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Aquatic Instrumentation Scientist

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Battelle manages and operates the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) project, which is solely funded by the National Science Foundation. A 30+ year project dedicated to understanding how changes in climate, land use and invasive species impact ecology, the observatory’s scientists and engineers are collecting a comprehensive range of ecological data on a continental scale across 20 eco-climatic domains representing US ecosystems. Our teams use cutting-edge technology, including an airborne observation platform that captures images of regional landscapes and vegetation; mobile, relocatable, and fixed data collection sites with automated ground sensors to monitor soil and atmosphere; and trained field crews who observe and sample populations of diverse organisms and collect soil and water data. Once structures are completed, a leading edge cyberinfrastructure will calibrate, store and publish this information. The Observatory includes more than 500+ personnel and is the first of its kind designed to detect and enable forecasting of ecological change at continental scales.

We are currently seeking Aquatic Instrumentation Scientist. This position is located in Boulder, CO.


The Aquatic Instrumentation Scientist will be part of an Aquatic Team that is responsible for operating, maintaining, and improving a national program to assess physical, chemical, and biological changes in lakes, rivers, and streams over 30 years. The Team currently documents field and lab methods, maintains and improves algorithms for data QA/QC and uncertainty estimates, and trains personnel in order to produce high quality data products for the research, education, and decision-making community.

the Aquatic Instrumentation Scientist will work with an interdisciplinary team of ecologists, engineers, and other scientists to develop, test, and implement statistically valid quality control and assurance procedures for data products that will enable researchers to investigate the impact of climate change, land-use change, invasive species, and unsustainable water use on freshwater ecosystems of North America. The Aquatic Instrumentation Scientist is responsible for evaluating, updating, and maintaining detailed sampling designs and analytical protocols for the aquatic instrumented subsystem (AIS) of the NEON project. This position will require collaboration with the NEON Engineering Team for development of engineering-level documentation of the AIS components, including AIS infrastructure redesign efforts. The position will develop data analysis packages to monitor, evaluate and test sensor data across a nationally distributed sensor network, and update algorithm theoretical basis documents, command, configuration, and control documents for sensor installations, and update the scientific rationale for the NEON AIS, as needed. The Staff Scientist will define and improve approaches for quantifying and tracking uncertainty, calculating error budgets, and developing models for trend detection. The position will develop, document, and analyze data for data comparison, availability, and validation tests for NEON AIS data products. Ultimately, the position will develop automated procedures for detecting fluctuations or erratic readings that may indicate a problem due to sensor installation or field conditions that require attention. This position will play a key role in communications with the aquatic Technical Working Groups and the larger aquatic science community. In collaboration with the Aquatic Sciences Manager, this position will help identify and propose new initiatives to further Battelle business opportunities.

This position requires a broad experience base in freshwater ecology, with a specific focus on experience and knowledge of monitoring instrumentation in aquatic systems. Further, experience in programming languages such as R or Python is strongly preferred. The ideal candidate will have at least five years of research experience.


• Lead the development and implementation of data QA/QC plans and algorithms for the Aquatic Instrumented Subsystem (AIS). Code data processing and testing procedures and write sensor-related quality assurance and algorithm basis documents.

• Update the command, configuration, and control documents for aquatic sensors and data generating devices.

• Assist in training program for field based crews for instrumentation installation, maintenance and procedure plans, and optimization.

• Document and support the scientific rationale for the NEON AIS, validate decisions against that design.

• Participates in the larger NEON science community (e.g., attending conferences and working groups), supporting the active engagement between the Observatory and the broader science community to promote scientific advancements in continental- scale ecology relevant to the Observatory mission.

• Collaborate with NEON engineers and scientists to ensure the appropriate sensor calibrations and audit sampling procedures for the AIS

• Travels to Domain sites up to 10% of work time.

• Follow NEON safety requirements, policy, and procedures.


• PhD degree in ecology, biology, engineering, or a related field and 0 – 2 years of experience, OR

• Master's degree in ecology, biology, engineering, or a related field and 2-5 years of experience, OR

• Bachelor's degree in ecology, biology, engineering, or a related field and 5 - 8 years of experience

• Experience in aquatic or riparian ecology, limnology, or related field.

• Specialization in instrumentation and methodology of lakes, rivers, and streams ecosystems.

• Previous experience in freshwater ecology, with emphasis on the development of long-term maintenance of a disperse network of in situ instrumentation.

• Significant field experience working in lakes, rivers, or streams of North America.

• Significant experience communicating to the research community and federal agencies in a high-profile, professional environment, with demonstrated experience working in a collaborative scientific and engineering enterprise.

• Demonstrated ability to write technical and scientific documents.

• High level of attention to detail, with a self-directed and goal-oriented work style.

• Experience working with databases or other data management software (e.g. Access, Oracle).

• Experience with statistical analysis.

• Experience with data analysis using coding language (e.g. R, Python).

• Ability and willingness to travel to Aquatic sites up to 10% of the time.


• Expertise with in situ aquatic sensor maintenance, data quality assessment, and theory including both optical and electrical types.

• Proficient knowledge of stream hydrological and morphological dynamics preferred.

• Experience optimizing field installations of aquatic instrumentation.

• Experience programming in R or Python.

• Experience with trend analysis.

• Experience with geographical location information systems, such as ArcGIS.

• Experience working with federal and state agencies and NGO’s.



Battelle’s competitive benefits program includes comprehensive medical and dental care, matching 401K, paid time off, flexible spending accounts, disability coverage, and other benefits that help provide financial protection for you and your family.

Battelle provides employment and opportunities for advancement, compensation, training, and growth according to individual merit, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, age, genetic information, disability, military or veteran status, or any other protected classes covered under federal or applicable state and local law. Our goal is for each staff member to have the opportunity to grow to the limits of their abilities and to achieve personal and organizational objectives. We will support positive programs for equal treatment of all staff and full utilization of all qualified employees at all levels within Battelle.