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  • Oregon Marbled Murrelet Project Crew Leader

    Guest Jon Dachenhaus
    • Employer: Oregon State University
      Location: Newport, OR
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: No value
      Open Until Filled: Yes


    The Oregon Marbled Murrelet Project at Oregon State University is hiring three (3) Crew Leaders from 04/11/22 to 8/12/22 (18 weeks, start and end date may be flexible, possibility of extension) to assist with a long-term, large-scale study of space use and nest success of the federally threatened Marbled Murrelet. This work is being conducted as part of the Forest Animal Ecology Lab at Oregon State University and is led by head PI, Dr. Jim Rivers.

    This is a great opportunity to study one of the most unique birds in North America. Marbled Murrelets spend the majority of their time out on the ocean, but fly inland to nest in mature forests. Murrelets are cryptic nesters, and locating nests is a notoriously difficult task. Therefore, much about their nesting habits remains a mystery. Each nest located provides critical information to understanding this species’ habits, and the field crew members will be able to proudly say they have found the most elusive nest in North America.

    The Crew Leader will manage the field crew and lead field work using radio telemetry, point counts, electronic audio and visual equipment, and vegetation sampling to collect data on nesting and space use of Marbled Murrelets. The crew will be stationed in shared field housing on/near the central Oregon coast. The field schedule will be variable and includes long days, very early mornings, and night work, with limited time off. Extensive driving is required on unimproved forest roads with active logging, as well as through paved but busy tourist towns. All safety training is provided. Field work occurs in all weather conditions. Wind, fog, rain, biting/stinging insects, and poison oak will be encountered on a regular basis. All personnel should expect to carry loads upwards of 50lbs. in steep, loose terrain. Physical fitness is necessary for safe transport of heavy and expensive equipment to off-trail forest locations; prior experience hiking and backpacking is an asset. This work is very physically demanding in very difficult terrain. Workload and scheduling varies greatly week to week as the workload depends on the volume of nests located. Work will occur solo and in pairs depending on the nature of the work. Some travel out of state may be required.  Compensation is a monthly salary, based on experience, plus shared field housing, and use of university vehicles for work activities.

    Upon completion of this position, crew leaders will gain experience working on a large research project and working with a listed species. Crew leaders will also gain experience facilitating meetings, writing reports, managing data entry, and creating schedules. A successful crew leader will be one who communicates often with the Faculty Research Assistants and regularly delegates tasks to the technicians on their crew. 


    The Oregon Marbled Murrelet Project is an equal-opportunity employer. As such, we promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of our research, in line with the values shared by the College of Forestry. We welcome all applicants, regardless of race, ethnicity, orientation, or gender identity.


    Start Date



    $650 - $750 per week based on experience

    To Apply:

    Visit the project website (http://oregonmurrelet.org) to fill out an application for a CREW LEAD position. In addition to filling out the application, applicants will need to provide their RESUME

    Job Duties:


     - Supervise and manage the field crew in coordination with the faculty research staff

    - Use sound judgment, make decisions and communicate clearly under challenging field conditions

    - Coordinate and communicate effectively with other field crew members and supervisors verbally and in writing. This includes regularly responding to voicemails, texts and emails throughout the season

    - Ensure safety measures are followed by all crew members, including check-in/check-out procedures

    - Lead weekly safety and  planning meetings, and create and oversee the weekly schedules

    - Delegate tasks including regular cleaning and maintenance of shared housing, vehicles and gear

    - Foster a welcoming, inclusive, and cohesive environment within the field crew

    - Identify opportunities to impart knowledge and delegate leadership experience for individual crew members

    - Other duties as assigned

    Field Work:

    - Train and supervise the field crew in data collection and protocols

    - Search for tagged birds using radio telemetry on nests in remote, mountainous, forested locations up to 80 km from the coast

    - Conduct dawn nest surveys to visually locate murrelet nests

    - Conduct radio telemetry from established stations along the coast to obtain locations of tagged birds in the nearshore marine environment

    - Conduct point count surveys for nest predators

    - Conduct vegetation sampling at nest sites

    - Set-up and maintain remote nest monitoring equipment (video cameras, audio recording devices, and/or stationary telemetry receivers)

    - Enter and proof data on a daily basis

    - Navigate off-trail in backcountry areas using GPS devices and/or topographic maps over challenging terrain with limited cell phone service

    - Cut and maintain trails from road to research sites

    - Transport field equipment (50 lbs. or more) over long distances (up to 5 miles) off trail in steep terrain

    - Conduct all work in accordance with the College of Forestry/OMMP safety requirements

    - Regularly clean and maintain shared housing, vehicles and gear

    - Maintain professional working relationships on the job and in shared housing

    - Camp overnight (for up to several days) in remote locations

    - Drive long distances on both busy coastal roads and on unimproved forest roads that require 4 wheel drive

    - Other duties as assigned

    Data Management:

    - Provide leadership on data collection using a variety of electronic and paper-based methods

    - Enter and proof data according to protocols, and train field crews in these tasks

    - Conduct data quality assurance reviews and weekly data transfers with supervisors

    - Create maps in ESRI ArcGIS and Google Earth, and determine access routes in remote areas


    Minimum Qualifications:

    - Bachelor’s degree in biology, environmental science or a related field

    - 3 years or more of field experience (1 seasonal job or volunteer position = 1 year of experience), or previous experience as part of the Oregon Murrelet Marbled Project

    - Valid Driver’s License and a clean driving record

    - Experience and/or comfort navigating off-trail in the backcountry

    - Ability to work in the United States

    - Some bird identification skills

    - Ability to physically complete all listed duties and responsibilities (hiking, transporting field equipment, etc.)

    - Capable of working long hours and variable schedules, including nights and early mornings, in inclement weather with limited time off

    - Must be willing to drive and camp in remote locations, without cell reception

    - Applicants must have normal vision and hearing to conduct surveys

    - Applicants should be detail-oriented and have good time management

    Preferred Qualifications:

    - Experience leading crews and creating work schedules

    - Conflict resolution experience and/or skills

    - Experience working in forested and/or mountainous locations

    - Previous experience working in backcountry as part of a research project or trail building crew

    - Experience conducting Marbled Murrelet inland surveys

    - Use of bird identification skills for previous research, education, or work

    - Ability to read maps and use GPS devices to safely navigate remote and/or challenging terrain

    - Ability to interact positively with the public while undertaking research 

    - 4-wheel drive experience

    Contact Person

    Jon Dachenhaus and Ethan Woodis

    Contact Email



    Oregon Marbled Murrelet Project: http://oregonmurrelet.org

    Forest Animal Ecology Lab: http://people.forestry.oregonstate.edu/jim-rivers/forest-animal-ecology-lab

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