Field Ecologist I - Limnology

  • NEON
  • Fresno, CA, USA
  • Mar 13, 2019
Biology - Ecology Environmental Science - Engineering Fisheries - Marine Science - Aquatic Biology

Job Description

Primary Function

Battelle manages and operates the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) program, which is solely funded by the National Science Foundation. A 30+ year project dedicated to understanding how changes in climate, land use and invasive species impact ecology, the observatory’s scientists and engineers are collecting a comprehensive range of ecological data on a continental scale across 20 eco-climatic domains representing US ecosystems.  Our teams use cutting-edge technology, including an airborne observation platform that captures images of regional landscapes and vegetation; mobile, relocatable, and fixed data collection sites with automated ground sensors to monitor soil and atmosphere; and trained field crews who observe and sample populations of diverse organisms and collect soil and water data.  Once structures are completed, a leading edge cyberinfrastructure will calibrate, store and publish this information.  The Observatory includes more than 500+ personnel and is the first of its kind designed to detect and enable forecasting of ecological change at continental scales.

We are currently seeking a Field Ecologist I. This position is located in Fresno, CA.

Field Ecologists reports to the Field Operations Manager.

  • Field Ecologist I- The Field Ecologist I is a biological sampling lead performing seasonal and periodic sampling activities and sample processing. Seasonal field sampling is conducted with the assistance of temporary field crews under the guidance of the Field Ecologist.

Location

The NEON Program's Domain 17-CA primary work location is in Fresno, CA. This position supports sites in the Pacific Southwest Domain, which covers most of CA. Pacific Southwest sites are located at the San Joaquin Experimental Range and on the High Sierra Ranger District of the Sierra National Forest near Fresno, CA. These sites are distributed along an elevation gradient from the Sierra foothills to about 9000’ in the Sierras. Vegetation ranges from oak savannah and scrub at the lower elevations, coniferous forest (including giant Sequoias) and granite domes in the mid to upper elevations, and alpine vegetation and barren peaks at the highest elevations. The office is located less than 3 hours from Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks, the Pacific Coast, and the San Francisco area.

Major Responsibilities

Limnology emphasis:

  • Monitor and sample aquatic sites for water quality, biological indicators, physical properties of site (e.g. gaging streams, geomorphic mapping, etc.), and leading field crews to perform the aforementioned items.
  • Test, troubleshoot and operate instruments, calibration equipment and test fixtures.
  • Inspect and maintain aquatic sensors, gear and equipment.
  • Perform aquatic vegetation diversity and primary productivity measurements.
  • Sample for aquatic invertebrate and fish diversity and abundance. 

General duties include:

  • Report activities, completed work, and sampling problems according to Field Operations protocols.
  • Inspect, maintain and operate field, safety and laboratory equipment.
  • Operate laboratory equipment (e.g. Wiley Mill, drying oven, analytical balance, centrifugal mill, pH meter, microscope, and muffle furnace).
  • Assist the Field Operations Manager with recruiting and training of seasonal field personnel.
  • Provide instruction and technical guidance to seasonal field personnel.
  • Perform plot establishment by locating plots with GPS navigation as well as measuring and marking plots.
  • Assist the Field Operations Manager with materials planning, inventory and ordering as well as day-to-day oversight of personnel and scheduling of activities coordinated from the field office.
  • Follow NEON Project safety and Field Operations policy and procedures. 

Field activities may include:

  • Follow established, standardized field protocols for sample collection and handling; record and verify accuracy of data from sample collections; process samples in the laboratory; send samples to external analytical labs. Train and lead field crews performing the aforementioned items.
  • Perform other field sampling activities as assigned including: ground beetle collection (pitfall trapping), mosquito collection (CO2 light traps, tick collection (dragging and flagging) and soil core collection.
  • Test, troubleshoot and operate tower, soil and aquatic instruments, calibration equipment and test fixtures.
  • Inspect and maintain civil infrastructure including boom arms, sensor mounts, towers, boardwalks and instrument huts.
  • Monitor and sample aquatic sites for water quality, biological indicators and physical properties of site (e.g. gaging streams, geomorphic mapping). 

Physical demands:

The work is physical and involves walking, hiking, prolonged standing, walking and bending. Heavy items (e.g. equipment and packs up to 40 pounds) must be lifted and carried on a routine basis. 

Work environment:

Fieldwork includes exposure to extreme weather conditions and terrain, pesticides, poisonous plants, biting insects, and wild animals. Tower work involves performing work on instrument towers ranging in height from 24 feet to 300 feet, which will include ascending and descending multiple flights of stairs.

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Sector

Consulting