Research Technician – grasshopper ecology in Montana and Univ Notre Dame

Job Title: Research Technician, University of Notre Dame
Application Deadline: January 31, 2018
Start Date: March 1, 2018
Pay:  $23,379-29,000, with full benefits 
GENERAL:  Crew Leader, full-time position, will provide field and laboratory support for an ongoing grasshopper ecology project in the lab of Dr. Gary Belovsky.  This project is funded by NSF-LTREB (National Science Foundation-Long Term Research in Environmental Biology).  The field work portion on grasshoppers is in western Montana at the National Bison Range, Moiese, Montana, and entails approximately five months of the year.  The remainder of the year at the University of Notre Dame is spent analyzing samples, processing data, data management and other research duties.
The ideal candidate will be able to prioritize tasks, work independently, and solicit feedback.  This position will require organizational, logistical, and time management skills.  Enthusiastic, highly motivated individual with previous experience working in grasslands with grasshoppers is preferable.  This person will also need to show a willingness to learn from and work under the direction of the PI and supervisor. 
Applicants must demonstrate the willingness and ability to live in shared housing with others working on the project, communicate well in a variety of situations, and be comfortable living and working in a rural area of western Montana.  Enthusiasm for the natural world and a positive attitude are expected. 
FIELD – early-May through Sept 30:  Position involves up to 80-90% of the time in the field sampling vegetation and soils, catching grasshoppers and running grasshopper experiments.  Position also involves approx. 10-20% time indoors sorting grasshoppers, weighing plant samples and entering data, preparing spring and fall resin bags, and downloading data from radiometer and temperature sensors.
 ·       Set up experiments (e.g., build cages, and catch large numbers of grasshoppers)
·       Identification of grasshoppers and prairie plants to species
·       Monitor experiments (maintain experimental cages, conduct regular censuses) and maintain accurate record-keeping of data, including data entry into Excel spreadsheets
·       Take down experiments (involves catching and censusing grasshoppers in the experiments)
·       Sample grasshoppers, vegetation and soils, using various types of field equipment, including Cropscan radiometer, soil corer, soil moisture sensors, and backpack insect vacuum
·       Capable of sustained physical work under unpredictable weather and field conditions. Some heavy lifting and carrying (~50lb), and fence building
·       Work with PI and supervisor to train crew, organize work schedules, maintain morale with crew.
LAB – October through early-May:
·       Prepare plants samples, including weighing, grinding to appropriate specifications
·       Analyze plant samples for nitrogen and carbon using Elemental Analyzer or similar machine
·       Analyze soil and resin samples for NH4 and NO3 by extraction in 2M KCl and prepare extractions for processing on Lachat autoanalyzer
·       Analyze plant samples for palatability by acid-pepsin digestibility method
·       Supervise undergraduates in the lab helping with above analyses
·       Dissect grasshoppers to examine reproductive tracts and to assess degree of parasitism
·       Maintain and manage data using Excel spreadsheets and Access database
·       B.S. or B.A. in environmental sciences or equivalent degree
·       Ability to work and solve problems independently (required)
·       Previous monitoring and/or field research experience, especially in grasslands
·       Plant and insect identification experience and willingness to learn local flora and fauna, with particular experience identifying Acridinae grasshoppers and grasses and forbs of western Montana intermountain prairie preferred
·       Experience training, supervising and coordinating small field and lab crews preferred.
·       Experience with handheld data recorders, radiometers, radios, GPS, other field equipment, driving a truck over rough, steep roads, and small-town living
·       The field portion of this position is 90% + field work. Must be capable of sustained physical work under conditions of hot dry weather, rough terrain, unpredictable weather, biting insects, and other environmental conditions.  Must be able to maintain cheerful attitude with humor and patience
·       Chemistry lab experience, or equivalent, preferred.
·       Strong quantitative skills; experience with Excel is required; experience with Access preferred
·       Valid U.S. driver’s license
DURATION: require 2 year commitment
LOCATION: University of Notre Dame, Indiana and field site in Moiese, Montana
APPLICATION: Please apply online:
Please include cover letter, resume and contact information for 3 references.  For questions, please contact Jennifer Slade Belovsky at  For more information, see Belovsky lab website:
The University of Notre Dame is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.