This outreach is an early alert to inform potential applicants that the USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station (NRS) will soon be advertising for a permanent, full-time GS-0408/486-12/13 Research Wildlife Biologist or Ecologist position to develop a research program that supports the mission of NRS-11. The mission of NRS-11 is to provide basic and actionable science and technologies in support of management to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of forests and grasslands in the Central Hardwood Region (CHR) and beyond to meet the needs of present and future generations. This position will be located at the Central Hardwoods Ecosystem and Landscapes Research Work Unit in Columbia, Missouri (https://www.nrs.fs.usda.gov/units/ch/).
If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Dr. Frank Thompson, (firstname.lastname@example.org) no later than June 9, 2023. If you wish, please include a brief narrative, or resume, describing your experience and/or qualifications for the position.
The research of NRS-11 is focused in three problem areas: Developing (1) knowledge about how animal and plant species respond to environmental gradients and disturbances including fire, invasive species, land use change, and climate change, for managing for and sustaining desired compositions, structures, and processes; (2) knowledge and tools for managing community level and ecosystem dynamics for resilience, function, diversity, health, and productivity; and (3) modeling tools and knowledge for land managers, planners, and owners to assess the effects of alternative land management options and natural disturbances on a range of human and ecological benefits.
The CHR spans the southern portion of US Forest Service Eastern Region (R9) and northern tier of the Southern Region (R8). The CHR covers 220 million acres, and is 50 percent forested, of which 12 million acres are in National Forests and Tallgrass Prairie. It is one of the largest forested areas in the country. The work of the unit also extends beyond this well-known forest region to address priority national and international forest and natural resource issues including wildlife conservation and recovery of populations, species and habitats, silviculture to restore natural communities and sustain quality forest and grassland ecosystems and landscapes, invasive species biology, ecology and management, and fire ecology and management.
In the past this position focused on avian species of conservation concern and other focal bird species and to a lesser degree on bats and herpetofauna. We anticipate a similar focus will be mainlined but applicants with expertise across these taxa are encouraged to apply.
The scientist develops studies consistent with the mission of NRS-11 with a particular emphasis on wildlife. The scientist works with other researchers in NRS-11 and the rest of the NRS, National Forest System staff, and collaborators in the academic community, state and federal agencies, tribes, forest industry, and non-governmental organizations to develop appropriate research initiatives for new work in these ecosystems.
The goals of the scientist’s research are to understand wildlife population and demographic responses to natural and anthropogenic processes, synthesize research from multiple disciplines to model the effects of natural and anthropogenic disturbances including forest management activities, endemic and emerging diseases, non-native invasive species, climate change, and landscape change on animal populations of concern, and develop decision-support tools for managers and policy makers. More specifically, the scientist designs field studies and uses existing datasets to develop population demographic models for wildlife species of conservation and management concern in the Central Hardwood region and other ecosystems to assist managers in designing management and conservation/recovery strategies and assist policy makers by providing the best available science regarding population trends and threats. The scientist will develop a collaborative research program that addresses the needs of managers as well as addresses basic questions regarding wildlife demography, population ecology, and evolution. The problems addressed by the scientist are complex due to the difficulty in obtaining data on often rare, spatially dispersed, and reclusive animals and the complex interactions that exist between the animals and their physical and biological environment (e.g., competitors and predators). Further, the scientist must use, modify, or develop complex population and landscape models that are appropriate for the system. The scientist must use state-of-the-art tools such as population and genetic models, GIS, remote sensing, analytical statistics, and spatial statistics to achieve these objectives as well as have knowledge and understanding of forest and wildlife ecology, silvicultural and forest management practices, and other disturbances such as climate change and disease ecology.
The full cycle of research will be required, including concept development, study design and implementation, securing support and assembling a diverse group of partners, data analysis and model development, and dissemination of research through presentations at professional meetings, publication in peer-reviewed journals and other outlets, and technology transfer activities such as workshops and field tours. The scientist will serve as an expert in the fields of wildlife ecology, conservation and management, population dynamics, and landscape ecology. Expected results include models of wildlife populations in response to forest management at various spatial scales, other anthropogenic disturbances such as development and introduced diseases, and increased frequency and extent of natural disturbances brought about by a changing climate.
TYPE OF APPOINTMENT: One permanent full-time position
DUTY STATION: Columbia, Missouri
TELEWORK ELIGIBILITY: Situational
WORK SCHEDULE: Full-time 40 hours per week
QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS: Those who are interested must meet the qualification requirements for the 0408 series (or related series) for scientist positions. The OPM Qualification Standards Handbook Manual is available at https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/classification-qualifications/general-schedule-qualification-standards/. Current U.S. Citizenship is required for employment in this position with the USDA Forest Service.
Columbia, Missouri (population 126,254) is in central Missouri about 2 hours from St. Louis and Kansas City, and about 3 hours from Springfield. It is a progressive Midwestern college town having a reputation for public art and festivals. It is the home of the University of Missouri, Stephens College, and Columbia College. In addition to the colleges and the university, the city's economy also depends on its hospital system and healthcare, as well as on its insurance and technology businesses. Companies such as Shelter Insurance, Carfax, and Veterans United Home Loans were founded in the city. Cultural institutions include the State Historical Society of Missouri, the Museum of Art and Archaeology, and the annual True/False Film Festival and the Roots N Blues Festival. The Columbia Agriculture Park is home to the Columbia Farmers Market. The city is located on the forested hills and rolling prairies of Mid-Missouri, near the Missouri River valley, where the Ozark Highlands to the south meet the rolling plains and farmland to the north. Limestone forms bluffs and glades while rain dissolves the bedrock, creating caves and springs which water the Hinkson, Perche, and Bonne Femme creeks. Surrounding the city, Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, Mark Twain National Forest, and Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge form a greenbelt preserving sensitive and rare environments. A trail system within the city connects many its parks and greenspaces. More information can be found at:
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