Visiting Senior Scientific Specialist, Aquatic Ecologist - Illinois Natural History Survey (A180014

Job description

Visiting Senior Scientific Specialist, Aquatic Ecologist

Illinois Natural History Survey
Prairie Research Institute
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) has been the guardian and recorder of the biological resources of Illinois-the state's biological memory. With more than 260 scientists and staff, INHS is recognized as the premier natural history survey in the nation. The mission of INHS is to investigate and document the biological resources of Illinois and other areas, and to acquire and provide 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. PRI houses five large scientific surveys covering a wide range of expertise including biology, water resources, climate, geology, sustainable technology, and archaeology. PRI's mission is to provide objective, integrated scientific research and service, in cooperation with other academic and research units of the University of Illinois and elsewhere, that allow citizens and decision-makers to make choices that ensure sustainable economic development, enduring environmental quality, and cultural resource preservation for the people, businesses, and governments of Illinois. To learn more about INHS please visit

INHS is seeking a Visiting Senior Scientific Specialist, Aquatic Ecologist to coordinate and execute highly technical, specialized field sampling on Lake Michigan as well as collect, manage, analyze, and report complicated fisheries data. Position is based at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Lake Michigan Program Office in Des Plaines, Illinois. Incumbent will have opportunity to collaborate with the Lake Michigan Biological Station (LMBS) staff. LMBS focuses on research and outreach to improve management of Lake Michigan fisheries, to understand the ecology of the lake, and to prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species.

Major Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Collaborate with Illinois Department of Natural Resources Division of Fisheries staff to support and implement fisheries resources programs on Lake Michigan.
  • Conduct field assessments such as electrofishing for black basses and salmonids as well as gill netting operations for yellow perch and lake trout.
  • Perform lab work such as aging otoliths; and reviewing, analyzing and evaluating data pertinent to sport fish management programs.
  • Coordinate data collection for a Chinook salmon coded wire tag project as part of a lake-wide study directed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • Act as liaison on projects and direct personnel hired by the USFWS while collecting data in Illinois' jurisdiction.
  • Carry out research applicable to Lake Michigan sport fishes in fulfillment of duties outlined by the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act. Ideally, studies should address research priorities identified by the Lake Michigan Technical Committee.
  • Perform bathymetry data collecting and mapping for five offshore reefs in Illinois waters of Lake Michigan: A single beam FURUNO echo sounder LS-6100 (200 kHz) with a thru-hull transducer and Standard Horizon CP180 GPS will be used to collect bathymetry data. Corrected bathymetry data will be imported into ESRI ArcMap and interpolation procedures (i.e., kriging or triangulated irregular network) will be performed. Once the bathymetric data is finalized, contour maps will be developed for each reef.
  • Employ, operate and maintain in good repair a variety of specialized tools, equipment and assessment nets. In addition, will use and operate boats, outboard motors, electrical generators, nets, database entry and data analysis software.
  • Assist in the preparation of project plans and reports as well as summaries of findings and analyses for online distribution to the public.
  • Supervise, mentor, and lead undergraduate students, graduate students, and hourly workers to achieve success and foster a culture of innovation and high-level performance at both individual and organizational levels. This includes task assignment, scheduling, ongoing performance management with coaching and feedback and travel approval.
  • Some extended/overnight travel may be necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of this position.
  • Ride and function aboard commercial boating vessels operating under a wide variety of weather conditions.
  • Keep abreast of developments in this discipline.
  • Perform other duties as needed in order to further the mission and goals of PRI.

Required Qualifications:
Master's degree in biology, natural resources or aquatic ecology. Alternate degree fields will be considered/accepted depending on the nature and depth of the experience as it relates to this position. Previous experience on large bodies of water with active wave movement. Experience with demanding field collection protocols. Experience in training others to adhere to specific guidelines. Previous experience using standard laboratory protocols and adherence to safety policies. Experience in developing a professional body of work that may include publications, oral presentations, poster presentations, unpublished or published reports, maps, etc. Valid driver's license and ability to swim. Working knowledge of database design and utilization, proficient knowledge of Microsoft Office applications including Excel and Word. Excellent communication, personal relations, collaboration, organizational, teamwork, and leadership skills. Development of professional contacts and activities at a state and/or national level, and a good professional reputation. Demonstrate a well-developed knowledge in specialty area and take initiative to keep abreast of developments in discipline. Exhibit the ability to author scientific reports.Must possess strong interpersonal skills and ability to work collaboratively with other scientists, researchers, staff, and PRI clients.

Preferred Qualifications:

Previous experience conducting bathymetry surveys. Experience leading field crews on research vessels up to 32ft.
Knowledge of fisheries assessment techniques. Working knowledge of GIS software and knowledge of Illinois fish species.

This is a visiting, full-time, academic professional appointment subject to the continued availability of funding and programmatic need. Position may become a regular, non-visiting position at a later date depending on funding and programmatic need. The starting date is negotiable after the closing date. Salary is commensurate with experience.

Applications must be received by March 30, 2018. Applicants may be interviewed before the closing date; however, no hiring decision will be made until after this date. To apply, please visit to complete an online profile and to upload 1) a cover letter that clearly articulates how your qualifications and experience make you a viable candidate for this position and should address the qualifications listed above, 2) a resume/CV, and 3) the names and contact information (including e-mail addresses) of three professional references. All requested information/documentation must be submitted for applications to be considered. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

For further information please contact Lori Walston-Vonderharr, Human Resources, Prairie Research Institute, at [email protected] or 217-244-2401. For technical inquiries, please contact Dr. Sergiusz Czesny, Lake Michigan Biological Station Director, at [email protected]. The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer.

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 To learn more about the University's commitment to diversity, please visit

College Name or Administrative Unit: Office of Vice Chancellor for Research
Category: Academic Professional
Title: Visiting Senior Scientific Specialist, Aquatic Ecologist - Illinois Natural History Survey (A1800140)
Open Date: 03/02/2018
Close Date: 03/30/2018
Organization Name: Illinois Natural History Survey





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Job No:
Posted: 3/3/2018
Application Due: 3/31/2018
Work Type: