Summer Field Technician in Grassland Insect Ecology

JOB: Summer Research Technician in Grassland Insect Ecology (4 months, Montana and Wyoming)

The USDA, Agriculture Research Service, Northern Plains Agriculture Research Laboratory in Sidney, MT is seeking an enthusiastic and hard-working individual to assist in grassland insect field research. Field work will be conducted both at ~9000 feet elevation in the Bighorn National Forest in northern Wyoming and on diverse native rangelands in eastern Montana and on the Little Missouri National Grassland in western North Dakota. Our research primarily focuses on grassland insect and rangeland ecology; specifically how interactions between grasshoppers and Mormon crickets affect grassland health and livestock grazing sustainability, how drought and weather variation affects grasshopper outbreaks and ecosystem processes, and how fire and livestock grazing can reduce grasshopper outbreaks. The diverse work duties will include sampling grasshoppers and other rangeland insects in large scale experiments, identifying and sampling rangeland plants, setting up and conducting small scale manipulative experiments in the field and greenhouse, behavioral observations, and lab work to sort and process samples collected.  Overnight travel to Wyoming and eastern Montana is required, with government vehicles provided. Candidates will gain hands on experience with diverse field sampling and experimental methods, as well as insect and plant identification techniques, while working in a team oriented research environment.

Salary: Full time, $12.21-$13.32 per hour (GS-2 – 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 ~$140 per month, including utilities, internet and basic cable TV.

Dates: June through the end of September, depending on a candidate’s availability.

Qualifications: The candidate should be able to walk rapidly over rangeland and work at high elevation sites, be physically fit, and able to spend long hours in difficult field conditions (hot weather, biting insects, mountain weather). Willingness to work long days and weekends when necessary is a must.  Undergraduate course work in ecology, entomology, or range science, and previous field research experience is preferred, but not required. Must be a US citizen.

Application process: Please send cover letter describing relevant experience or coursework, resume (including major, relevant experience/coursework, technical skills, and prior employment), and names and contact information of two references (electronically) to Nicole Davidson (  Be sure to include available start and end dates.

Evaluation of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. For more information on the research program visit: or contact us directly.