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Assistant Research Scientist, Quantitative Ecology

Expiration Date: 

Assistant Research Scientist, Quantitative Ecology
Illinois Natural History Survey

The Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) investigates and documents the biological resources of Illinois and other areas and acquires and provides natural history information that can be used to promote the common understanding, conservation, and management of these resources. INHS is part of the Prairie Research Institute (PRI) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which is centrally located between Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis. To learn more visit 

The Illinois Natural History Survey’s (INHS) Illinois River Biological Station (IRBS) is one of six stations of the Upper Mississippi River Restoration (UMRR) Program’s Long Term Resource Monitoring element (LTRM), funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and administered by the United States Geological Survey’s Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, La Crosse, Wisconsin.  Staff here also coordinate the Long Term Survey and Assessment of Large River Fishes in Illinois (LTEF) on the Illinois River Waterway and select pools on the Upper Mississippi River, black carp research on the La Grange Reach of the Illinois River, invasive carp monitoring in backwaters of the Peoria Reach of the Illinois River, fish and vegetation monitoring and research at the Emiquon Preserve, and aid in the Illinois Department of Natural Resources ongoing management of bighead and silver carps.  The need for flexible research and monitoring of water quality, native and invasive species is the scientific foundation of IRBS.

This individual will work under the direction of Jim Lamer and work closely with the Illinois River Biological Station scientists, other INHS researchers and faculty, and staff from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Division of Fisheries. The position is based in Havana, Illinois, at the Illinois River Biological Station ( where the applicant will join an interdisciplinary community of researchers and graduate students.  

Job Summary
Explore and quantitatively assess existing fish length and age data to evaluate various approaches to fish stock assessment and identify/pursue data gaps to characterize reach-specific population demographics of recreational and commercially important sport fishes in Illinois and Mississippi rivers and evaluate current sampling strategies for riverine sportfish.

Duties & Responsibilities


  • Assimilate and explore fish length and age data from various published and agency sources, identify data needs, and develop solutions to fill data gaps.
  • Compare underutilized length-based estimators to age-based methods to determine species/conditions in which each of these are appropriate.
  • Evaluate current designs, sample sizes, gears, and effort allocations used to sample fish communities in Illinois’ rivers and identify a standard protocol to best meet management objectives.
  • Work closely with and coordinate efforts between state, federal, and University partners associated with the project.

Research – Data Analysis

  • Analyze data, synthesize results, and author annual technical reports and multiple manuscripts for submission to peer-reviewed scientific journals.
  • Assist other biologists with experimental design, analysis, and writing for a variety of aquatic ecology-related projects.
  • Disseminate research findings to management agencies, the scientific community, and public through presentations at professional meetings, public outreach activities, and in written reports.


  • Ensure the safety of staff and equipment.
  • Respond to requests for scientific/technical information and communicate effectively with collaborators.
  • Participate in community outreach and service event, and mentor hourly staff.


  • Perform other duties as needed to further the mission and goals of the Survey, PRI, and the University of Illinois.
  • Keep abreast of developments in this discipline

Additional Physical Demands
The work of this position takes place in an office setting. The work is sedentary and involves sitting for extended periods of time working at a computer, using a keyboard and mouse, and using repetitive hand motions for data entry. Will require working in a lab environment. Lab safety equipment use is required. May require standing and stationary positions

Minimum Qualifications

Master’s degree in Biology, Aquatic Ecology, Fisheries, Statistics or ecological statistics or related field. Alternate degree fields will be considered depending on the nature and depth of the experience as it relates to this position. A minimum of 5 years of experience and demonstrated analytical/statistical method application to ecology-based research questions and demonstrated research communication through peer-reviewed manuscripts. Valid Driver’s License.

Preferred Qualifications

Ph.D. in Biology, Aquatic Ecology, Fisheries, Statistics, Ecological Statistics, or related field. Alternate degree fields will be considered depending on the nature and depth of the experience as it relates to this position. Ph.D. with a minimum of 3 years of experience applying statistical techniques to ecological data and familiarity or have conducted field and laboratory research on large rivers or other large aquatic systems. Experience driving boats on rivers or other large bodies of water. Experience analyzing stock-assessment data or similar analyses and are familiar with implementation of ecological and multivariate models are preferred. Experience managing and analyzing large data sets.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Strong analytical skills and strong proficiency with R or SAS statistical software and its application to ecological-based statistics. Must be able to write clearly and scientifically as demonstrated through prior publications. Must possess excellent organizational, interpersonal, and oral and written communication skills. Ability to apply analytical/scientific thinking to define and solve problems. Ability to work independently, collect and analyze field data, and coherently communicate findings (verbally and in writing) to granting agencies and to scientific and public communities. Effective communication, personal relations, collaboration, organizational, teamwork, and leadership skills. Demonstrated ability to perform effectively in a diverse and fast-paced work environment consisting of multiple and changing priorities with stringent deadlines, under minimal supervision. Attention to detail, sound judgment, and strong conflict resolution skills. Proficiency in Microsoft Office, R or comparable platform, GIS, and other commonly used software is required. Must have valid driver's license.

Appointment Information
This is a 100% full-time Academic Professional position, appointed on a 12-month basis. The expected start date is as soon as possible on or after October 1, 2022. The starting salary for this position is $52,000.

Application Procedures & Deadline Information
Applications must be received by September 21, 2022. Apply for this position here: using the Apply Now button at the top or bottom of the posting. Applications not submitted through this website will not be considered. Application materials must include a 1) cover letter that clearly outlines your qualifications and experience as it relates to this position, 2) a CV or resume, and 3) names and contact information (including email addresses) for three professional references. Incomplete applications will not be considered. For further information about this specific position, please contact Dr. James Lamer at For questions regarding the application process, please contact 217-333-2137.

The University of Illinois System is an equal opportunity employer, including but not limited to disability and/or veteran status, and complies with all applicable state and federal employment mandates. Please visit Required Employment Notices and Posters to view our non-discrimination statement and find additional information about required background checks, sexual harassment/misconduct disclosures, COVID-19 vaccination requirement, and employment eligibility review through E-Verify.

Applicants with disabilities are encouraged to apply and may request a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (2008) to complete the application and/or interview process. Requests may be submitted through the reasonable accommodations portal, or by contacting the Accessibility & Accommodations Division of the Office for Access and Equity at 217-333-0885, or by emailing