LTER Network News
Department of Biological Sciences, Florida State University
Responsibilities: The research technician will be based in the Department of Biological Sciences at FSU in Tallahassee, Florida, supervised by Dr. Andrew Rassweiler, but will also work closely with Dr. Sarah Lester in FSU’s Department of Geography. The technician will help support an exciting portfolio of projects focused on the topics of marine biodiversity, coral reef resilience, ecological state change, marine spatial planning, and sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. Research in the lab is inherently interdisciplinary, focusing on addressing fundamental questions in marine ecology, but also on applying those insights to conservation and management. The position includes a broad diversity of responsibilities and the ideal candidate is excited to participate in a range of research activities.
The initial focus of the position will be on measuring marine biodiversity as part of a multi-institution Marine Biodiversity Observing Network project. For this project, the technician will help to develop a tradeoff framework to estimate costs and benefits of alternative sampling methods and guide decisions about the design of future monitoring. The technician will work with ecological data from diverse sources, and will participate in the development of cutting-edge techniques for biodiversity monitoring. In addition to this focal project, there will be opportunities to engage in other research projects in the lab, including field work.
The research technician will be expected to:
- Assist with data acquisition, management, processing, and analysis of large disparate datasets.
- Help with parameterizing and running simulation models.
- Conduct literature reviews and assist with preparing scientific manuscripts and presentations, with the potential to be involved as a co-author on papers.
- Assist with managing the lab, including purchasing supplies and equipment, organizing the lab, coordinating lab logistics, and recruiting and coordinating undergraduate research assistants.
- Participate in local marine fieldwork in coastal, intertidal and possibly subtidal habitats.
- Bachelors or Masters degree in Marine Science, Ecology, Environmental Science, or related field.
- Strong quantitative and statistical skills and/or interest in developing those skills
- Experience with programming or scripted analysis in programs such as R, SAS, Matlab or similar.
- Strong skills in data acquisition and management.
- Demonstrated ability to work effectively as part of a team and independently
- Strong initiative and problem-solving skills
Preferred (but not required): AAUS certification, experience operating small boats, proficiency with GIS.
Terms: Ideally the position would start in September 2017, but start date is flexible. Initial appointment would be for one year, with strong potential for renewal contingent on performance. Salary commensurate with experience.
How to apply: Apply by submitting a cover letter, CV, and names and contact information for three professional references as a single PDF to firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact Dr. Andrew Rassweiler at email@example.com with any questions. This position will remain open until filled. Application review will begin on July 15, 2017, although all applications received before August 1 will be considered.Expiration Date: Tue, 2017-09-26
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: www.asombro.org/desertdatajamAudience: Students
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.
- 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.
- 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 MarineGEO@si.edu 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
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.”
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
- 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
- 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.