Field Ecologist II - Instrumentation - NEON Program

BATTELLE is accepting applications for a Field Ecologist II - Instrumentation - NEON Program


Date posted

May 22, 2019 12:00 am

Application deadline

July 22, 2019 12:00 am




  • United States

Job description

Battelle is guided by a founding mission. We invest our knowledge, talents and resources, helping our customers achieve their most important goals. We apply scientific rigor and creativity, succeeding where others may fail, and we invest in our communities, making the world better for generations to come. All of us share a common purpose: to solve the greatest challenges of today and tomorrow. 

Our 22,000 employees work at the forefront of scientific innovation to tackle critical challenges in security, human health, manufacturing, energy and environmental management. Battelle’s work is grounded in the belief that science, technology and a passion for excellence can make industries more competitive and the world a better place. 

Primary Function 

Battelle manages and operates the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) project, which is solely funded by the National Science Foundation. A 30+ year project dedicated to understanding how changes in climate, land use and invasive species impact ecology, the observatory’s scientists and engineers are collecting a comprehensive range of ecological data on a continental scale across 20 eco-climatic domains representing US ecosystems.  Our teams use cutting-edge technology, including an airborne observation platform that captures images of regional landscapes and vegetation; mobile, relocatable, and fixed data collection sites with automated ground sensors to monitor soil and atmosphere; and trained field crews who observe and sample populations of diverse organisms and collect soil and water data.  Once structures are completed, a leading edge cyberinfrastructure will calibrate, store and publish this information.  The Observatory includes more than 500+ personnel and is the first of its kind designed to detect and enable forecasting of ecological change at continental scales.

Field Ecologists reports to the Field Operations Manager.

  • Field Ecologist II - The Field Ecologist II is the technical lead for performing routine maintenance and inventory management on all terrestrial and possibly aquatic instrumentation and sampling equipment. The Field Ecologist II will provide guidance to temporary field crews while working in the field and laboratory. 


The NEON Project’s Domain 12/15 is a dual Domain with offices located in Utah and Montana. This position will be based in the Salt Lake City, UT office.  Domain15/12 consists of three terrestrial and two aquatic sites. Terrestrial field sites are located SW of Salt Lake City in the West Desert (ONAQUI), South of the town of Moab (MOAB) and in Yellowstone National Park (YELL). The UT sites are characterized by expansive sagebrush/shrubland and pinyon-juniper habitats, while the Yellowstone site is characterized by wildland populations of megafauna and sagebrush/pine dominated habitats. Domain base locations are classically Western, with sweeping views of valleys, plains and local mountains that are fun and exciting to live and work in. The Domain’s two aquatic sites are located in the pristine Red Butte Canyon Research Natural Area (REDB) just above Salt Lake City and in Yellowstone National Park (BLDE). The Instrumentation Lead will work primarily in the Utah sites, however some travel to the Northern Rockies (Yellowstone National Park) sites will be required.

The terrain at all sites is moderately rugged requiring 4WD driving, UTV use and challenging hiking at altitude (Salt Lake City lies at ~4200ft/1280m elevation, Yellowstone National Park lies at ~6500ft/1980m). We work in all kinds of weather, across seasons: very hot and dry, heavy precipitation, and freezing windy days.

Expect highly variable schedules, including 10-12-hour days for many days in a row, as well as periods of less than 40 hours a week, as storms, wildfires and flash floods impede sampling.  Hazards are generally minimal, but include some chance of encountering stinging insects, rattlesnakes, thorny plants, and potentially dangerous encounters with large mammals.  Lastly, 2 out of 3 sites involve moderate to long travel times with some overnight stay required when working at the MOAB and YELL sites.

Salt Lake is 20 minutes from world-class skiing, backpacking, and rock climbing, with all the cultural benefits of a large city. Although the remote base locations are smaller in size, Moab is an epicenter for outdoor adventurers interested in rafting, hiking, desert sandstone rock climbing, and mountain biking. Working in Domain 12/15 offers the best of the West, spanning the Great Basin, Colorado Plateau and the Northern Rockies.  

Major Responsibilities
Instrumentation emphasis:

  • Test, troubleshoot and operate instruments, sensors, calibration equipment and test fixtures.
  • Inspect and maintain civil infrastructure including boom arms, sensor mounts, towers, boardwalks and instrument huts.
  • Record activities, completed work and trouble tickets according to Field Operations protocol.
  • Computer interfacing with sensors for troubleshooting and remote monitoring purposes (i.e. PuTTY, specific sensor software, SAS or other visual analytic tool)
  • Example of relevant instrumentation: Eddy Covariance turbulent exchange and storage exchange sensors, aspirated air temperature sensors, anemometers (2D and 3D), photometer, pyranometer, LI-840A, Picarro G2131-I or L2130-I, Mass flow controllers/meters, Radiometers, LI-7200, soil sensors including - salinity/moisture, CO2, heat flux, wet deposition, precipitation gauges (DFIR, tipping bucket, throughfalls), humidity probe, barometer, SUNA (Submersible Ultraviolet Nitrate analyzer), multiparameter sonde, and pressure transducers

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