SUMMARY OF POSITION:
NatureServe seeks an ecologist with a strong data science background to contribute to NatureServe’s efforts to assess the status and distributions of ecosystems and at-risk species. NatureServe is an established biodiversity conservation science and technology organization with a strategic plan that prioritizes efficiency and effectiveness in the collection, curation, scientific analysis, and delivery of conservation data. The Spatial Ecologist will join a team of scientists, data managers, and developers who work together, and with state, provincial, and federal partners, to provide critical information on the extent, condition, and vulnerability of ecosystems and species habitat. This is an exciting opportunity to contribute to the development, analysis and visualization of foundational ecosystem and species data that is used to guide critical decisions on the management and conservation of imperiled biodiversity across North America.
The Spatial Ecologist will act as the technical lead on projects involving the mapping and assessment of North American ecosystems, including implementing and enhancing assessments of ecosystem vulnerability to climate change (e.g. NatureServe’s Habitat Climate Change Vulnerability Index) and contributing to the NatureServe Network’s development, utilization, and maintenance of core biodiversity data products (in particular, products based on the US National Vegetation Classification). They will be responsible for both conducting analyses and helping to direct the successful implementation of projects, including effectively communicating about our data and science with state and federal partners and other NatureServe staff. The Spatial Ecologist will also be called on to support NatureServe’s Species Habitat Modeling initiative and to coordinate with NatureServe member programs on activities related to spatial modeling to help improve best practices.
We seek a candidate with demonstrated expertise using R and Python to build ecological models and conduct spatial analyses, experience integrating, analyzing, and visualizing large datasets from a variety of sources, and familiarity with remote sensing and climate data. Applicants should possess at least 5 years of experience, an understanding of ecological classification and climate change science, the ability to independently develop and implement modeling approaches, strong interpersonal, communication and task management skills, attention to detail and an appreciation of quality control procedures, an ability to multi-task, and a passion for biodiversity conservation.
- Development of map products for North American ecosystems.
- Conduct assessments of the status of North American ecosystems utilizing a variety of data (remote sensed, plot data, models) to determine their NatureServe conservation status rank, Red List of Ecosystems status, and climate change vulnerability.
- Develop and perform custom assessments of resilience and condition.
- Assist NatureServe’s species habitat modeling team by implementing modeling workflows to create habitat/distribution models and assist in improvement of these workflows.
- Synthesize and visualize model outputs, generate maps and summary reports to directly inform the conservation and management of rare and imperiled ecosystems and species.
- Process, integrate, analyze, and visualize NatureServe species and ecosystem data for a variety of projects and purposes.
- Work closely with project managers to develop proposals and workplans and monitor progress for the technical tasks described above.
- Communicate effectively about NatureServe’s ecological modeling efforts in calls and meetings with partners, clients, and NatureServe Network member programs.
- Communicate about project outcomes in oral, written, and graphic formats to scientific and non-scientific audiences.
REQUIRED EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS:
- 5+ of experience performing ecological analyses for applied applications.
- degree in biology, ecology, or related disciplines, with an emphasis on conservation science.
- Expertise in ecological modeling and biodiversity data science.
- Expertise in ecological modeling in the R statistical and programming environment, including independently developing species distribution models and climate niche models.
- Expertise in biodiversity data science in R, including the integration, processing, analysis and visualization of large biodiversity datasets at the species and ecosystem levels.
- Experience with ESRI products, including ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS Online.
- Familiarity with North American vegetation, ecosystem classification, and analysis of vegetation data.
- Familiarity with climate data analyses, climate change assessment approaches, and manipulation of climate data.
- Experience processing environmental predictor data from a variety of sources, including both remote sensing and climate models.
- Track record of publishing reports or scientific articles related to conservation.
- Exceptional oral and written communication skills and ability to clearly communicate complex technical information to non-technical audiences.
- Interest and experience collaborating with teams, external clients, and other partners.
- Ability to juggle competing priorities.
- Strong organizational skills.
The following skills are not requirements but would be very beneficial:
- Experience with Python and .
- Experience with High-Performance Computing and parallel programming in R in the cloud (AWS/Azure).
- Experience with automated reports in Rmarkdown, and .
- Experience working with and manipulating large climate data sets.
- Experience working in team environments on complex conservation assessments.
- Experience working with NatureServe Network member programs and knowledge of NatureServe’s Natural Heritage Methodology including NatureServe’s Biotics software (highly preferred).
ESSENTIAL PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS:
- Ability to travel independently and attend conferences and meetings
- Ability to speak clearly and hear well, to participate effectively in telecommunications with network members and partners
- Ability to conform to standard office hours
- Typing and repetitive motions associated with computer keyboarding responsibilities
For nearly 50 years, NatureServe has been the authoritative source for biodiversity data across North America. With an international network of nearly 60+ natural heritage programs across the United States and Canada (“the Network”), NatureServe is the leading source of information on rare and endangered species and threatened ecosystems. To protect threatened biodiversity, NatureServe works with conservation scientists throughout the Network and beyond to collect, aggregate, and standardize biodiversity statistics, providing comprehensive data to the public for strategic conservation efforts. NatureServe and the Network develop and manage data for over 100,000 species and ecosystems, answering fundamental questions about what exists, where it is found, and how it is doing.
NatureServe offers employees a comprehensive benefits package. To explore the benefits, visit: https://www.natureserve.org/careers
Applicants must be authorized to work for any employer in the U.S. We are unable to sponsor or take over sponsorship of an employment Visa .
NatureServe is an equal employment opportunity employer and does not discriminate against applicants or employees because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, citizenship status, disability status, genetic information, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression of an otherwise qualified individual, or membership in any other class protected by applicable law.