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

Wildlife Conservation Specialist (Turtles)

Minnesota Zoo
Apple Valley, Minnesota
Closing Date
26 February 2018

The Minnesota Zoo is seeking an energetic biologist to conduct research to improve the conservation of imperiled turtles in Minnesota. Specific activities will include evaluating mechanisms to reduce turtle mortality of roadways in the central and southeastern part of the State and GPS and VHF telemetry to assess spatial and movement ecology, and may extend to assessing strategies to reduce nest predation.

This position is part time temporary unclassified, limited in duration and is anticipated to last through spring, 2021. The position is grant funded and may transition to full-time status in July, 2018. The schedule for this position is Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 3:00 pm to start (negotiable) and may increase or decrease in hours as the seasons and funding change.

This position is responsible for planning and performing professional wildlife research and conservation work for the Zoo’s freshwater turtle initiative, which is aligned with the Minnesota Zoo’s Center for Saving Wildlife Conservation Plan. The position will communicate project findings to scientific and general audiences and will help obtain funds for project needs.

Job duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Plan research and conservation activities benefitting Minnesota’s turtles, ensuring methods are feasible and scientifically sound and will effectively promote the conservation of turtles;
  • Conduct wildlife research activities on Minnesota’s turtles to increase scientific knowledge applicable to wildlife management. Implement conservation activities to help improve the long-term outlook of wildlife populations, in specific locations determined during planning processes;
  • Communicate project updates and findings to scientific and general public audiences so that information is incorporated into planning processes, knowledge is expanded, and the Zoo’s reputation as a conservation leader is enhanced;
  • Other Duties as assigned or apparent to ensure the smooth functioning of the department and its projects.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Master of Science degree from an accredited educational institution in Conservation Biology, Ecology, Wildlife Management, or other related field;
  • At least 1 year of experience conducting field work for research and/or conservation purposes;
  • Ability to conduct independent field work for research and/or conservation purposes in remote areas for extended periods of time;
  • Experience using commonly employed field techniques for studying wildlife, including radio telemetry, use of GPS tracking devices, and handling of wild animals;
  • Experience in empirical research design and methodology sufficient to plan high-quality conservation research projects;
  • Demonstrated ability to lead the publication of scientific manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals;
  • Proficiency with Geographic Information Systems software sufficient to analyze and interpret spatial data, including data obtained via radio telemetry or GPS tracking;
  • Proficiency with R statistical software sufficient to compile, summarize, plot, and analyze data using robust and appropriate statistical approaches;
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint sufficient to prepare written communications, enter, organize, and plot data, and prepare/deliver engaging presentations;
  • Oral communication skills sufficient to create and deliver high-quality audience-appropriate presentations and on-camera communications to scientific and general audiences;
  • Written communication skills sufficient to prepare scientific manuscripts for high-quality journals as well as engaging and audience-appropriate text of various lengths for non-scientists;
  • Possession of current and valid driver’s license.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Ph.D. from an accredited educational institution in Conservation Biology, Ecology, Wildlife Management, or other related field;
  • Field experience with reptiles and amphibians, especially turtles;
  • Experience in setting up and maintaining camera traps;
  • Demonstrated success in securing grants of at least $5,000 in support of conservation/research projects;
  • Strong record of publishing conservation research in relatively high-impact peer-reviewed journals.

To Apply

Go to the Minnesota Zoo's jobs board and select this opportunity. The posting also may be found on the State of Minnesota careers page. Click “Apply” at the bottom of the page and create a profile under register now tab. Submit your application through the online portal. Please contact Seth Stapleton (seth.stapleton [at] state.mn.us) with any questions regarding this position.             

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