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Assistant Scientist, River Ecology - Illinois Natural History Survey

Jobs Available
Expiration Date: 

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. Learn more at   

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer. Minorities, women, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit  

INHS is seeking an Assistant Scientist who will oversee and lead field research in the collection of lotic ecology data.  This position is located in Champaign, Illinois.
Major Duties and Responsibilities Include:

  • Performs statistical analysis and grant reporting.
  • Prepare scientific reports for funding agencies or for publication in professional journals.
  • Translate scientific data into reports, publications, and/or presentations to be delivered at conferences or professional meetings.
  • Manage and analyze research and monitoring data into scientific findings and provide management recommendations to funding agencies, collaborators, and other interested parties.
  • Conduct, develop, and participate in innovative research and service activities. Responsible for fish identification, processing, and data entry.
  • Ensure field and laboratory equipment are properly maintained, grant and contract obligations are fulfilled, and quality assurance standards are met.
  • Represent the Survey and PRI as a technical advisor to state and local agencies.
  • Seek external funding for research projects and contribute to externally funded projects with colleagues at the Survey, PRI, and outside agencies.
  • Supervise, mentor, and lead students and hourly workers to achieve success and foster a culture of innovations and high-level performance at both individual and organizational levels.
  • Provide appropriate training in field research techniques and boating safety, directing/prioritizing work duties, and completing performance evaluations.
  • Independently lead field crews of technicians, graduate students, and interns in the collection of fish population data using pulsed-DC electrofishing.
  • Coordinate field sampling schedules and the development of random electrofishing locations within each river.
  • Perform other duties in order to further the mission and goals of the Survey, PRI, and the University of Illinois.
  • Keep abreast of developments in this discipline.
  • Participate in Survey, PRI, and outside scientific organizations.

Required Qualifications:
Master’s degree in Fisheries, Aquatic Ecology, Zoology, Natural Resources, Environmental Science, or related field. Alternate degree fields will be considered depending on the nature and depth of the experience at it relates to this position. A minimum of 3 years of experience operating and maintaining boats and electrofishing equipment, fisheries data management and analyses, fish identification, writing of technical reports, presentations to laymen and professional audiences. Experience driving 4WD trucks and trailering boats. Experience working on large river systems by boat. Valid Driver’s License. Knowledge with Fish identification.
Knowledge with analytical software (e.g., R, ArcGIS, Primer & Permanova). Extensive knowledge of Midwestern US fish identification and ecology. Knowledge of coding languages (e.g. R, SQL, VBA). Must be able to swim. 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 commonly-employed software and databases.

Preferred Qualifications:  
Experience working with the public and natural resource managers, understanding of database structure and management, statistics and ecological applications. USCG marine safety training or similar.

Environmental Demands:  
Will require working in adverse field conditions (heat, humidity, biting insects, etc.), and travel (including driving to and from research sites) throughout the state of Illinois. Position involves lifting and carrying equipment weighing up to 40 pounds.

Proposed Start Date: Negotiable

Salary: $45, 000 - $50, 000, depending on qualifications and experience.

Appointment Status:    
This is a regular full-time academic professional appointment, renewable annually based upon satisfactory progress in the position and continued funding.

To Apply:  Please complete your candidate profile at and upload a PDF cover letter, CV/resume, and the names and contact information (including e-mail addresses) for three professional references by December 9, 2019. Interviews may be conducted before the closing date; however, no hiring decision will be made until after the closing date.  All requested information must be submitted for your application to be considered.  Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.
For further information, please contact Amber Hall at or 217-300-4080.  For technical questions regarding the position, please contact Yong Cao at
The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer.