Battelle Memorial Institute Lead Temporary Field Technician - NEON Project - D18/19 - Alaska in Fairbanks, Alaska

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Primary Function

Application Instructions: ONLY apply to the one (1) temporary position and location you would consider as your first choice. During the application process, you will provide additional domains/locations you would be willing to work at if your first choice is not available.

Battelle manages and operates the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) project, 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 observatory’s 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.

We are currently seeking Lead Temporary Field Technicians . Location depends on the candidate’s expertise and the needs Domain 18/Domain 19 Alaska . The domain office is based in Fairbanks, AK.

SAMPLING PERIOD –

Start Date: April-June 2019

End Date: September-October 2019

Location

D18 (Tundra sites):

  • Toolik Field Station: Located on the North Slope of Alaska, in the foothills of the Brooks Range, above the Arctic Circle (68° 38' N, 149° 36'W), about an 8 hour-drive North of Fairbanks, or about 3 hours South of Prudhoe Bay. The vegetation is predominantly characterized by wet and dry tussock tundra, which can make for very difficult walking to access research plots. Mosquitoes are abundant between June and August. Weather can also be unpredictable; precipitation in the form of rain or snow can occur any time of year. The average temperature in January is -4. All provisions are provided by the field station.

  • Utqiagvik (Formally known as Barrow): Located at the northern tip of Alaska on the Arctic Ocean, Utqiagvik is a town of about 5,000 inhabitants. The majority of residents are Alaskan Natives (Inupiat), and the town can only be accessed by plane from Fairbanks. The coastal plain tundra surrounding Utqiagvik is very wet; hip waders and rubber boots are essential for fieldwork. Utqiagvik is well known for its diversity and abundance of shorebirds and other migratory fowl, including endangered species, such as the Steller’s Eiders. Polar bears can also be seen; however, encounters with bears are rare. Summer days are overcast despite the 24h daylight, and average summer temperatures are in the mid-40s. The average temperature in January is -20. Mosquitoes are not as prevalent near the coast because of the wind. Barrow has few amenities. Researcher housing will be shared, and lab space is reserved in the Barrow Arctic Research Center (BARC).

D19 (Taiga Sites):

  • Healy: The Healy site is located about 2 hours South West of Fairbanks, North of Denali National Park. There are few amenities in town; most provisions are procured in Fairbanks prior to departure. The NEON field house and research site are located along Stampede Road, in upland Tundra in the foothills of the Alaska Mountain Range. Mosquitoes are abundant between June and early August and constitute the main challenge to living and working in and around Healy. Weather can also be unpredictable; precipitation in the form of rain or snow can occur any time of year, and average summer temperatures can vary from the 30s to mid-70s, while the average temperature in January is -7. Day trips and/or overnight trips are common depending on the weekly workload.

  • Delta Junction: Located 2 hours South East of Fairbanks, Delta Junction is a small town with few amenities. This site is located in flatland boreal habitat, near the eastern portion of the Alaska Mountain Range. Mosquitoes are abundant between June and early August and constitute the main challenge to living and working in and around Delta Junction. Weather can also be unpredictable; precipitation in the form of rain or snow can occur any time of year, and average summer temperatures can vary from the 30s to mid-70s, while the average temperature in January is -9. There are few amenities in town. Day trips and/or overnight trips are common depending on the weekly workload.

  • Caribou Creek: Located 30 miles northeast of Fairbanks, this site is within the UAF-managed Experimental Research Forest. The site is located within rolling boreal forest. There is no field housing provided at this site; all work is conducted via daytrips from Fairbanks. Mosquitoes are abundant between June and early August and constitute the main challenge to working at Caribou Creek. Weather can also be unpredictable; precipitation in the form of rain or snow can occur any time of year, and average summer temperatures can vary from the 30s to mid-70s, while the average temperature in January is -15.

Major Responsibilities

Lead Temporary Field Technicians perform and supervise seasonal and periodic sampling of physical, chemical and biological data at one (1)-five (5) field sites, while exercising good judgement and decision-making abilities to interpret protocol requirements. Lead Temporary Field Technicians are assigned an area of primary responsibility within the scope of data collection: botany, entomology, mammalogy (except Puerto Rico and Hawaii), or limnology (except Hawaii).

Field observations and collection are conducted using approximately 30 different protocols and multiple Standard Operating Procedures with varying schedule requirements based on local ecosystem and current field conditions.

Daily and weekly work schedules will fluctuate. Workdays can be up to twelve hours long and may be split with both morning and evening work, with work, at times, beginning at dawn and going through to dusk. Workweeks can include weekends and occasionally may be up to 12 consecutive days.

Individuals are responsible for their own housing and transportation to primary work location.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Performs and supervises field assignments in a variety of conditions (e.g., weather, terrain, diverse assigned biomes, etc.).

  • Provides training to seasonal and temporary field personnel.

  • Follows established, standardized field procedures for sample collection; records data from sample collection; and processes samples.

  • Records activities and completed work according to Field Operations protocol.

  • Follows safety and Field Operations policy and procedures.

  • Reports issues with implementation of procedures and coordinates resolution with manager and technicians.

  • Assists with routine administrative duties, special projects and other duties as assigned.

  • Carries, moves and lifts field supplies (pack weighing up to 40 lbs.) to assigned field site (which involves diverse and uneven terrain).

Position Requirements

  • High School Diploma. May require an Associate's degree or experience as a fully qualified Temporary Field Technician with one (1) – two (2) years of related experience

  • Knowledge of best practices for accurate and repeatable field and laboratory measurements across multiple scientific disciplines. Complex and variable systems require judgment and independent decision-making abilities

  • Technical skills using best practices in field and ability to identify aquatic or terrestrial flora and fauna to genus and species.

  • Due to the limited number of positions in each domain, technicians must be willing and able to learn and perform procedures and methods outside of the primary responsibility.

  • 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.

  • 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 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 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.

  • Proficiency with MS Office Suite (e.g., Excel, Word).

  • Ability to follow written and verbal instructions.

  • High level of attention to detail and accuracy.

  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.

  • Strong work ethic and enthusiasm.

Previous NEON Project field experience will be highly considered

US Citizen or permanent resident only

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BENEFITS

Battelle is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and supports diversity in the workplace. Applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, age, genetic information, disability, veteran-status, or any other characteristic protected under applicable Federal, state, or local law. For more information about our other openings, please visit www.battelle.org/careers