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

Vertebrate Collections Manager and Co-Manager of Digital Data Collections

Arizona State University
Tempe, Arizona
Closing Date
November 18, 2019

The School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University is seeking a full-time Research Specialist who will act as Vertebrate Collections Manager and Co-Manager of Digital Data Collections. The relative weight of each task can vary, within boundaries, and depending on the candidate's particular research and curation interests and qualifications. The position is part of a dynamic, collaborative Biocollections and biodiversity informatics group of faculty, staff, students, volunteers, and other researchers that recently relocated into a unified, 24,000 sq. ft. facility. This new and highly accessible infrastructure is located ca. 2 miles from the main ASU Tempe Campus, and forms part of ASU's BioKIC – Biodiversity Knowledge Integration Center. As of 2018, our facility and personnel also constitute the primary Biorepository for NEON, the National Ecological Observatory Network.

The ASU Vertebrate Collections focus mainly on documenting vertebrate diversity in the Southwest U.S. and Sonoran Desert Region; and comprise the following four collections. (1) Ichthyology Collection; built most prominently by Wendell Minckley, with 24,000 registered lots (70% online) and more than 1,000 stained specimens. (2) Herpetology Collection; with 36,000 specimens (90% online). (3) Ornithology Collection; with 1,000 specimens (80% online). (4) Mammalogy Collection; with 9,000 specimens (95% online). These research collections are complemented by teaching collections located in the same facility. They are now also being complemented by annual additions of 20,000 vertebrate specimens, samples, and DNA extractions being received and accessioned by the continental-scale NEON Biorepository. A related, 3,500 sq. ft. cryo collections infrastructure addition will be completed in 2020. Although the NEON Biorepository has independently supported personnel, curatorial and managerial responsibilities are frequently coordinated across all collections.

BioKIC is a leading promoter of the Symbiota software platform and of related biodiversity data representation and analysis tools, and is involved in co-/managing and hosting an increasing range of biodiversity data portals that also feature vertebrate occurrence records. We therefore seek a candidate with a strong background and/or willingness to become highly skilled in biodiversity informatics, database and portal management, and digitization workflows. We also strongly encourage the candidate to develop an active field- and collections-based research program at a level commensurate with the position, and possibly including systematic, biodiversity inventory, and ecological forecasting-related themes. The successful candidate will work in close collaboration with curators, collection managers, students, and researchers affiliated with the Biocollections and the School of Life Sciences. Contributing to our diverse biodiversity/data learning programs is strongly encouraged. A wide range of applicant profiles will be considered.


  • Evidence of a Master's or Doctoral degree in Vertebrate Biology, or a related field with a focus on systematics, evolution, ecology, conservation, or vertebrate diversity documentation and forecasting using modern informatics tools.
  • Evidence of advanced, research-level expertise in vertebrate groups.
  • Curatorial skills will ideally include specialized vertebrate specimen and sample preparation methods such as taxidermy.
  • Two or more years of curatorial experience in vertebrate research collections, and experience in supervisory roles and under-/graduate student mentoring.
  • Evidence of effective verbal and written communication skills.
  • Experience in contemporary biodiversity data standards and tools, preferably including database management and software or web development skills.
  • Experience in collections-centered teaching and outreach activities is highly valued.

To Apply

For more information and to apply:

  1. Go to https://cfo.asu.edu/applicant
  2. Select "Non- / ASU employees" (as applicable)
  3. Search for position "56752BR"

Prior direct inquiries via email to Nico M. Franz (nico.franz [at] asu.edu) are strongly encouraged.

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