Field and lab marine ecology research assistant (Alaska, USA) ~

22 de septiembre de 2014

Field and lab marine ecology research assistant (Alaska, USA)

The Prince William Sound Science Center (PWSSC;, a non-profit research and education institution located in Cordova, Alaska, is accepting applications for a Biological Technician or Research Assistant. The successful candidate will assist with both field and laboratory studies of Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) as part of the Herring Research and Monitoring program, as well as Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha and O. keta) as part of the stream component of the Hatchery-Wild Salmon Interactions program.
The work involves laboratory analysis related to the energetics of herring and other forage fishes, sample management, data entry, database management, and logistical planning for both herring and
salmon field seasons. Some data analysis and report writing for both projects is also desired. Opportunity exists to participate in fieldwork for the Hatchery-Wild Salmon Interactions program during the late winter and summer of 2015. Fieldwork may require more than 8 hours per day, or 40 hours per week of work. However, laboratory work will be conducted as a regular 40 hour work week. This is a full-time, exempt position and is dependent on available funding. Currently, two years of support is available.

The mission of PWSSC is to improve understanding of the physical and
biological mechanisms affecting diversity, productivity and ecosystem
function in Prince William Sound (PWS), the Copper River watershed, and
northern Gulf of Alaska through research and education. PWS is located in
the northeast corner of the Pacific at 60° N and includes an intricate
network of maritime glaciers, rainforests, offshore islands, barrier
islands, wetlands, and freshwater and marine systems. The region has 4900 km
of shoreline and is surrounded by the Chugach Mountains that reach to 4,300
m and contains the most extensive system of tidewater glaciers in North
America. Most of the land area is in, or adjacent to, the Chugach National
Forest. Of the five PWS communities, only Valdez and Whittier have highway
access to the main road system. Access to Cordova is by boat or plane. The
Alaska Marine Highway system serves the community, in addition to an airport
that receives daily commercial airline traffic. Commercial salmon fisheries
are the cornerstones of our local economy. PWS is also important for
subsistence and sport fisheries of these and other species.

Herring Research and Monitoring Program
The Herring Condition Monitoring project collects juvenile herring samples
during an oceanographic cruise in PWS that is expected to take place in
mid-November each year. Collection of samples in the spring takes place
through a collaborative effort with local fishermen. Collected fish will be
measured in the field and stored for laboratory analyses both at the PWSSC
and at an outside laboratory. Bomb calorimetry will be performed on juvenile
herring at the PWSSC. Herring samples will also be prepared for stable
isotope analyses that will be conducted by the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

Hatchery-Wild Salmon Interactions Program
The stream component of the Hatchery-Wild Interactions program seeks to
assess straying rates of hatchery-produced pink and chum salmon throughout
PWS based on otolith analysis. In addition, the project aims to understand
effects of hatchery versus wild production of pink salmon on fitness in
terms of survival. The project also collects samples for genetic stock
structure analyses of pink salmon in the region. The majority of the
project’s work is conducted during the late summer field season between July
and September. Additional, fieldwork may be conducted during late winter to
sample alevin. The project may require some data analysis, as well as
assistance with report writing and logistical planning for the intense
summer field season that involves approximately 15 seasonal technicians.

Both projects will require the Technician/Research Assistant to work aboard
research vessels of varying sizes, as well as in field conditions that may
involve extreme weather, hiking in difficult terrain in bear country, and
working in fast-moving rivers and creeks, as well as the intertidal zone.
Experience at sea and/or experience conducting fisheries/wildlife field
research, as well as a familiarity with energetic laboratory analyses such
as bomb calorimetry and stable isotopes are also required. The successful
candidate will maintain a high level of integrity for data quality, and be
able to manage multiple tasks simultaneously. Excellent communication skills
are required, not only for working with PWSSC team members, but also in
terms of report writing. A positive, goal oriented, and flexible attitude is

Bachelor’s degree (minimum, Biological Technician) or Master’s degree
(preferred, Research Assistant) in Biology or a related field, i.e., marine
science, ecology or environmental studies.

Required skills
•       Field or oceanographic research experience.
•       Relevant laboratory experience.
•       Excellent organizational, communication and interpersonal skills.
•       Attention to accuracy and detail.
•       Unwavering enthusiasm for science, as well as a strong sense of teamwork,
cooperation, and flexibility.
•       Ability to work in difficult field conditions such as rain, cold, wind,
snow, hiking in difficult terrain.
•       Willingness to work long hours when on field assignments.
•       Ability to multi-task various aspects of the projects, i.e., equipment
ordering, field logistics, data entry, sample progress, data QA, etc.
•       Skilled at communicating effectively with a wide variety of people and at
various organizational levels.
•       Knowledge of basic computing programs such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
•       Experience in ecological data analysis highly desirable.
•       Ability to obtain CPR/First Aid certification.
•       Willingness to participate in bear and firearm safety training.
•       Valid driver’s license.

Dr. Kristen B. Gorman, Research Ecologist


Salary and Benefits
Salary commensurate with experience (expected range between $2816 –
$3696/monthly). Benefits include health insurance, paid time off and
worker’s compensation insurance. Option to participate in a pension plan and
an elective cafeteria plan for health care expenses.

Preferred Start Date
October 2014

To Apply
Please send a resume or curriculum vitae, contact information for three
professional references, and a cover letter that describes your research
interests and relevant work experience. Be sure to detail how your
experience meets the required skills for this position. In addition, please
provide a description of any previous training you have received in terms of
wilderness first aid/CPR; boat, flight, or gun safety; and laboratory
safety. Application materials should be sent to Kristen Gorman at

Review of applications will begin on 25 September 2014. Position open until
filled. Any questions regarding the position or hiring process should be
directed to Kristen Gorman.

Thank you for your interest in the Prince William Sound Science Center.

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