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Desert Data Jam Award Winners

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 16:06

The Desert Data Jam is a unique competition that challenges students to make creative projects (such as songs, physical models, children’s stories, infographics, and games) that convey complex ecological data to nonscientists. In this sixth year of the Desert Data Jam, more than 400 students participated. The top five projects from each participating class were entered into the final competition held at New Mexico State University from April 25-27. Forty-four community judges, including many LTER scientists, carefully evaluated the projects, and the top 15 projects were honored.

First place was awarded to Nick Eres and Noah Gillihan from Zia Middle School for their project “Mesnado Alley” which used scaled models of four middle schools to represent the amount of dust in dust collectors placed in the schoolyards. Nick and Noah shared a $300 cash prize and each received a medal and certificate. There was a tie for second place this year, so second place $200 cash awards and medals went to Mckynze Hamrick and Alyssa Montes from Camino Real Middle School as well as Ashlyn Ray from Vista Middle School.

Zia Middle School students Nick Eres and Noah Gillihan won first place in the sixth annual Desert Data Jam, hosted by the Asombro Institute for Science Education as part of the Jornada Basin LTER K-12 education and outreach program. Data Jam challenges students to make creative projects (such as songs, physical models, infographics, and games) that convey complex scientific data to nonscientists. Nick and Noah created physical models of four Las Cruces middle schools that were scaled to represent the amount of dust collected in the area surrounding the school in dust collectors managed by Asombro. Photo by Gene Gant.

More information on the Desert Data Jam:

Audience: Students

Smithsonian MarineGEO: Data & Information Technology Coordinator

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 15:23
Opportunity Type: Jobs

The Smithsonian Marine Global Earth Observatory (MarineGEO) seeks a talented, motivated, and collaborative person to help implement and expand a network-wide data/information system to support its scientific mission of conducting coordinated, global research on marine biodiversity and ecosystems. This position serves as the data and information technology coordinator, a key role for the MarineGEO network of partners dispersed nationally and internationally. The coordinator serves a central function of facilitating research and data-driven discovery across the network by stewarding data management, system administration, and data collaboration.


  •  Data Management: Design, develop, and implement a data management strategy and software to collect, process, analyze, disseminate, and archive all MarineGEO data. Develop and deploy web-based and local software applications for data integration, management, analysis, and visualization.
  • System Administration: Using best practices, provide recommendations for and implement data management solutions, data standards, and data architectures needed for data acquisition, access, use, and storage. Ensure compliance with applicable data policies and standards.
  • Collaboration: Work with, train, and serve as a liaison to users and partner organizations to ensure proper data entry, use, analysis, and interoperability while meeting user system requirements.

Desired Skills:

  • Demonstrated expertise in computer programming and in designing, building, and using client-server, relational, object-oriented, and/or triplestore database systems and applications.
  • Ability and experience in web development, web applications, web-database back- and front-end interfaces (e.g., uploading data, customized queries, data visualization).
  • Knowledge and experience in standards and conventions for data management, administration, and systems life-cycle management.
  • Excellent verbal, written, and scientific communication skills.
  • Facility in working as part of a highly collaborative and interdisciplinary team.
  • Knowledge in one or more of the following areas: ecology, environmental sciences, marine sciences, genetics, or taxonomy.
  • Experience coding for data acquisition, manipulation, summary, and presentation using common languages and standards such as: C, Java, Python, Perl, R, HTML, XML, PHP, etc.
  • Comfort working with multiple data formats, including XML, JSON, spreadsheets, video, audio, photo, and text.
  • Experience working with data from biodiversity- and environment-related research fields.


  • Master’s degree in computer, natural, or physical sciences, plus two years relevant experience; or Bachelor’s degree in one of those fields with at least five years relevant work experience.
  • Able to obtain and maintain a U.S. Passport for travel purposes.

Position Details:

  • This is not a Federal Position, but has similar requirements and benefits.
  • The Smithsonian embraces diversity and equal employment opportunity.
  • Location: Edgewater, Md. or Washington, D.C. The Smithsonian does not pay relocation expenses.
  • Occasional travel may be necessary.
  • Salary range: $54,000-80,000, commensurate with experience.

To Apply: Please send a single PDF file to using the subject line “Application: Data IT Coordinator” in the email. The PDF should include: a cover letter briefly stating interest and highlighting relevant experience, a CV, and a list of three references with title and contact information. The CV should include any public examples of previous software work. Application review will begin May 1 and continue until the position is filled or May 31, whichever is sooner.

Expiration Date: Thu, 2017-07-20Links: Smithsonian MarineGEOOriginal Job Posting

Searching for synergies: The future of long-term, large scale ecological research

Fri, 04/14/2017 - 20:14

An LTER-NEON Synergies workshop, held March 29-31, explored the potential for strengthening and deepening the relationship between these two major research organizations and expanding ties to other networks such as the Critical Zone Observatory (CZO), Long Term Agricultural Research (LTAR) and Global Lake Ecological Observatory (GLEON) networks. The Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network and National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) have complementary approaches to long-term, large scale ecological research and improving coordination offers great potential for shared learning.

“Understanding the causes and consequences of ecological change is one of the most important challenges confronting the scientific community,” said Tim Kratz, National Science Foundation Program Officer for Macrosystems Biology and Early NEON Science. “This workshop to explore synergies between NEON and LTER helped clarify areas where these two powerful approaches can be brought together to make significant progress to meet this challenge.”

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Potential synergies of the LTER and NEON Networks. Credit: Peter Groffman.

Twenty-four workshop participants—including senior organizational leadership and a wide assortment of data users—met at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) to discuss how the different lenses each network employs could provide perspective for the other. “Workshop participants were able to highlight exciting synergies between LTER and NEON that will develop over the next 30 years,” said workshop organizer Peter Groffman, who chairs the LTER Science Council. “Perhaps the key synergy is that NEON is going to provide important new information on how ecosystems are changing and LTER will continue to provide understanding of the mechanisms underlying that change.”

As participants in the LTER-NEON Synergies workshop introduced themselves and their connections to LTER and NEON, it was striking how many individuals had launched their careers through undergraduate or graduate research experiences at LTER sites—manipulating plant diversity at Cedar Creek, sorting litter at Harvard Forest, harvesting biomass at Toolik Lake, and so on. The intimate knowledge of site and system represented by those experiences is central to the work of the LTERs, where teams of site-based scientists guide experiments and data collection based on Network-wide research themes, such as primary production, movement of organic matter, movement of inorganic matter, population dynamics and trophic interactions, and disturbance.

NEON, on the other hand, offers a suite of measurements across many sites with standardized data collection from sensors located on towers, in the soil, and in aquatic systems, sampling of select organisms, including small mammals, insects, fish, plants, invertebrates, and microbial communities, and remote-sensing data collected by airborne observatories. The top-down approach implemented by NEON produces a large body of highly comparable data, but offers less flexibility for addressing site-specific questions. With up to 14 co-located LTER and NEON sites, there are obvious opportunities for data sharing and interpretation, but the discussion went deeper to address approaches for

  1. applying LTER’s understanding of land use history, landscape organization, scales of ecological organization, and disturbance regimes, for example, to help interpret NEON data and sampling designs, and
  2. using NEON data, with its finer temporal resolution, new organisms, and disease focus, to help interpret and expand the scope of LTER core research areas.

Participants outlined a journal article describing concrete approaches and describing examples of these types of synergy. “This was a fun and challenging workshop bringing together diverse perspectives on how the LTER and NEON scientific networks can synergize,” said Cove Sturtevant, NEON Staff Scientist. “We made a lot of progress toward a blueprint that I think can accelerate the use of NEON data in impactful science as the Observatory reaches full operability.”

The workshop also examined the role of conceptual and quantitative models in guiding a new era of continental scale ecological research. The discussion focused on how LTER and NEON offer opportunities to think about the nature of prediction and uncertainty. The wealth of long-term data from LTER sites in almost all NEON domains could, for example, help NEON scientists to interpret the variability and extremes that they observe as sites begin to accumulate new data streams.

Researchers discussed a variety of approaches to modeling and prediction, including conceptual frameworks, scenarios, and model intercomparison/data assimilation. A follow-up workshop is being planned to dig deeper into the potential for syntheses of LTER and NEON models and data as well as for involving other networks.

Participants at the workshop included a core organizing committee—drawn from LTER and NEON leadership, with representation from many co-located research sites—and also a wide range of junior researchers and data users. Recognizing the importance of engaging the next generation of ecological leaders, organizers invited applications from throughout the ecological research community. Over 60 researchers applied for one of the 11 slots.

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Regional Conservation Communication Manager - Harvard Forest LTER

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 16:42
Opportunity Type: JobsPOSITION SUMMARY

Wildlands and Woodlands, a New England-wide conservation initiative of the Harvard Forest and Highstead, seeks a talented communication professional with a background in conservation or other environmental field. The Regional Conservation Communication Manager will work as part of a team to develop and implement communication strategies that inform and inspire conservationists, policymakers, foresters, scientists, funders, and public audiences to work together to protect New England’s forests and farms and to promote livable cities and towns that are sustained by thriving natural infrastructure.


Supervised by the Harvard Forest Director of Outreach & Development, this person is responsible for print and digital media production, events management, and communications planning and implementation as part of a strategic working group. Projects will include publication roll-outs to the media, policymakers, conservation professionals, and the public; and amplification of Wildlands and Woodlands products and ideas (including policy documents, conservation finance reports, scientific papers, and conservation stories and events) across print and digital platforms, leveraging a wide range of organizational partners. This work must be balanced with daily tasks of editing, proofreading, updating websites, managing contact lists, and posting on social media platforms.


Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelor's or Master's degree in communication-related or environmental field.
  • 3-5 years of related professional experience.

Additional Requirements

  • Demonstrated success in generating effective, issue-based print and digital communication products that target multiple audiences including the media and/or decision makers.
  • Superb writing, editing, and proofreading skills.
  • Experience collaborating on communication strategy and brand development.
  • Experience with event management and publicity.
  • Experience overseeing consultants in design, video production, web development, etc.
  • Highly motivated personality with an ability to manage multiple deadlines and maintain strong attention to detail and quality.
  • Interest in working collaboratively as part of a team while also advancing projects independently; ability to consider multiple perspectives with diplomacy and a sense of humor.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office products (Word, Excel, Powerpoint), basic website content development (via Drupal or other content management system), and social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram).
  • Ability to deliver public presentations and tours, which may be in outdoor environments.
  • Ability and willingness to work occasional evening and weekends and do some regional travel.
  • Valid US driver’s license for at least 2 years and a clean driving record.

Preferred Experience

  • Familiarity with the New England landscape and a commitment to its conservation.
  • Facility with desktop publishing software such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign.
  • Experience with one or more of the following:
  • Data visualization
  • Video or podcast production
  • Website development and/or graphic design
  • Surveys, program evaluation, or impacts assessment
  • Fundraising, grant-writing, and donor relations
  • Focus group management / stakeholder engagement
  • Compensation

    • Full-time 1 year term position. Grant funded position with likelihood of continuation based upon performance and funding.
    • Excellent benefits.
    • Position based at the Harvard Forest in Petersham, Massachusetts.
    • Anticipated starting salary of $58,000.

    Application Apply on line at Requisition 42024BR. Please submit one PDF document containing your cover letter, resume, names and contact information for 3 relevant references, short appropriate writing sample and link to an example of a web or print product you have produced. Anticipated starting time April-May 2017.

    About the Harvard Forest: The Forest, a department of Harvard University with 40 year-round staff, is located 30 min from Amherst, 45 min from Worcester. Scientists, students, and collaborators at the Forest explore topics ranging from conservation and environmental change to land-use history and the ways in which physical, biological and human systems interact to change our earth.

Expiration Date: Mon, 2017-05-01

Education Coordinator, Sustainability Research Network, ASU

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 14:43
Opportunity Type: JobsEducation Program Coordinator, Senior

Urban Resilience to Extremes (UREx) Sustainability Research Network (SRN)

The Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University invites applications for a full-time Education Program Coordinator Senior, Urban Resilience to Extremes (UREx) Sustainability Research Network (SRN).

To review the posting and apply to this position, please visit: and click on Applicant under Staff Positions. Search openings for Requisition ID number 30291BR. Arizona State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religion, age or veteran status in the University’s services, educational programs, and activities, including, but not limited to, admission to and employment by the University.

Expiration Date: Tue, 2017-06-13

Two new ocean sites announced

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 21:44

The National Science Foundation has announced two new oceanic LTER sites, both based in regions with highly productive fisheries.

The Northern Gulf of Alaska (NGA) site, led by Russell Hopcroft at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, will focus on emergent properties of ecosystems, particularly three hypotheses:

  1. Changes in the hydrologic cycle affect spring bloom production through changes in cloud cover, the stratification/mixing balance, macro- and micronutrient supplies, and transport pathways.
  2. Hot-spots of high summer primary and secondary production result from interactions between the fresher Alaska Coastal Current and more saline offshore waters as promoted by shelf morphology and regional winds; hot spot timing and magnitude will be influenced by changes in the hydrologic cycle.
  3. Nutritional and life history patterns of NGA consumers minimize trophic mismatch, buffering spatial and temporal variability in lower trophic level production and leading to resilience in the face of long-term climate change.

The research plan of the Northeastern U.S. Shelf (NES) LTER, led by Heidi Sosik at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, is guided by an overarching science question: How is long-term environmental change impacting the pelagic NES ecosystem and, in particular, affecting the relationship between compositional (e.g., species diversity and size structure) and aggregate (e.g., rates of primary production, and transfer of energy to important forage fish species) variability?

Capitalizing on high levels of seasonal and interannual variability in the NES, the research will study short-term responses to change in the environment to a) characterize low and high export food webs, b) understand the linkages and transfer of energy from the phytoplankton to pelagic fish, and c) identify the mechanisms that underlie shifts between high and low export communities.

Audience: Decision MakersMedia ProfessionalsResearchers

Archbold Biological Station:  Assistant Data Manager

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 15:21
Opportunity Type: JobsArchbold Biological Station
 Assistant Data Manager

This is a full-time position that offers health and dental benefits, retirement plan with matching employer contributions after one year, paid vacation and sick leave, and 10 paid holidays per year. To apply, please submit a cover letter, resume, and three professional references, to

Deadline to apply is March 10th, 2017. EOE/AA Employer

Essential Duties and Responsibilities
  • Day to day responsibilities include monitoring and trouble-shooting of data flow from raw file entry point of abiotic and biotic data to relational databases, real-time streaming onto an SQL Server, and automated subset data transfers to offsite end users
  • Provide support for all data management tasks
  • Occasional support for field technicians
  • Microsoft Access database creation and maintenance, including form design
  • SQL Server database maintenance, query writing and view creation
  • Assist researchers at Station and MAERC Ranch in data management
Minimum Job Qualifications
  • Associate's degree in Computer Science or related field, or relevant coursework or equivalent work experience preferred
  • Experience with Microsoft Access, Word and Excel is required
  • Experience with Microsoft SQL Server, VBA coding, MS Access form design and macro creation preferred
  • Familiarity with SQL Server scheduled jobs, queries and views, as well as general database maintenance is recommended
  • Experience with MS DOS batch files, ColdFusion, LoggerNet, RTMC, R, CoraScript helpful but not required
  • Ability to troubleshoot network data flow connections, database errors, VBA code
  • Ability to work with research staff and outside agencies
  • Strong organizational skills and ability to work independently and prioritize tasks
  • Good written communication/documentation skills
Working Conditions and Physical Demands

The demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Occasional physical activities including lifting, pushing and pulling items up to 50 pounds; reaching, stooping, bending, kneeling, climbing, crouching and prolonged periods of sitting.
  • Ability to work various shifts during occasional emergency situations, including evenings and weekends, with little or no notice.

To apply, please submit a cover letter, resume, and three professional references, to

Expiration Date: Fri, 2017-03-10

Urban Resilience to Extremes REU

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 14:57
Opportunity Type: UndergraduateUndergraduate Research Experience Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network Summer 2017

The Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network (UREx SRN) is pleased to announce six opportunities for undergraduate students to participate this summer in interdisciplinary research associated with urban infrastructure resilience and community vulnerability in the face of extreme weather-related events. UREx SRN aims to generate knowledge and promote actions that will ensure urban resiliency.

UREx SRN is interested in students who have their sights set on graduate school and careers in related scientific research and outcomes. The REU opportunity will provide selected students hands-on experience in data research, analysis, stakeholder engagement and active collaboration with the UREx SRN team.

Compensation: Each REU student will receive a competitive funding package up to US$4,500 for research stipends, supplies and travel (if applicable).

Application deadline: Friday, March 24th @ 5:00 PM AZ-MST. Complete program information and application instructions can be found on the UREx SRN website under Opportunities.

Opportunity 1: Miami, FL
Flood mitigation and ecosystem restoration strategies that enhance human-ecosystem connectivity and health in coastal urban systems

Opportunity 2: Phoenix, AZ
The relationship of urban design and microclimate in influencing behavior to mitigate heat exposure on public transit stops in Phoenix Metro Area

Opportunity 3: Phoenix, AZ
Does vacant land in UREx SRN cities contribute to resilience or vulnerability?

Opportunity 4: Phoenix, AZ
Cost-effectiveness of municipal climate change adaptation strategies

Opportunity 5: Phoenix, AZ
Financing options for green infrastructure projects in San Juan, Puerto Rico: Transitions and implementation for urban resilience to extreme weather events

Opportunity 6: Portland, OR
Understanding the Capacity of Green Infrastructure to Mediate Extreme Heat Events in the Pacific Northwest

What type of undergraduate students are we looking for? We would like students with the following traits:

  • a passion for research
  • a desire to engage in a life-changing research experience
  • a strong and creative work ethic
  • a willingness to challenge yourself, while having fun, and being committed to collaborative learning
  • a strong interest in sustainability, climate change, urbanism, infrastructure and community
  • a desire to learn more about all aspects of research
  • a willingness to step outside of your comfort zone, learn about yourself, and challenge your world views
Expiration Date: Fri, 2017-03-31

PhD Opportunity: Antarctic Lakes

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 13:22
Opportunity Type: Graduate student

The Priscu Research Group is seeking a motivated Ph.D. student to work on the aquatic systems in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica as part of the McMurdo LTER project

This six-year interdisciplinary project extends 24 years of previous data collection on the permanently ice-covered lakes of the region and will focus on biogeochemical responses to changes in landscape connectivity and climate. The successful applicant will be expected to interact with technicians, graduate students and PI’s in Antarctic fieldwork. The successful applicant must also pass the medical and dental exams required by NSF for Antarctic deployment. A Master’s degree in ecosystem modeling, aquatic biogeochemistry, or microbial ecology is desirable. 

Interested students should contact Amy Chiuchiolo, Montana State University, Bozeman ( and include a brief statement of interest. 

For more information about the Priscu Research Group, see:


Expiration Date: Mon, 2017-05-15