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Postdoctoral Scholar in Conservation

Fresno Chaffee Zoo
Fresno, California
Pay range is $64,480 - $77,000. Offers based on experience.
Closing date
Feb 25, 2023

General Purpose:

This person will assist with development and implementation of a fully funded grant program to re-wild federal and California endangered Blunt-nosed Leopard Lizards (Gambelia sila) to relict San Joaquin Desert habitat in the Panoche Hills in central California.  In the process, this person will lead efforts to quantify natural selection for a suite of fitness-relevant traits and monitor space use, in part using an automated radio-telemetry system.  This person will also assist with the management of field teams composed of Conservation Interns, that will typically be college students.  This position will have both field and laboratory elements, and opportunities to interact with the public as part of conservation-education programs.  Funding is secured for 3 years.

Our comprehensive compensation package includes 100% employer-paid Medical/Dental/Vision insurance, Employee Assistance Program, 401k with employer match, 10 Paid Holidays, Paid Sick, and Paid Vacation time on an accrued basis. The pay range for this position is $64,480 - $77,000. Offers will be based on the successful candidate's experience.

Please email Dr. Rory Telemeco at for additional information or questions.

Essential Functions:

  • Assist in conservation program development.
  • Perform phenotype assays for selection analyses.  Phenotypes to be measured include morphology [e.g., length, mass], thermoregulation via thermal gradient assay, metabolic rate and evaporative water loss via Sable Systems Field Metabolic System, fecal corticosterone concentration via commercial EIA, and behavior [aggression and boldness].
  • Perform regular radio-telemetry to locate animals.
  • Perform field ultrasound to assess reproductive output of females.
  • Perform regular field surveys.
  • Assist with permit reporting and record keeping.
  • Lead data analysis to assess re-wilding success and natural selection on the landscape (survival analyses, selection analyses, dispersal analyses, etc.) using program R. 
  • Lead manuscript writing for publication (and be first author on these publications).
  • Assist managing the team of Conservation Interns, including organizing weekly “lab meetings” to discuss relevant articles and logistics.
  • Facilitate pre-post surveys to assess Conservation Intern Program. 
  • Perform other tasks and projects as requested.

Qualifications/Basic Job Requirements:

  • PhD in Conservation Biology, Integrative Organismal Biology, Evolutionary Ecology, or related field required.
  • Valid California driver’s license, insurance, and the ability to drive to field sites 1-3 hours away as needed.
  • Experience with statistics for spatial and/or selection analyses, or similar. Proficiency in program R preferred.
  • Experience with GIS (R, or QGIS preferred).
  • Prior experience researching endangered animals preferred.
  • Prior experience researching lizards preferred.
  • Strong verbal and written English communications skills required. Bilingual (Spanish or Hmong) communication skills a plus.
  • Ability to work seasonally scheduled hours as necessary, which could include weekends, evenings, and holidays during the core field season (approx. April – October).
  • Ability to complete field work in a harsh, desert environment.

Physical Requirements

  • These are physical and mental requirements of the position as it is typically performed. Inability to meet one or more of these physical or mental requirements will not automatically disqualify a candidate or employee from the position. Upon request for a reasonable accommodation, the Zoo may be able to adjust or excuse one or more of these requirements, depending on the requirement, the essential functions to which it relates, and the proposed accommodation.

  • This position requires the employee to stand and walk continuously for extended periods during the shift. The employee will also be regularly required to bend, stoop, or crouch when collecting or working with research animals.
  • The employee is regularly required to lift and/or carry up to 50 pounds, and occasionally team-lift to 75 pounds.
  • Visual acuity to read printed instructions and safety information and to assess animal behavior. Color perception is also required.
  • Ability to receive detailed information through oral communication (in person and via telephone) at normal speaking levels with or without correction.

Work Environment

  • The position functions both indoors and outdoors, with exposure to heat, cold, and inclement weather.
  • The employee is regularly exposed to a variety of animals with risk of animal bites (including venomous), zoonotic disease, and other animal-related injury.
  • Travel to field sites required. Sites are typically located within a 1–3-hour drive.


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