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  • Oregon Marbled Murrelet Project General Technician

    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 (OMMP) at Oregon State University is hiring twelve (12) seasonal field technicians from 4/18/22 to 8/12/22 (17 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 searched for the most elusive nest in North America.

    Technicians will use radio telemetry, audio and visual equipment, vegetation sampling, and other observational survey techniques to collect data on nesting and space use of marbled murrelets. Full training will be provided for all field tasks. Technicians will gain experience and become highly proficient using radio telemetry in difficult conditions and diverse landscapes. The field crew will be stationed in shared field housing on the central Oregon coast and will utilize university-provided vehicles for all work activities. The field schedule is variable including 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. The use of CB radios is required while driving in the forest and safety training is provided. Work occurs in all weather conditions which regularly include rain, fog and large temperature swings. All personnel should expect to carry field equipment upwards of 50 lbs. off-trail in steep, loose terrain. 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, in pairs, and in larger groups 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, field technicians will attain proficiency in: radio telemetry, safe driving in the field, audio-visual bird surveys (dawn nest watches, point counts), safely navigating in backcountry terrain, data entry and data management, maintenance and troubleshooting of data recording equipment (audio recorders, cameras, stationary telemetry dataloggers), vegetation sampling and surveys.

    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.



    $550 - $650 per week based on experience

    Start Date


    To Apply

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

    Duties and Responsibilities

    Full training will be provided for all duties and responsibilities

    - 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 large distances (up to 5 miles, occasionally more) 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

    - Communicate regularly with project staff, crew leads, and crew mates via phone, text, email, and in meetings

    - 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


    Minimum Qualifications

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

    - Valid Driver’s License and a clean driving record

    - Ability to work in the United States

    - Strong communication and organization skills

    - Some bird identification skills

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

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

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

    - Ability to work well with a team and independently

    Preferred Qualification

    - 2 years of relevant experience (field position, research position, outdoor education/work) (1 summer job or volunteer position = 1 year of experience)

    - Previous field experience working in forested and/or mountainous locations 

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

    - Experience conducting Marbled Murrelet inland surveys

    - Trail building experience

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

    - Experience interacting 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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