Ecological Modeler/Biodiversity Data Scientist (Location: Flexible)

  • NatureServe
  • Remote (Arlington, VA, USA)
  • Nov 16, 2021
Full time Wildlife - Endangered Species - Biodiversity

Job Description

ABOUT NATURESERVE   

Since the early 1970’s, NatureServe has been the authoritative source for biodiversity data throughout North America. To protect threatened biodiversity, NatureServe works with over 60 organizations and 1,000+ conservation scientists in the U.S. and Canada to collect, analyze, and deliver standardized biodiversity information, providing comprehensive spatial data to meet both regulatory and conservation needs. NatureServe and its network partners develop and manage data for over 100,000 species and ecosystems, answering fundamental questions about what exists, where it is found, and how it is doing. 

NatureServe works with environmental groups, governments, scientists, the public, and industry to leverage the power of science, data, and technology to guide biodiversity conservation and stewardship.  We believe that by engaging early and with sound science, we can achieve the best outcomes for biodiversity.  For almost 50 years, leading conservationists and decision makers have turned to the NatureServe Network as the most reliable source for biodiversity data and expertise. 

  

THE NATURESERVE NETWORK 

The NatureServe Network is comprised of program staff (1000+) who are experts in their fields and includes some of the most knowledgeable field biologists in North America.  Throughout the Americas, NatureServe works with this extensive set of partners to develop hemisphere-wide data sets. In the rest of the world, NatureServe contributes to foundational biodiversity knowledge products, implements biodiversity dashboards to visualize data, and supports regions and nations in measuring the effectiveness of their conservation activities. 

 

SUMMARY OF POSITION: 

The Ecological Modeler/Biodiversity Data Scientist is the technical lead on NatureServe’s Species Habitat Modeling Initiative, which aims to build and maintain a library of expert-reviewed high-resolution models of the habitat and distribution of rare and endangered species in North America. As such, the Ecological Modeler/Biodiversity Data Scientist is primarily responsible for building cutting-edge species habitat/distribution models, maintaining and developing NatureServe’s collaborative species habitat modeling workflows, and analyzing and visualizing models to showcase their potential applications for management and regulatory purposes. More broadly, the Ecological Modeler/Biodiversity Data Scientist will contribute to the analysis and visualization of NatureServe’s species and ecosystem data organization wide, with the aim to guide critical decisions on the management and conservation of the most rare and imperiled species in North America. The position will also be responsible for coordinating activities related to ecological modeling and data science around the NatureServe Network, including facilitating technical working groups related to NatureServe’s Modeling Initiative, leading the development and communication of modeling best practices, and presenting methods and outcomes to scientific and non-scientific audiences. We seek a candidate with demonstrated expertise using the R statistical and programming environment to fit species habitat/distribution models and integrate, analyze, and visualize large datasets on the distribution and conservation status of species and ecosystems from a variety of sources.  

 

ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS: 

1. Build models of the distribution and habitat of rare and imperiled terrestrial and freshwater species in North America. 

2. Develop, streamline, and maintain NatureServe’s collaborative species habitat modeling workflows, including methods and tools for building statistical species habitat/distribution models and engaging experts in the detailed review of model inputs and outputs. 

3. Synthesize and visualize model outputs, generate maps and summary reports to directly inform the conservation and management of rare and imperiled species.  

4. Process, integrate, analyze, and visualize NatureServe species and ecosystem data for a variety of projects and purposes. 

5. Coordinate modeling and data science activities across the NatureServe Network. 

6. Communicate modeling outcomes in oral, written, and graphic formats to scientific and non-scientific audiences. 

 

  • REQUIRED EXPERIENCE AND EDUCATION: 
  • Ph.D. in biology, ecology or related disciplines, with emphasis in conservation science. 
  • Expertise in ecological modeling and biodiversity data science. 
  • Exceptional oral and written communication skills. 
  • Demonstrated record of academic publications and/or scientific reports. 
  • Ability to juggle competing priorities. 
  • Ability to clearly communicate complex technical information to non-technical audiences. 
  • Strong organizational skills 

REQUIRED SKILLS: 

  • Demonstrated expertise in species distribution models, ecological models, and geospatial analysis in the R statistical and programming environment. 
  • Expertise in all aspects of biodiversity data science in R, including the integration, processing, analysis and visualization of large biodiversity datasets at the species and ecosystem levels. 
  • Experience processing environmental predictor data from a variety of sources, including remote sensing and climate models. 
  • Experience with SQL and SQLite. 
  • Experience with automated reports in Rmarkdown, knitr and LateX. 
  • Experience building interactive web-based applications and visualizations with R Shiny. 
  • Experience in reproducible workflows, code version control and management (Git, GitHub). 
  • Ability to develop sound processes for data management and documentation. 

PREFERRED SKILLS: 

  • Experience with ESRI products, including ArcGIS. 
  • Experience with Python and ArcPy. 
  • Experience with High-Performance Computing and parallel programming in R in the cloud (AWS/Azure). 
  • Experience with harvesting data from the web using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and web scraping. 

ESSENTIAL PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS: 

  • Ability to travel independently and attend conferences and meetings. 
  • Ability to speak clearly and hear well, to participate effectively in telecommunications with network members, partners, and clients.  

NATURESERVE IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER 

m/f/vet/disability 

An equal opportunity, reasonable accommodations employer, NatureServe complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. If you need accommodation in the employment process or this document in an alternative format, please contact our office at 703-908-1840 or info@natureserve.org. We stand in support of equality for and advancement of all people based on their qualifications and actions alone without regard to color, gender, age, religion, national origin, or disability. 

 

Job Level

Mid-level

Sector

Nonprofit- NGO

Salary

$70,000

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