Research Assistant I (Forest Ecology and Tree Conservation Biology)

West Suburban Chicago
Jul 19, 2017
Aug 18, 2017
Job Level
Entry level
Employment Type
Full time
Salary Type

General Summary:  Support the Forest Ecologist and Tree Conservation Biologist at The Morton Arboretum.  These research programs combine elements of field ecology, genetics, and modeling, to advance the preservation and conservation of trees in their natural environments and in living collections (e.g. arboreta).  The Research Assistant will participate in planning and executing laboratory and field work using a variety of instruments and methods, assist with lab management, organize and order supplies, maintain and inventory equipment, train and oversee volunteers.  This individual will be be involved with the entire research process from data collection and analysis to manuscript preparation.  The ideal candidate will be independently motivated and able to contribute to the intellectual development of projects though reading papers, designing studies, and independently analyzing data.  There will be opportunity for the individual to collaborate on papers, present research at national meetings, and work with collaborators on international projects.

Qualifications:  Applicants should have a strong background in plant sciences, ecology, evolutionary biology, informatics and/or molecular biology with both lab and field experience. A Bachelor’s degree in Ecology, Natural Resources, Evolutionary Biology, Botany, Informatics, or related field is required and a Master’s degree and/or at least one year experience in laboratory, field, or statistical research is strongly preferred.  May require software experience specific to the area of research.  Must possess a valid driver’s license, which is subject to insurability and an annual Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) report.  Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite and Gmail and other Google applications beneficial.

Success Factors:  Must be well organized, communicate clearly, solve problems, be able to work without close supervision (after training), quickly learn new skills, and have strong attention to detail and meticulous record keeping.  The applicant must demonstrate curiosity, an ability to multi-task, an enthusiasm for ecology and genetics, and an interest in developing a broad range of skills in forest biodiversity science.  Work will include a mixture of office, laboratory, and field work.  Good written and oral communication skills.  Clear thought, visual acuity, and manual dexterity needed.  

Physical Demands and Work Environment: The physical demands and work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform these essential functions.

  • Physical Demands: Requires some physical activity: walking over varied terrain, bending, limited lifting and carrying (up to 50 lbs. assisted).  Use of chemicals may be necessary.  Some out of state travel required. 
  • Work Environment: Office environment and Arboretum grounds.  Work is performed indoors and outdoors, in a variety of weather conditions.
  • Equipment: General office equipment, field and laboratory equipment, including specialized equipment relating to particular field of research, hand tools, Arboretum pick-up truck and/or utility vehicle.

For full consideration, please apply before August 14.  The position will ideally start at the end of September.  To apply, visit

The Morton Arboretum is an equal opportunity employer committed to achieving a diverse workforce.