Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 4, 2021

Job Opportunity: Biological Science Technician

Biological Science Technician, Botany

Job Description:
Re-vegetation treatments aim to mitigate the degradation of Mojave Desert shrublands impacted by invasive annual grass-fed wildfires. USGS is actively monitoring the effectiveness of ecological restoration so that successful practices can be scaled up to create fuel breaks and re-establish habitat islands burned by large-scale fires. Availability of locally-sourced native seed, however, is limited due to low seed production characteristic of many desert plants.
Seeds are traditionally collected from distant or unknown sources and used for re-vegetating disturbances in the Mojave Desert, yet the consequences of re-introducing non-local versus local plant sources is largely unknown. To address these seed sourcing issues, BLM and USGS developed a focused strategy for understanding the genetic variability of native species and the potential for their commercial development. Research occurs at multiple common gardens distributed across the Mojave Desert, and in combination with genetic testing, is guiding resource managers when and where to use local plant materials for promoting restoration success on desert lands under current and future climates. USGS is seeking to hire two Biological Science Technicians whose core duties will support the common garden research in particular, with additional duties that support the Mojave Desert ecological restoration research in general.

Core duties:
Collect, enter, and conduct QA/QC checks on data for currently-planted species – Ten common gardens located across the Mojave Desert represent a range of temperature and seasonal rainfall, and have seven different native Mojave species currently planted into them. The incumbents will continue data collection on survival, reproduction, growth, and physiology of plants at these gardens, and compile and conduct QA/QC checks on the collected data.

Maintenance of common gardens and satellite-upload Hobo weather stations which are continuously logging conditions at each common garden site. This environmental variability is essential for evaluating local adaptation in native desert species used for habitat restoration but poses challenges for maintaining the integrity of the garden network (e.g., invasion by non-native annual forbs and grasses; punishing winds and high energy summer storms loosen fencing, allowing access to small mammals that graze on research plants). The incumbents will assist with monthly fence maintenance (tightening bolts, re-securing mesh, straightening fence posts, repairing rips in mesh/metal flashing) and with occasional nights of rodent trapping using Sherman live traps to capture and release rodents away from fenced gardens. The incumbents will also assist the installation of new stations and maintenance of existing stations across the gardens. In addition, technicians will assist with soil collection for generating soil moisture release curves for comparing gardens with differing soil textures.

Preparation of garden space for future plant materials raised in the greenhouse – Determination of local adaptation in native Mojave species begins by either directly sowing seed sources into the gardens or outplanting greenhouse-raised stock with known maternal lineage. Maternal effects are reduced by producing seeds in a common environment (greenhouse) from plants grown from field-collected seeds (field collections) and sowing the propagated source of seeds into the gardens. Similarly, seedlings are propagated from known individuals (either seeds or cuttings) in the greenhouse before outplanting into gardens. The incumbents will: 1) acquire seed sources or plant cuttings that represent gaps in current collections of native species from available sources and/or field locations, 2) prepare gardens for planting/seeding (e.g.. invasive species removal, clearing of adult shrubs), 3) maintain plant stock and measure pre- and post-planting traits, and 4) enter plant data into databases, conduct QA/QC, and produce data summaries.

Qualifications:
To qualify for a GG-5 you need 9 months of field experience OR 3 years of sub-professional work experience OR 3 years of college with courses related to the work of the position to be filled (equivalent to 90 semester/135 quarter hrs) plus 3 months of lab or field work experience. Sub-professional experience consists of working as a technician or aid in the field or in a laboratory or similar environment.

This appointment is temporary, not to exceed 180 work days.
Pay is $17.15 hourly

**Applications must be received by 4 p.m. on August 18, 2021 to be considered.**
*Please list the WERC announcement number 74-21-03 on your application*
*Please list on your resume the number of hours worked per week, in addition to the exact start and end dates (Month, Day, Year) for each position listed, including volunteer work*

How to Apply:
Carefully read all information and instructions. It is the responsibility of the applicant to insure the application is completed. The personnel office will not be responsible for soliciting additional information from applicants or from official personnel records, but will consider individuals based on their applications as submitted.
Submit the following forms of application: resume and unofficial college transcript or list of college courses, specifying title of course work, completion date, semester or quarter hours earned by course title, and grade earned.

This appointment is temporary, not to exceed 180 work days.
Pay is $17.15 hourly

Apply to: Lekendra Douglas and Gia Ferronato, USGS/WERC, 3020 University Dr. East, Room 4004 Sacramento, CA 95819, FAX (916) 278-9475. lsdouglas@usgs.gov CC gferronato@usgs.gov . Email is the preferred method.

Taking and passing a pre-employment medical examination at Federal expense is required due to the physical demands of this job.

Basis of Evaluation: All applicants will be evaluated on the basis of education and experience (including unpaid or volunteer experience). Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of this announcement.

All applicants must be United States citizens. Under regulations contained in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, employment in this position is limited to those persons who are authorized to work in the United States. Verification of employment eligibility will be required at the time of appointment.

Applicants selected for Federal employment will be required to complete a Declaration of Federal Employment, OF-306, prior to being appointed to determine their suitability for Federal employment and to authorize a background investigation. Failure to answer all questions truthfully and completely or providing false statements on the application may be grounds for not hiring the applicant, or for firing the applicant after he/she begins work. Also, he/she may be punished by fine or imprisonment (U.S. code, Title 18, section 1001).
Prior to or at the time of appointment, male applicants born after December 31, 1959 will have to certify that they have registered with the Selective Service system in order to be appointed to a position with the USGS, unless legally qualified for an exception.

Employees of the USGS are subject to the provisions of Title 43, U.S. code, Section 31 (a) and may not according to this legislation and related regulation: (A) have any personal or private interest, direct or indirect, in lands or mineral wealth of such lands or a region under survey and whose title is in the U.S.; (B) execute surveys or examination for private parties or corporations; or (C) have personal or private interest, direct or indirect, in any private mining or mineral enterprise doing business in the U.S. except where specifically authorized by the director of the USGS.

If claiming 5-point veterans preference, a DD-214 showing character of discharge is required. If claiming 10-point veterans preference, a SF-15 with proof of claim is required.
The USGS is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Selection for this position will be based solely on merit, fitness, and qualifications without regard to race, sex, color, religion, age, marital status, national origin, non disqualifying handicap conditions, sexual orientation, or any other non merit factors.

 


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