Job Opening: LRA III Technician

Earliest Start Date:  June 01, 2020 or when filled Hiring Department:  Department of Integrative Biology Weekly Scheduled Hours:  40 FLSA Status:  Non-Exempt Position Duration:  Expected to Continue Until June 01, 2021.  Renewable.

Location:  BRACKENRIDGE FIELD LAB, Austin, Texas.

Job Description:

Technician will follow the direction of the lead investigator to carry out studies examining the biology and ecology of tawny crazy ants, and natural enemies of this ant particularly microsporidian pathogens.

Job Details:

The Invasive Species Lab at the Brackenridge Field Laboratory, University of Texas at Austin is recruiting a research technician.  The successful applicant will support applied and basic, organismal-level ecological research into questions relevant to biological control, population, behavioral, community, and chemical ecology.

The job is a mixture of field and laboratory-based investigation.  Field work requires overnight travel to field sites in remote regions of Texas and work outside in all seasons, including Texas summer. Camping out is required at some field sites.  Experimental protocols will require a non-standard work schedule sometimes requiring long days, and occasionally working evenings, and/or weekends.

Position ends one year after initial start date.  However may be renewed based upon job performance.


Perform field assays of tawny crazy ant, and native ant abundances and experiments on species interactions and ecology.

    Conduct laboratory experiments investigating the biology of a microsporidian pathogen and a phorid fly parasitoid of this ant.

    Staining and counting microsporidian spore loads in infected ants using compound microscope.  Sort, identify and record ants and other arthropods from pitfall traps. Identify ants and phorid flies to species level and other arthropods to order level.

    Record all data in field data sheets and enter data into spreadsheets. Use GPS to set out transects and record features. Store and label specimens in alcohol vials or in pinned collections. Curate materials and maintain records. Clean and organize laboratory space.

    Conducting experiments into the behavioral and chemical ecology of ant species interactions.

    Care for tawny crazy ant nest fragments: feeding, cleaning of nest containers, preparing supplies.

    Driving a personal or UT vehicle is a requirement for the position. Maintain vehicles in clean, roadworthy condition. Maintain the workspace in a orderly state. Organize work-flow, and maintain activity schedule on multiple projects simultaneously. Other related functions as assigned.

Required Qualifications

A combination of two years of experience in a natural science field, or a technical laboratory. A strong work ethic and attention to detail. Ability to work outside throughout the summer and carry loads over rough ground. Tolerance of heat and insect stings / bites. Fine motor skills. Commitment to safety.  Relevant education and experience may be substituted as appropriate.

Preferred Qualifications:

Bachelors or Masters degree in biological science. Three-year driving record without accidents or tickets.  Strong background and interest in natural history, entomology, chemical ecology behavioral ecology, and biological control. Experience in field ecological studies and experiments. Experience with insect identification. Experience with micro-dissection and microscopy. Laboratory experience in chemistry. Experience with molecular lab procedures. Computer skills including familiarity with spreadsheet manipulation, analysis, and graphing in Microsoft Excel. Experience using GPS. Excellent organizational, interpersonal and communication skills. Ability to perform as a member of a research team.

Driving Required:

This job requires a class “C” operator’s driver’s license. The applicant selected must provide a current three year driving record from the current state of residence. If not currently a Texas resident, a Texas driver’s license must be obtained within 30 days of becoming a Texas resident. Employees who are required to have a CDL are subject to drug and alcohol testing (pre-employment, post-accident, reasonable suspicion, random, return-to-duty, and follow-up drug and alcohol testing).

Salary Range:

$28,000 + depending on qualifications

Working Conditions:

    May require overnight travel/camping out at field sites in remote regions of Texas

    May work in extreme temperatures and weather conditions

    May work outside during Texas summer

    May work around chemical fumes

    May work around standard office conditions

    May work around chemicals

    Repetitive use of a keyboard at a workstation

    Use of manual dexterity

    Climbing of stairs

    Climbing of ladders

    Lifting and moving

Work Shift:

    The job is a mix of field and laboratory-based work.  Field work requires overnight travel to field sites in remote regions of Texas and work outside in all seasons, including Texas summer. Camping out is necessary at some field sites. Experimental protocols will require a non-standard work schedule sometimes requiring long days, working evenings, and/or weekends.

Required Materials:


    3 work references with their contact information; at least one reference should be from a supervisor

    Letter of interest

Retirement Plan Eligibility:

The retirement plan for this position is Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS), subject to the position being at least 20 hours per week and at least 135 days in length.

Regular Benefits Eligible (Fixed Term)

Background Checks:

A criminal history background check will be required for finalist(s) under consideration for this position.