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Amphibian Research Technicians Needed

by Marilene Rivas-Chavez on November 15, 2019

The U.S. Geological Survey’s Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative in the northeast will be hiring 4-6 student contractor field research technicians in 2020. Technicians will be hired for both the spring & summer period (early March through July), with the possibility of extension for work during the fall field season (August through October).  Field work will be based out of separate duty stations located in Maryland and Massachusetts.  Massachusetts technicians will conduct amphibian surveys in protected areas in the Northeastern US, but primarily in MA and VT.  Maryland technicians will conduct surveys primarily in MD, VA, and the District of Columbia. The technicians will work as part of a team that surveys for amphibians within National Parks, Refuges, and Forests, including work in the mountains of Shenandoah National Park.  Surveys will include wetland-associated amphibians as well as stream salamander and terrestrial salamander populations. Field work involves identifying, catching, measuring, and marking amphibians, as well as collecting water quality and environmental data. The students will be required to conduct field surveys using techniques including visual encounter surveys, dip netting, stream transect searches, temporary removal sampling, and conducting a mark-recapture study using visual implant elastomer. All field work will be conducted as part of teams of 2-4 people, so a demonstrated ability and desire to work effectively with a group is imperative.

The position requires completion of academic coursework related to wildlife biology. Previous field experience with amphibians common in the Northeast US is preferred. The position requires the use of GPS units, digital cameras, passive integrated transponder (PIT) equipment, and computer software for data entry and presentation (e.g. Microsoft Excel, Access). Technicians may also be asked to mark amphibians with injectable visible implant elastomer or PIT tags and take voucher specimens related to amphibian disease studies. All work is outdoors, sometimes under harsh or hot conditions or in rain, sleet, hail and snow.

The technicians need to be in good physical condition, as the job requires long hours in the field (including some night-time surveys) and hiking with up to 45 pounds of equipment for extended periods of time on rocky, steep terrain. The technicians must be willing to go on overnight field trips to parks throughout the northeastern US, which will typically last 4-12 days at a time. Accommodations for overnight field work will be provided.

Technicians must be able to work at least 40 hours per week and have flexibility in their schedules to accommodate longer days when field conditions require. Applicants must be willing to keep a flexible schedule, as hours will depend on weather, refuge/park access and staff availability, and other factors that may not be known ahead of time.  Technicians are responsible for all costs of transportation to and from the duty station.  Government vehicles will be provided for all field work initiated from the duty station. Housing costs are not included. Every attempt will be made to assist technicians in finding affordable housing in the area. Approximate wages are $15/hour; overtime pay is not provided.

Principal Duty Stations:
USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
SO Conte Anadromous Fish Research Lab
1 Migratory Way, Turners Falls, MA 01376

USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
12100 Beech Forest Road
Laurel, Maryland 20708-4038

Applications will be reviewed as they are received. To apply, email the following to both Jill Fleming and Charlie Shafer (jefleming@usgs.gov, cshafer@usgs.gov) by no later than December 11th, 2019:

1) Letter of intent (please specify the time period in which you will be able to commit to this position and your duty station [MA or MD] preference)
2) Resume, including previous field experience, list of relevant course-work, contact information, and two or three reference contacts
3) One piece of evidence of current or recent enrollment in degree-seeking program (e.g., unofficial transcript, enrollment verification, a current registration card).  Candidates who graduated prior to July 2019 are ineligible (*unless they have proof of acceptance into a graduate program beginning the following fall*).

Evan H. Campbell Grant, PhD
NE Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative: USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Conte Anadromous Fish Laboratory, 1 Migratory Way, Turners Falls MA 01376

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