular, academic professional, full-time grant supported 12-month position, renewable annually based upon satisfactory progress in the position and continued funding.  The estimated starting date is March 1, 2017 (slightly negotiable). A valid driver's license is required for this position.
Major duties and responsibilities:
Independently lead scientific field research including survey design and implementation; direct supervision of staff including tasking and scheduling of staff; and maintaining appropriate staffing levels to ensure project success.
Conduct sampling of herpetological species utilizing standard collection techniques, and record habitat, biotic, and environmental data.
Identification of herpetofauna using a variety of capture methods.
Ensure field safety training is provided and protocols are followed by all team members.
Confirm appropriate maintenance and usage of field equipment.
Enter data while providing quality assurance/quality control of research material.
Prepare technical reports for agency deliverables in conjunction with other staff researchers.
Under the direction and approval of the Survey Director and/or university official, participate in outreach activities to benefit the mission and visibility of the Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute, and University of Illinois.
As time and the contract(s) permit, may design and carry out independent research; apply for and obtain extra-mural funding; report findings in scientific journals and at professional meetings; provide technical information in area of expertise; make presentations to service, nature or science groups, schools, or other public meetings; and serve professional and scientific societies in such duties as reviewing or editing papers, moderating panels, and serving as a committee member or officer. May perform any of these activities not expressly permitted by the contract if time permits and funding is available to buy out contract service.
Must be able to work in inclement weather, carry equipment up to 20 pounds for short distances, and travel to onsite locations throughout the state of Illinois.
Education:  Required: Master's degree in Ecology, Natural Resources, Zoology or related field
Experience: Required: Minimum of six years of experience working with chelonians (primarily the Blanding's Turtle). A minimum of three years of experience working with state and local land management agencies in the Chicago Region.
Training, Licenses or Certifications: Required: Valid driver's license or ability to travel to field sites is required. Ability to swim in strong currents. Preferred: SCUBA certified. Certified Wildland Firefighter (L180, S190, S130, and I100 Federal training)
Knowledge Requirements: Required: The position will involve extensive fieldwork under a variety of environmental conditions (hot, cold, rain) and biting insects. Must be able to follow instructions with attention to detail, have a strong work ethic, a positive attitude, and be able to work in the field independently. Familiarity with biotic assessment programs associated with transportation-related activities. Extensive knowledge of GIS and GPS technology. Extensive knowledge and proven ability to design, lead, and conduct wildlife radio-telemetry studies. Extensive knowledge of ecological data analysis techniques. Demonstrated ability to disseminate research findings in professional forums (i.e. conferences and symposia). Strong written communication skills. Ability to swim and have a high comfort level in and around strong water currents. Willingness to work long hours and some weekends. Demonstrate a strong interest in herpetological research, especially in an urban setting. Preferred: Comfortable kayaking and canoeing. Proven ability to operate an outboard motor boat. Ability to construct and maintain net traps associated with aquatic turtle sampling. Extensive knowledge of R, ArcGIS, and FileMaker Pro.
Benefits: Generous vacation and sick leave.  State Universities Retirement System.  Group health, dental, vision and life insurance.
Applications must be received by February 8, 2017. To apply, all candidates must submit an online profile through by the close of the posting period. Qualified candidates must upload a cover letter detailing qualifications and skills; curriculum vitae; working e-mail address; and the names, addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of three professional references.  All requested information must be submitted for your application to be considered. Incomplete information will not be reviewed. Applications may be reviewed prior to closing.  For further information please contact Erica Hanson, Human Resources, Illinois Natural History Survey, 217-333-6897,  For technical questions, please contact: Dr. Mike Dreslik at
The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer.
Illinois is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status as a protected veteran,  status as a qualified individual with a disability, or criminal conviction history. Illinois welcomes individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas who embrace and value diversity and inclusivity. (
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$44,000 to $47,500, commensurate with experience. Generous vacation and sick leave. State Universities Retirement System. Group health, dental, vision and life insurance.

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