Conservation Scientist: Rapid Inventories

Chicago, Illinois
Jan 27, 2017
Mar 28, 2017
Biology, Ecology
Job Level
Mid level, Senior level
Employment Type
Full time
Salary Type

The rapid inventory team conducts surveys of remote wilderness areas and provides social and biological information to decision-makers to help establish effective conservation areas. Based out of The Field Museum—one of the world’s largest natural history museums--our team of biologists and social scientists works in close collaboration with conservation organizations, indigenous and campesino peoples, universities and museums, and national and regional governments. Since launching the program in 1999 we have completed rapid inventories in 28 different locations —20 of them in the Andes-Amazon region of South America—and provided the Peruvian, Bolivian, and Ecuadorian governments with technical support for the creation of 18 new conservation areas. 

The Conservation Scientist is an expert in a biological, geological or geographical field. We are looking for scientists with South American expertise and a strong passion for the Andes-Amazon region, who value concrete conservation results above other scientific achievements. We are interested in experts in mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles, fishes, flora or geology, hydrology, and soils, and candidates with GIS and/or remote sensing skills are an added plus.

The Conservation Scientist will work within the Andes-Amazon program of the Keller Science Action Center, together with other biologists and social scientists on the inventory team, and will have great opportunities to collaborate with other scientists in the Action, Collections and Research Centers at the Field Museum.  

Duties and Responsibilities 

  • Participate as one of the lead scientists in the biological/geological inventory
  • Provide insights into ecological and/or cultural connections between their area of expertise and other inventory groups
  • Lead the writing of their chapter and appendices in the technical report
  • Think carefully and creatively about conservation recommendations
  • Conduct research in the Andes-Amazon geography that has a direct impact on conservation action
  • Organize, digitize, and share Field Museum specimens and data collected during rapid inventories, in collaboration with the Museum’s Collections Center
  • Lead creative analysis of rapid inventory data for high-impact publications
  • Help develop other technical documents that support the creation or management of protected areas and creative presentations of scientific information to decision-makers
  • Contribute to the creation of conservation tools and training opportunities for conservation professionals, scientists, and other stakeholders


  • Ph.D. in conservation-related field, tropical scientist (biologist, geologist, ecologist, geographer) with more than 5 years direct work experience in Latin America
  • Superb written and spoken Spanish and English skills
  • Ease and agility in working with multidisciplinary and multicultural teams
  • Ability to communicate well to diverse audiences
  • Great enthusiasm for working in a natural history museum
  • A deep commitment to wilderness conservation and quality of life of indigenous and rural peoples

This position is based in Chicago. The work involves travel to South America, likely close to 15-20% of the year.