Toolik Field Station – Environmental Data Center Technician position

TFS Environmental Data Center Technician (TFS Seasonal, Job 20-19)

JOB NO:514252

CLASSIFICATION:Temporary Technical Seasonal

GRADE:Temporary Staff Grade 76

WORK TYPE:Temporary

ADMINISTRATIVE UNIT: University of Alaska Fairbanks

SCHOOL/BUSINESS UNIT: UAF Institute of Arctic Biology


Position Summary:

The Institute of Arctic Biology is seeking an Environmental Data Center Technician for the 2020 Summer field season at the Toolik Field Station, a remote field camp located 360 road miles north of Fairbanks along the Dalton Highway, Alaska. This is a seasonal position that works a rotating schedule. The Technician will assist the Spatial and Environmental Data Center Manager and the Field Naturalist in observing and monitoring the phenology of the local biota and associated abiotic conditions of the area.


Responsibilities will include collecting data on plant phenological events, arrival and departure status of bird species, as well as data entry and organization under general supervision. Assistance with other tasks related to the overall goals of the long-term environmental monitoring program, and routine lab equipment trouble-shooting and maintenance will be expected. The position will report to the manager of Toolik Field Station’s Spatial and Environmental Data Center. Our field site is located at the Toolik Field Station, Alaska, in the northern foothills of the Brooks Range (10 hour drive north of Fairbanks) and is the focus of research by scientists who work on a variety of terrestrial, aquatic, and atmospheric projects.

The Spatial and Environmental Data Center offers support to the science community in three ways; 1) collection of long-term baseline environmental and biological data, 2) management of common-use field and laboratory equipment, and 3) limited assistance with field work.

The first objective of the Spatial and Environmental Data Center is to maintain and expand the collection of baseline environmental data complementary to, and in extension of, those already collected by other long-term studies, such as the Arctic LTER and Arctic Observatory Network, and make them available to the research community through the Arctic Data Center. One area of focus is on the timing of biological events in relation to climatic conditions. We have an ongoing long-term plant phenology monitoring program, in which the dates of first occurrences of events such as leaf emergence, flower development and seed dispersal are recorded. We also record data on the timing of bird migration and breeding behavior and a variety of other local environmental events, such as freeze and thaw dates and mammal presence.

The second objective of the Spatial and Environmental Data Center is to provide, maintain, and schedule the use of common-use scientific equipment. Common-use equipment ranges from lab equipment such as microscopes and scales, to deionized water systems and autoclaves. Field equipment spans from water chemistry sensors (hydrolab), spectral reflectance (Unispec) to thermometers and anemometers. Researchers at TFS checkout common-use equipment occurs online, however, the SEDC approves the use of all equipment and provides tutorials on how to properly operate the equipment. Regular maintained and repair is needed on the common-use equipment to keep it functioning for all researchers working out of TFS. On a given day repair or maintenance of equipment may vary from repairing a leaking deionized water system, calibrating a piece of equipment, to examining the electrical connections in a sensor.

The third objective is to support research at TFS through limited assistance of field work. Throughout the season, researchers may need an extra set of hands to complete their field work. This could entail conducting a plant survey, measuring active layer thickness, counting insects, sorting plant vegetation, or anything else they can imagine. The SEDC aids researchers who need an extra hand for a day or two throughout their field season.

The successful candidate’s job duties will include, but are not limited to:

– Monitoring plant phenological events and related characteristics in tussock, heath and shrub


– Measuring NDVI (greening index) of tundra vegetation with a hand-held unit (Unispec spectral


– Helping with making observations for and entering them into the daily Naturalist Journal

– Entering and organizing data

– Routine field and lab equipment scheduling, maintenance, and troubleshooting

– Assist researchers with their field work

– Interact with other scientists and share findings

Preferred knowledge, skills or abilities:

-Ability to participate in rigorous fieldwork under sometimes adverse conditions.

-Interest in arctic flora and fauna

-Ability to use field guides and keys to identify organisms

– Attention to detail and willingness to learn new skills

-Prior experience with ecological data collection, entry, and summarization

-Technical skills at troubleshooting and repairing field and laboratory equipment.

-Proficient in using Microsoft Office products (Word, Excel, PowerPoint).

-Writing and executing simple statistical analysis (Excel, R, other software).

-Strong organizational skills and attention to detail.

-Technical skills to operate a Unispec spectral analyzer and other scientific equipment in the field.

-Ability to work independently in a team setting and to stay on task with a minimum of supervision.

-Ability to seek input from supervisor as needed and to learn quickly by experience and instruction.

-Willingness to work in a remote field site and live in a community setting without much privacy.

Required Experience:

One year of college work in ecology, biology, geography, or environmental science and one-year experience in field-based research or an equivalent combination of training and experience.

Valid driver’s license required.

Length of Employment:

This is a seasonal position that works a rotating schedule with intermittent time off not in camp. The field season typically starts in late May/early June through September. The season length is variable depending on need and availability.

 Airfare is usually provided from most major US airports.

 Transportation to and from camp is provided.

 Room and Board are provided while in camp.

This is a full-time, temporary (non-benefited) position (June-September 2020) Grade 76, minimum $18.18 hourly, DOE. If you are interested, please submit a cover letter, résumé and contact information for 3 professional references (name, phone number and email address) with your application. Applications and supporting documents must be received prior to 11:55 pm Alaska time on February 2, 2020 to be considered. Applications received after this time and date may not be considered for this position.

If you have any additional questions, please contact the Spatial and Environmental Data Center Manager, Dr. Amanda Young at

Affirmative Action Statement: UA is an AA/EO employer and educational institution and prohibits illegal discrimination against any individual:

At-Will: Pursuant to Board of Regents’ Policy 04.01.055.B, temporary, extended temporary, adjunct, student, casual labor, regular new hire probationary employees and those positions designated by the president as officers and senior administrators of the university are employed at-will.

Background Check: The successful applicant is required to complete a background check. Any offer of employment is contingent on the background check.

Public Disclosure Statement: Your application for employment with the University of Alaska is subject to public disclosure under the Alaska Public Records Act.

University of Alaska is a Drug Free Workplace.

Training Policy:

It is the policy of the University of Alaska (UA) that all employees are required to complete training to meet the requirements of the positions they hold, and to complete the required training within a specified period to remain employed at the UA.

Contact Information: If you have any questions regarding this position, please contact University of Alaska HR at 907-450-8200.