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Field Ecologist II - Botany - NEON - D11 TX

Employer
Battelle Memorial Institute
Location
Northlake, Texas, US
Salary
Competitive
Closing date
Jul 13, 2022

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Sector
Academic / Research
Field
Conservation science
Discipline
Botany
Salary Type
Salary
Employment Type
Full time
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Battelle delivers when others cant. We conduct research and development, manage national laboratories, design and manufacture products and deliver critical services for our clientswhether they are a multi-national corporation, a small start-up or a government agency.

We recognize and appreciate the value and contributions of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences and welcome all qualified individuals to apply.

Company Overview

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 observatorys 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.

Field Ecologist II - The Field Ecologist II is a biological sampling lead performing seasonal and periodic sampling activities and sample processing and will be the technical lead for performing routine maintenance and inventory management on all sampling equipment. The Field Ecologist II will provide guidance to temporary field crews while working in the field and laboratory.

We are currently seeking a Field Ecologist II - Botany - NEON - D11 TX . This position is in Denton, TX .

A strong consideration will be applied to those applicants who are currently located in the domain. For those outside of the domain, instrumentation experience will be strongly preferred.

LOCATION

Field Technicians in the Southern Plains Domain 11 work across two terrestrial and two aquatic sites located in Oklahoma and Texas.

Terrestrial sites:

The Lyndon B. Johnson National Grassland is our core (unmanaged) terrestrial site, and forms part of the Caddo-LBJ National Grasslands (CLBJ) managed by the US Forest Service. The site is >20,250 acres and is located about 35 miles west of the Domain 11 Support Facility. CLBJ is primarily used for habitat for wildlife, cattle grazing, and recreation (including hunting, camping, horse riding, and hiking). The site has fairly flat terrain and consists of a mosaic of cross timbers (oak-dominated) forest and grasslands. Many areas have a dense understory of vines with large thorns and other deciduous trees, which make walking around the site challenging. Green briar (thorny shrubs), poison ivy, ticks, mosquitoes, and snakes are the major non-weather environmental risks. The area is classified as a humid subtropical climate with hot and humid summers and mild to cool winters. The average summer high temperature is ~ 96F, so expect to work in high heat conditions during the summer peak sampling season.

Additionally, because of its location in North Texas, this area is very susceptible to supercell thunderstorms, which can produce large hail, excessive rainfall/flooding, and tornadoes. Expect to work single days of up to 10 hours with 2 hours of driving and 8 hours outside.

The Marvin Klemme Range Research Station, an Oklahoma State University Agricultural Experiment Station is Domain 11s managed terrestrial site. The station consists of 1560 acres and is located 10 miles south and 5 miles west of Clinton, Oklahoma. The vegetation is central mixed grass prairie with primarily short grasses and forbs with the rest a mix of tallgrass and bare soil. The landscape is a rolling upland prairie composed of flat terrain interspersed with small hilltops, swales, and canyons. The average annual precipitation is 30.70 inches with an average summer high temperature of 93.6F and average winter low temperature of 26.1F. The sight is actively grazed by cattle with light to moderate intensity. Snakes, wasps, and cacti are the biggest non-weather environmental concerns. Travel is about 4.5 hours to the site from the Domain 11 Support Facility and overnight stays are necessary and frequent. Expect 4-5 hours of work outside on travel days and up to 10 hours on non-travel days. Field housing is available and comfortable!

Aquatic Sites:

Pringle Creek (also managed by USFS at CLBJ) is paired with our core terrestrial site and work here involves a one-hour (each way) drive, and 2-8 hours of field sampling in a creek depending on the protocol being conducted. Blue River is managed by The Nature Conservancy and is situated close to the town of Connerville, Oklahoma. Field work here involves a two-hour drive to the site, and field sampling hours similar to Pringle Creek. On rare occasions, overnight stay might be required, and is usually provided by the Station Manager on the TNC property. Access to both sites are relatively easy, with field trucks being able to drive close to the creek banks.

Denton, Texas:

The city of Denton is home to several well-known universities in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, and temporary housing is relatively easy to find. The city has a young vibe to it, and offers a lot of diverse activities such as a number of film and music festivals, sporting events, unique cafes, restaurants, bars, galleries, etc.

Depending on the time of the season, the staff at the Southern Plains domain are either on a 10hr/4day or 8 hour/5 day weekly schedule.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
  • Lead, perform and coordinate plant phenology, diversity, biogeochemistry and productivity measurements.
  • Identify local flora to species using techniques including: general observation, field references, dichotomous key, comparison with identified specimens, or other identification methods. Local species identification skills are used to complete activities such as plant diversity observations, classification of phenological stages of local flora, and sorting of plants and debris into functional group or category.
  • Collect and process samples for activities such as clip harvest, biomass, canopy foliage and leaf area index measurements as well as vegetation structure measurements.
  • Map and measure structural metrics of free-standing woody stems.

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.

REQUIRED: EDUCATION, EXPERIENCE, KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS

Equivalent education and experience may be considered.
  • Bachelors degree in ecology, environmental sciences or related scientific discipline.
  • Three (3) or more years of related experience.
  • Ability to work in a team environment.
  • Experience should include performing scientific data entry and data management.
  • Ability to hike off-trail to assigned field site for long distances carrying field equipment (pack weighing up to 40 lbs.) for extended periods.
  • Ability and willingness to travel overnight frequently (e.g. semi-monthly for 3-4 nights).

The NEON Project will take into consideration qualifications for specific and diverse experience in the following areas:

Leadership:
  • Effective leadership skills and the ability to motivate others.
  • Effective problem-solving skills and the ability to determine and act on changing priorities in a fast-paced dynamic environment.
  • Ability to organize and execute multiple activities and priorities.

Skills:
  • Ability to perform minor troubleshooting, calibration, and repair of field equipment.
  • Ability to follow written and verbal instructions.
  • Ability and willingness to learn and adopt new technologies as needed.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • High level of attention to detail and accuracy.
  • Ability to make effective decisions that take into consideration safety and operational standards.

Working conditions:
  • Ability and willingness to work varied field operations schedules (up to 12+ hours per day), including split shift, part-time, pre-dawn early mornings, evenings and weekends.
  • Ability and willingness to work on towers ranging in height from 24 feet to 300 feet including ascending and descending multiple flights of stairs on instrument towers.
  • Perform field assignments in a variety of terrain and of weather conditions including cold and wet winter weather and extreme heat.
  • Ability to withstand exposure to fumes, dust, noise and toxicodendron plants (e.g. poison ivy and poison oak), ticks, biting insects and other natural hazards.
  • Ability and willingness to travel overnight frequently (e.g. semi-monthly for 3-4 nights) is required.

Applicants must have authorization to work in the United States. We are unable to sponsor or take over sponsorship of any employment Visa at this time.

Employment is contingent on background screen, drug screen, motor vehicle records check and physical.

Must possess a current and valid State issued drivers license with insurable Department of Motor vehicle record (parking violations, minor driving offenses excluded) as determined by Battelles insurance provider.

THE FOLLOWING IS DESIRED

LEGAL DISCLAIMER

The above statements are intended to describe the nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this job. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, activities and skills required of staff members. No statement herein is intended to imply any authorities to commit Battelle unless special written permission is granted by Battelle's Legal Department.

Battelle Benefits

Battelles benefits program supports employees so they can be at their best at home and at work. Its a comprehensive package including:
  • A benefits concierge service to help you understand and use your benefits
  • Paid parental leave and family formation support
  • A holistic wellness community and employee assistance program offering physical, mental, financial, legal and family support

COVID-19 Vaccine

In compliance with President Bidens Executive Order 14042 and the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force COVID-19 Workplace Safety: Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors, Battelle requires all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment and continued employment and to provide documentation that they are fully vaccinated. Battelle will provide reasonable accommodations based on a qualified disability or medical condition through the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Rehabilitation Act or for a sincerely held religious belief under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (and related state laws).

Battelle is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. If a reasonable accommodation is needed to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and/or to receive other benefits and privileges of employment, please contact recruiting@battelle.org .

Battelle is an equal opportunity employer. We provide employment and opportunities for advancement, compensation, training, and growth according to individual merit, without regard to race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, age, genetic information, disability, veteran-status veteran or military status, or any other characteristic protected under applicable Federal, state, or local law. Our goal is for each staff member to have the opportunity to grow to the limits of their abilities and to achieve personal and organizational objectives. We will support positive programs for equal treatment of all staff and full utilization of all qualified employees at all levels within Battelle.

For more information about our other openings, please visit www.battelle.org/careers
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