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Coastal Ecology Research Technician - Gopher Tortoises

The University of Georgia
Outside Athens

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Posting Number:


Working Title:

Coastal Ecology Research Technician - Gopher Tortoises


PSO-Marine Extension Service

About the University of Georgia:

The University of Georgia (UGA), a land-grant and sea-grant university with statewide commitments and responsibilities, is the state’s oldest, most comprehensive, and most diversified institution of higher education ( UGA is currently ranked among the top 15 public universities in U.S. News & World Report. The University’s main campus is located in Athens, approximately 65 miles northeast of Atlanta, with extended campuses in Atlanta, Griffin, Gwinnett, and Tifton. UGA was founded in 1785 by the Georgia General Assembly as the first state-chartered University in the country. UGA employs approximately 1,800 full-time instructional faculty and more than 7,700 full-time staff. The University’s enrollment exceeds 39,000 students including over 30,000 undergraduates and over 9,000 graduate and professional students. Academic programs reside in 18 schools and colleges, as well as a medical partnership with Augusta University housed on the UGA Health Sciences Campus in Athens.

About the College/Unit/Department:

UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant provides research, education, training and science-based outreach to assist Georgia in solving problems and realizing opportunities for its coastal and marine environments. By advancing research, education and training, and outreach, UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant promotes the economic, cultural and environmental health of Georgia’s coast and prepare citizens to become good stewards of coastal ecosystems and watershed resources.

UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant is a unit of Public Service and Outreach at the University of Georgia, supporting Georgia’s short- and long-term prosperity.

UGA Marine Extension serves a diverse coastal constituency and educates citizens about Georgia’s marine resources and the importance of being good environmental stewards. It provides assistance to marine industries by finding ways to increase their efficiency and effectiveness and encourages the development of new, environmentally sustainable industries.

The Georgia Sea Grant College Program is part of a national network of 34 Sea Grant programs located in every coastal and Great Lakes state, Puerto Rico, Lake Champlain, and Guam. These programs serve as a core of a dynamic university-based network of over 300 institutions involving more than 3,000 scientists, engineers, educators, students and outreach experts.

College/Unit/Department website:

Employment Type:


Advertised Salary:

$11.00-12.50/hr, commensurate with experience

Anticipated Start Date:


Posting Date:


Open Until Filled:


Special Instructions to Applicants:

Please submit a minimum of three references with contact information.

Location of Vacancy:

Outside Athens

EOO Statement:

The University of Georgia is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ethnicity, age, genetic information, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation or protected veteran status. Persons needing accommodations or assistance with the accessibility of materials related to this search are encouraged to contact Central HR ([email protected]).


Field work focused on research data collection on conservation and mine lands.

Percentage of time:



Mine site surveys and priority species assessments.

Percentage of time:



Office work, including the data entry, management, map creation, photo processing and literature research for both scientific/reporting and non-scientific purposes.

Percentage of time:



Husbandry of captive animal collection.

Percentage of time:



Development of communication materials for public consumption (e.g., social media content) and programming (e.g., miner training, outreach).

Percentage of time:


Classification Title:

Temporary Technical Paraprofessional





Position Summary:

This position is part of an on-going field research and monitoring project in multiple counties in South Georgia. We work with Southern Ionics Minerals (SIM)/Chemours to conduct pre-mining species (animal and plant) surveys to assess impacts and develop plans for the avoidance or relocation of impacted species. Specifically, we focus on gopher tortoises and other priority and listed species in upland sandhills habitats. We conduct research on the post-translocation success of gopher tortoises on protected conservation lands. Additionally, we initiated new research in fall 2020 on the colonization and succession of reclaimed lands that involves broader ecological sampling of plant and soil communities but focuses largely on wildlife and reptile activity. This technician position will be expected to contribute intellectually to project execution and management, and where appropriate, design and implementation of novel research designs in the field.
If re/translocations are necessary, we excavate and move tortoises to off-site conservation lands or on-site reclaimed mine lands where we conduct post-translocation monitoring research. Our research program uses GPS and VHF telemetry and wildlife camera monitoring to explore the integration of translocated and resident gopher tortoise populations. Hence, the researcher also will be trained on radio tracking, checking game cameras, and trapping tortoises.
The technician will undergo specific task training with current project researchers for compliance with UGA and partnering protocols. MSHA safety and first aid trainings will be involved as a new employee working on mine sites.
Our lab is located at the UGA Marine Extension facility in Brunswick. This position involves office work to transfer and manage datasets associated with the projects, and to conduct basic summary and analysis of data as necessary for adaptive project management and for use in reports for the sponsor, natural resource agencies, and scientific communities. The technician will produce maps of field data in ArcGIS and may do some spatial data analysis.
As our lab has a strong mission for community engagement and public education, the technician also will assist with public communications via content development for social media and project promotion; public or classroom education events (field, classroom, tabling); and staff trainings for new miners on wildlife identification or other types of workforce development. Also, the individual will participate in husbandry of captive education and research animals at the Marine Extension facility in Brunswick.
Typically, the technician will be expected to work 5 days a week (M-F), which will involve 3-4 field days and 1-2 office days; however, the work schedule may involve slightly shorter or longer days or a weekend depending on the task schedule and mine plan. We may have to adapt our schedules to those of the animals, but we make up for the occasional long days and weekends with time off! Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, along with vacation requests (within reason), will be accommodated but as unpaid leave.
Since this position is temporary and cannot exceed the federal restriction of a maximum 1300 hours in one year, health and retirement benefits are not provided by the University of Georgia. The technician will provide their own housing, computer, cell phone, and transportation for work commute and occasional fieldwork (the latter of which is reimbursable). Living location is based on the candidate’s preference for commutes to the office and field sites. This seasonal technician position is guaranteed for the remainder of 2021, with a possible extension based on job performance and funding availability.

Relevant/Preferred Education, Experience, Licensure, Certification in Position:

Undergraduate degree in Biology, Ecology, Wildlife Management or related field OR 3 years relevant experience in field research and wildlife.
Experience driving 4WD trucks on muddy, sandy and challenging unpaved roads is strongly preferred.
Field experience with surveying for Gopherus spp., including experience with burrow cameras and scoping burrows is highly preferred.
Field experience in the collection and management of field data, sometimes in large amounts such as wildlife camera data, will add to candidate competitiveness.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities and/or Competencies :

A dedicated interest in the conservation and management of wildlife and ecologically viable habitats that interface with human activities.
Field experience with ecological survey and monitoring methods, including wildlife visual encounter surveys and trapping is preferred.
Knowledge of southeastern habitats and upland sandhills plant and animal communities is strongly preferred.
Working knowledge of GIS, statistical analysis and data management software is highly preferred.

Physical Demands:

Good physical condition and a patient temperament, whether by yourself or with co-workers in the field. Some long days in the field in hot, buggy conditions, and surveys in thick, thorny vegetation. Physical exertion may involve walking up to 10 mi/day for surveys, sometimes carrying up to 15 lbs of equipment and bulky burrow scopes. Scoping burrows, continuous bending over and squatting. Tortoises can be challenging to capture and handle and occasional capture and safe handling of venomous snakes. Driving multiple hours round-trip to field sites. Maintaining compliance with UGA COVID monitoring and safety protocols.

Is this a Position of Trust?:


Does this position have operation, access, or control of financial resources? :


Does this position require a P-Card? :


Is having a P-Card an essential function of this position? :


Is driving a requirement of this position?:


Does this position have direct interaction or care of children under the age of 18 or direct patient care?:


Does this position have Security Access (e.g., public safety, IT security, personnel records, patient records, or access to chemicals and medications):



The University of Georgia, a land-grant and sea-grant university with statewide commitments and responsibilities, is the state's oldest, most comprehensive, and most diversified institution of higher education. It is the birthplace of the American system of public higher education.

university_of_georgia2.jpgToday, UGA enrolls more than 36,000 students. The main campus has 460 buildings on 765 acres of land. The total acreage of UGA in 30 Georgia counties is 41,539. UGA has 17 colleges and schools, which include Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Business, Ecology, Education, Engineering, Environment and Design, Family and Consumer Sciences, Forestry and Natural Resources, Graduate School, Journalism and Mass Communication, Law, Pharmacy, Public Health, Public and International Affairs, Social Work and Veterinary Medicine. It offers 25 baccalaureate degrees in more than 140 fields; 34 master’s degrees in 130 fields; 18 educational specialist degrees; four doctoral degrees in 98 areas; professional degrees in law, pharmacy and veterinary medicine; and more than 170 study-abroad and exchange programs. UGA Libraries rank among the top third of the nation’s best research libraries and contain a total of 4.7 million volumes and one of nation’s largest map collections. The university has had 21 recipients of the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. In 2008, UGA was the only public university in America to have two recipients of the Rhodes Scholarship. UGA is home of the Peabody Awards, presented annually for distinguished achievement and meritorious public service by television and radio stations, networks, producing organizations, individuals and the World Wide Web. It also is home of Georgia’s State Botanical Garden, state Museum of Art and State Museum of Natural History. Additionally, UGA has one of the largest and most comprehensive public service and outreach programs conducted by an American educational institution.


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215 S. Jackson St.
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