Florida softshell turtle, Apalone ferox, photo by J.D. Willson

Research Museum Collection Manager – Fish Division

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Closing Date
Review of applications will begin July 30, 2018.

The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) at the University of Michigan is seeking a Collection Manager for the Museum of Zoology (UMMZ) Fish Division, located at the new state-of-the-art Research Museums Center (RMC) in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The UMMZ develops and maintains zoological collections explicitly for use in research and education, benefiting science, society, and the university at large. The scientific role of the UMMZ is to train students and engage in systematic biology and biodiversity studies. These broad and overlapping fields entail the discovery and study of the diversity of organisms, their evolutionary relationships, and the processes that originate biodiversity. EEB has an outstanding, diverse and collaborative group of researchers in evolutionary biology, biodiversity science, and ichthyology.

The UMMZ Fish Collection is worldwide in its geographic scope and one of the largest of its type, including more than 200,000 lots and 3.3 million specimens representing 98% of fish orders. The collection is particularly strong in Neotropical, North American, African and Southeast Asian freshwater holdings. Historical collections often date back to the early 20th Century and include irreplaceable samples from North and Central America, Asia and Madagascar.

We seek candidates with a strong commitment to a vision of the Fish Collection as a key resource for research and education within the University and to the ichthyological community nationally and internationally. The position offers exciting opportunities for mentoring, and career development, including limited research within the context of the Fish Division curatorial priorities.


  • Growth, Maintenance and Digitization (GMD) of the fish collections, including fluid, cleared-and-stained and skeleton specimens, tissue samples, and ancillary collections such as paper archives, field notes, geographic and environmental data, and digital assets such as photography, X-rays, and micro CT scans. Activities may include organizing and participating in field expeditions (including international collecting), coordinating and contributing directly to digitization efforts, as well as writing collection-based grants to support the fish collection.
  • Working with faculty curators to develop and implement policies, standards, and procedures. This involves, as necessary, developing standard operating procedures for acquisition, accessioning, databasing, archival and use of new or emerging genomic, digital resources and other ancillary collections. Reviewing, updating, and enhancing the fish collections management plan.
  • Accessioning and cataloguing of new specimens, tissues and ancillary collections into the collection and the electronic database. This activity includes coordinating curatorial priorities with faculty curators and the daily management of staff workers, work-study students, graduate curatorial assistants and other personnel.
  • Support of and coordination with faculty curators, student researchers and visiting collaborating researchers to plan and develop research projects utilizing the research collections and/or enhance collection resources.
  • Being involved in grant writing to secure grant funding for research projects that enhance collection resources.
  • Maintenance and growth of the fish genomic resources in the Liquid Nitrogen Facility. This activity involves the accessioning of new samples, database cross-referencing to voucher specimens, as well as development and maintenance of database records on genomic resources in the Fish Division.
  • Coordinate and process inter-departmental and inter-institutional loans and exchanges. Activities include the packing and unpacking of loans (specimens and tissues) and securing state, federal and international permit requirements when appropriate, as well as the electronic exchange of digitized information. Facilitating the establishment of Memoranda of Understanding or Material Transfer Agreements among institutions for loans, exchange and import/export of collection-related materials nationally and internationally.
  • Routine maintenance and updating of the data portal through which our holdings are made accessible to researchers across the world. This activity is performed in ongoing coordination with faculty curators and requires regular attention to both our electronic, searchable database and a server that connects us to the international community.
  • Training and supervision of staff volunteers, work-study students, graduate curatorial assistants, and when needed, visiting researchers in all aspects of specimen preparation and conservation practices, database use, geo-referencing and digital imaging (e.g. photography, X-rays, micro CT) of specimens and routine collections maintenance tasks.
  • Maintenance of the collection areas and equipment to make them suitable for research, outreach, and use by visitors, either on site or remotely through online communication.
  • Coordination of research visits and educational tours of the collections; participation in museum outreach activities.

Required Qualifications:

An advanced degree (master’s or doctoral) in biology, zoology, or related fields with 3-5 years of museum experience and fish systematics is required. Experience with database construction, use, and management is strongly preferred. Molecular experience pertaining to systematics, or anatomical expertise on fishes related to systematics or functional morphology are preferred. Familiarity with research collections is required, as is expertise with fish diversity; expertise in Neotropical and/or North American freshwater fishes is highly desirable.

How to Apply:

A cover letter is required and should be attached as the first page of your CV. A 1-2 page Collection Management Vision Statement should describe the candidate’s motivation to become a collection manager, their skills and experience, and their vision on the roles and priorities of a world-class fish collection in the context of the Responsibilities and Qualifications listed below. Applications must be submitted through the University of Michigan Careers website (careers.umich.edu). Search for Job #157843 in the keyword search panel.

Review of applications will begin July 30, 2018. The projected start date in Ann Arbor, Michigan is November 1, 2018 or as soon as possible. 

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