Summer Research Assistant: Grassland Ecology

Job Description:  The USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Northern Plains Agriculture Research Laboratory in Sidney, MT is seeking an enthusiastic and hard-working individual to serve as a biological science aide.  Our research studies the environmental impacts of grassland restoration efforts in two main projects. The first project is studying how rangeland reclamation following energy development has affected plant, insect and soil communities in the Bakken region of western North Dakota. The second project is studying recovery of riparian plant and insect communities following removal of Russian olive, an invasive tree. Additional opportunities exist to work on projects related to grasshopper ecology and biological control of wheat stem sawfly. Work may include sampling grasshoppers and other rangeland insects in large scale experiments, sampling rangeland plants, setting up and conducting small scale manipulative experiments in the field and lab work to sort and process samples collected; an even split between lab and field time is expected. Most field work will be conducted on diverse and beautiful native rangelands in eastern Montana and on the Little Missouri National Grassland in western North Dakota, with the possibility of some research conducted at 9000 feet elevation in the Bighorn Mountains in northern Wyoming. Some overnight travel to sites in eastern Montana and Wyoming may be required.=20

Salary: Approximately $12.30 per hour (GS-3) dependent on experience and education.  The candidate will receive overtime pay when working more than 40 hours per week. Dorm-style, shared housing is available on location for $131 per month, including utilities and internet.

Dates: Starting May 15th or 30th through the end of August. Please specify your available start and end dates in your application.

Qualifications: The candidate must be a US citizen.  Additionally, the candidate should be physically fit, able to walk rapidly over rangeland, and comfortable spending long hours outside in hot conditions. Willingness to work long days, and some weekends when necessary is also a must.  Undergraduate course work in ecology, entomology, range or environmental sciences, and previous laboratory and field work experience is preferred, but not required.=20

Application process: Please send cover letter with available start and end dates, resume, and names and contact information of two references (electronically) to Zachary Sylvain (

Evaluation of applications will begin February 15 and continue until the position is filled.