Disease Ecology Field Technician Needed

The Young Lab at the University of California Santa Barbara seeks an experienced research technician to work with graduate and undergraduate students in a vector and pathogen ecology study in southcentral California. This research is part of an NSF-funded study to investigate the independent and interactive effects of changing wildlife communities and climates on ticks and tick-borne disease.

The successful candidate will conduct mammal, lizard, and tick population surveys and pathogen infection monitoring at Tejon Ranch in the Tehachapi Mountains, Kern Co., California. Specific tasks include small mammal (mouse, squirrel, chipmunk) live trapping and handling, tissue and blood collection, lizard noosing, tick drag sampling, and wildlife camera monitoring. Additional tasks will include data entry and analysis, as well as occasional assistance with plant surveys and maintenance of experimental infrastructure. May include laboratory work (DNA kit extractions) depending on the candidate’s experience.


The position is short-term for 3-6 months (flexible), with fieldwork beginning April 1st, 2019 with possible extension through September 30, 2019. Applicant review begins immediately; applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled.


Salary for one full time research assistant is $2500 a month (no benefits). This position is technically based in Santa Barbara, CA but will primarily involve field work and camping at Tejon Ranch in Kern Co., CA. Schedule will typically be Mon-Fri, but with occasional weekend work. The candidate is responsible for their own housing while not in the field, but all costs for camping will be covered.

Required Qualifications:

Prior experience conducting field research and handling and identifying vertebrates, especially small mammals, is required. Ideally, prior experience with Sherman and Tomahawk traps. Must be able to work both in a team and alone under adverse, outdoor conditions and in remote locations (i.e. dirt roads, private land, no cell service). Must be willing to camp for consecutive nights without electricity or running water. A valid driver’s license is required.

Preferred Qualifications:

Preference will be given to candidates with completed coursework in biology (esp. ecology, entomology, mammalogy, or wildlife biology) and a strong interest in ecological research careers. Experience working both individually and as a part of a multidisciplinary team, and a demonstrated ability to problem-solve independently, are ideal. Preference given to candidates with experience driving off road in 4wd vehicles and able to do basic vehicle maintenance (i.e. change a tire). In addition, experience in molecular techniques such as DNA extraction is a plus, but not a requirement.

Physical Demands:

Field work will involve walking off designated trails to access permanent, marked plots, covering total distances of up to 10 miles per day, but more typically 2-6 miles per day. Weather conditions will vary from cold, wind and rain, to temperatures over 100F. Tasks will involve prolonged stooping, standing, kneeling, and slow walking. Only those willing to spend extended periods camping under primitive conditions should apply for the position. Incumbents must also be willing to spend days at a time working at a computer during periods of data entry and analysis. Work days will typically be 10-12 hours.

Application Instructions:

All interested, qualified persons must contact Hillary Young at hillary.young@lifesci.ucsb.edu and cc Devyn Orr at devyn@ucsb.edu with a letter of interest, resume, and contact information for two references; If you have questions regarding this position (esp. logistics including lodging, dates, travel reimbursement, etc), please email Devyn, or refer to the lab website for general inquiries: https://nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Flabs.eemb.ucsb.edu%2Fyoung%2Fhillary%2F&data=02%7C01%7Ceric.schultz%40uconn.edu%7Cb1abf55d3eed4e61fd9908d6a4798d03%7C17f1a87e2a254eaab9df9d439034b080%7C0%7C0%7C636877239346769894&sdata=d6MNBRKEVWC1Xka%2BwdNxrZD0i63%2Bp0FaSZdqSFP1T%2B0%3D&reserved=0