Battelle delivers when others can’t. We conduct research and development, manage national laboratories, design and manufacture products and deliver critical services for our clients—whether 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.
NEON PROGRAM OVERVIEW
The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is a continental-scale observation facility funded by the National Science Foundation and operated by Battelle. The NEON program is designed to collect long-term, open access ecological data to better understand how U.S. ecosystems are changing, from freshwater systems such as streams, rivers, and lakes to terrestrial systems spanning tropical forests to deserts to tundra (neonscience.org). We depend on our people to collect observational data and samples, to monitor automated instrumented systems that collect terrestrial and aquatic data, and to operate our airborne observation platform that captures remote sensing data of regional landscapes and vegetation.
We are currently seeking a Field Ecologist I-Limnology. This position is in Denton, TX.
The Field Ecologist is a biological sampling lead performing seasonal and periodic sampling activities and sample processing and will be the technical lead for performing morphology, organism abundance and diversity, biogeochemistry, seasonal climatic and hydrologic measurements, and riparian phenology. The Field Ecologist will provide guidance to temporary field crews while working in the field and laboratory.
The plains of Texas and Oklahoma are home to rolling grasslands, expansive croplands, and more than 10 million head of cattle. In the Southern Plains (Domain 11), agriculture reigns supreme. Understanding how land management decisions and agricultural practices impact ecosystems is key to both maintaining agricultural productivity and protecting native habitats. NEON sites in the Southern Plains Domain are managed from our Denton, TX office. The aquatic field sites that the Field Ecologist will be working in is a small wadable stream called Pringle Creek inside the USFS Lyndon B. Johnson National Grasslands outside Decatur, TX and a section of the Blue River in Connerville, OK managed by The Nature Conservancy.
Work Environment and Physical Demands
The work involves walking, hiking, prolonged standing, bending, and kneeling. Heavy items, equipment and packs up to 40 pounds, must be lifted and carried on a routine basis. Field work includes exposure to extreme temperatures, inclement weather, rough and variable terrain, toxic plants (e.g., poison ivy, hogweed), stinging and biting insects, and wildlife hazards. Instrument maintenance involves performing work on instrument towers ranging in height from 24 feet to 300 feet, which includes ascending and descending multiple flights of stairs. Driving off-road in 4WD vehicles is required for most field sites.
Work Schedule and Travel
Work schedules are typically 8-10 hours per day but can occasionally be 12+ hours per day, including split shifts (off in the middle of the day), starting before dawn and/or ending after dusk, and weekends depending on the work assignment. The ratio of field to lab work is about 75% field and 25% office and lab duties.
Frequent overnight travel (e.g., semi-monthly for 3-4 nights) is required.
Plan, schedule, supervise and perform stream channel morphology, aquatic organism abundance and diversity, biogeochemistry, seasonal climatic and hydrologic changes, and riparian phenology data collection following established, standardized field, lab, and shipping procedures.
Operate and maintain in-situ water quality sensors. Monitor sensor health and status through various computer interface tools (i.e., PuTTY, specific sensor software, SAS, or other visual analytic tools).
Record data accurately and completely; perform data Q/C checks and resolve errors in collaboration with staff scientists.
Provide training, instruction, and technical guidance to seasonal field personnel.
Perform additional field and lab procedures as assigned. This may include plant phenology, diversity, productivity, and biogeochemistry; abundance, diversity, and phenology of organisms including small mammals, ticks, mosquitoes, ground beetles, and soil microbes; operations and maintenance of in-situ meteorological sensors, soil sensors, data loggers, IRGAs and other gas analyzers used to measure CO2, and energy flux.
Support external research projects approved through the Assignable Asset program.
Ensure work hazards are identified and mitigated and support a culture of safety.
Follow all permitting requirements and assist with permit reporting and renewals.
Report activities, completed work, and issues/incidents according to NEON protocols.
Assist with materials planning, inventory management and ordering.
Inspect, maintain and operate field, safety, and laboratory equipment, e.g., Wiley Mill, drying oven, analytical balance, centrifugal mill, pH meter, microscope, and muffle furnace.
Participate in public outreach events and engagements, e.g., site tours, career fairs, community science workshops and conferences.
Assist with recruiting of seasonal field personnel.
Provide support to Domain operations in assigned roles. Roles may include:
Chemical Hygiene Officer
IT Domain-NEON HQ Liaison
Training Domain-NEON HQ Liaison
Outreach Domain-NEON HQ Liaison
Lead and participate in special projects and continuous improvement initiatives.
Bachelor’s degree in ecology, forestry, environmental sciences, or related scientific discipline.
One (1) or more years of related experience.
Willingness to perform maintenance and field sampling outdoors in sparsely populated, remote locations, with distances ranging from 1/2 hour to 6 hours from the Domain office. Overnight travel, hiking off trail, and wading in water are typical in most locations.
Willingness and ability 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 to hike off trail, long distances, on uneven terrain, at remote locations, in all types of weather, carrying packs weighing up to 40lbs. Ability to walk, hike, stand, bend, and kneel for prolonged periods.
Willingness and ability to learn and perform procedures and methods outside of the primary responsibility.
Ability to work on instrument towers ranging in height from 26 feet to 240 feet and at altitudes of up to 11,000 feet (depending on assigned Domain), involving the ability to ascend and descend multiple flights of stairs.
Ability to withstand exposure to fumes, dust, and noise. Field work may require frequent exposure to toxicodendrons (e.g., poison ivy and poison oak), ticks, biting insects and other natural hazards.
Excellent verbal and written communication and interpersonal skills. Ability to follow written and verbal instructions.
Equivalent education and experience may be considered. Previous NEON program field experience will be highly considered.
The NEON program will take into consideration qualifications for specific and diverse experience in the following areas:
Knowledge of best practices for accurate and repeatable field and laboratory measurements.
Previous field and laboratory experience implementing field methods for characterizing aquatic systems (biological, chemical, physical).
Knowledge of using and maintaining handheld instruments (YSI, pH meters)
Knowledge of trailering and operating small or medium sized vessels.
Previous experience navigating in remote areas, off-trail using compass and GPS tools
Effective problem-solving skills and the ability to organize and execute multiple activities and priorities. Ability to proactively identify and resolve resource conflicts.
High level of attention to detail and accuracy
Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
Demonstrated optimism in adverse conditions and good judgement in identifying, mitigating, and avoiding hazards.
Ability to identify good practices and areas for improvement in team performance.
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.
Applicants must possess a current and valid State issued driver’s license with insurable Department of Motor Vehicle record (parking violations, minor driving offenses excluded) as determined by Battelle’s insurance provider.
Pay rate: $18.25 - $21.54
This information reflects the anticipated base salary range for this position based on current national data. Minimums and maximums may vary based on location. Individual pay is based on skills, experience, and other relevant factors.
Battelle’s benefits program supports employees so they can be at their best at home and at work. It’s 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
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