JOB OPENING: Biological Science Technician - Seabird, Channel Islands National Park, Ventura, California
EMPLOYER: California Institute of Environmental Studies (CIES). www.ciesresearch.org
POSITION BACKGROUND: One biological science technician position monitoring multiple seabird species is available in Channel Islands National Park, Ventura, CA. This is a full time, field and office-based position with most of the work to be conducted on Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and Anacapa Islands and in a work-from-home capacity for data entry needs. The position will pay $20.70 per hour ($18 base hourly with 15% wage bonus in lieu of health insurance). $20 field per diem will be provided for multiday trips. The position will begin in March 2021 and will continue through August 2021. Only those applicants that can be available for the full length of the position will be considered. As we are unable to provide housing while not on the islands, applicants within driving distance of Ventura, CA will be prioritized.
JOB DUTIES: The successful applicant will conduct surveys for ground nesting and burrow nesting species of seabirds within Channel Islands National Park. These surveys will include nest colony counts of California Brown Pelican from ground and boats; nest success surveys for Scripps’s Murrelet, Cassin’s Auklet and Ashy Storm-petrel; and several nights per month of nocturnal mist-netting for storm-petrel species (Ashy Storm-petrel specifically, though other species present). Protocols and training will be provided, though prior relevant experience will be very valuable.
Data entry duties will include entering survey data, entering data from photos taken by camera traps located within Ashy Storm-petrel caves, and potentially counting pelican nests from aerial photos using ArcGIS software. There may be some opportunity to work on habitat restoration projects on Anacapa Island, which may include restoration plot maintenance, nursery work, and vegetation surveys.
FIELD CONDITIONS AND CAVEATS: Work will be conducted within Channel Islands National Park on several islands but focused on Anacapa, Santa Cruz, and Santa Barbara islands. Transportation is by boat or helicopter, occasionally in less than ideal weather conditions. Seabird surveys take place in a variety of habitats, not limited to: cliffs, caves, steep vegetated slopes, from the deck of boats, from helicopters, and in areas only accessible by sea kayak. Applicants with concerns or phobias of heights, seasickness and/or swimming should assess their ability to engage in these activities before applying (personal protective equipment and training will be provided). Exposure to seabird guano, both in nest sites and from hormonal, territorial gulls is nearly guaranteed. Successful applicants will be crawling around on the ground and looking into small crevices containing seabirds but also mice and mouse feces in areas where Hantavirus has been detected. While most of the work is planned around appropriate weather, occasionally work will be performed in inclement weather, including high winds, rain and (rarely) excessive heat.
Successful candidates must be able to problem solve and work well independently (self-directed and safety conscious) as well as with a team, be willing to work long hours in the field, maintain accurate field notes, possess excellent balance and agility, and be in good physical condition. Much of the work is conducted on small and remote islands and applicants must be able to get along well with others as well as work alone and be able to live and work away from mainland life (i.e., inconsistent cell phone coverage and Wi-Fi, no stores or restaurants). Special attention to water conservation is necessary (no natural source of fresh water on Anacapa or Santa Barbara Island) and applicant must be comfortable with minimal personal water usage.
***COVID-19 Special Considerations*** There are special restrictions in place for on-island housing and transportation. Team members will be required to respect both National Park Service policies and CIES policies, as well as coworkers’ needs. Mask use during transportation to and from the island is required. Self-assessment and pre-travel screening (recent health history and infrared temperature) is required for travel on NPS vessels. Field housing is shared, with separate sleeping quarters but shared kitchens, bathrooms, etc. Honest, open communication about changes in health before, during and after island work is important and will allow us to manage workloads safely and efficiently. Successful applicants will be provided with up-to-date COVID protocols for both Channel Islands National Park and CIES.
Qualifications: Training and contextual information will be provided for this position, but preference may be given to those who possess: 1) Bachelor’s degree in biological sciences or related discipline; 2) prior experience with seabird surveys and identification; 3) prior experience with work-from-home situations involving data entry and data management; 4) ability to move and lift equipment and materials up to 50lbs; 5) ability to hike in steep, unstable terrain; 6) desire to work in a remote field setting both independently and as part of a field crew; 7) superior observational and data collection skills; 8) excellent written and verbal communication skills; 9) proficiency in Word, Excel, and Access; 10) a friendly, positive and collaborative attitude. Applicants that do not possess a Bachelor’s degree or specific seabird experience will be considered when other skills and experiences demonstrate an ability to learn new protocols and an ability to make good decisions in the field.
Employer and Position Duration: The position is for a 6-month seasonal biotech with the possibility to extend pending funding/performance. Employment will begin in March 2021 and continue through August 2021. Employment is with the nonprofit organization California Institute of Environmental Studies (CIES).
Job Location and Wages: The position is based out of Ventura, CA with regular travel via boat and helicopter to Channel Islands National Park. Island work ranges from one- to eight-day trips, occasionally longer, on island. “Office” (work from home) work is flexible but generally on a Monday-Friday 8:30am5pm schedule. Work schedule is generally around 160 hours/month and 20 working days per month. Island work and scheduling is dependent on many factors so flexibility in schedule changes is a must. Housing on the mainland is not provided. Island housing is provided and consists of a shared or single occupant bunkhouse (depending on island) with amenities (bathroom, living room, kitchen, and internet), items of a personal nature (toiletries, bedding, food, field clothes) are not provided by the project. The position will pay $20.70 per hour ($18 base hourly with 15% wage bonus in lieu of benefits). $20 field per diem will be provided for multi-day trips.
Application Submission: Please email a cover letter, resume, and two professional references (include names, email addresses, and phone numbers) to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and the position description “Biological Science Technician - Seabird” in the subject line of your email.
Application Deadline: Position opened until filled. Applications will be reviewed beginning on 1 March.