Job Opportunities: Summer Research Assistant – Soil, Forestry, and Wildlife Ecology

Resource Assistant Competition – BC Ministry of Forests – Williams Lake

The British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development in Williams lake, BC, is seeking three motivated research-oriented resource assistants to work with researchers in three program areas from May 2 – September 2, 2022. The research program areas include silviculture, soil science, and wildlife.

Salary: Bi-weekly (70 hours) STO13, $1869.36 ($26.70/hr).

Job descriptions:

Resource Assistant to the Regional Research Silviculturist (one position) The successful candidate will will perform technical duties on a variety of long-term silviculture and silvicultural systems research trials at the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development in the Cariboo Region. The successful candidate will assist the researcher in collecting data on overstory trees and natural regeneration in post-fire interior Douglas-fir stands. They will also assist with collecting, preparing, crossdating, and measuring tree increment cores. Other duties such as planning of field work (i.e., organizing supplies and equipment required to complete field work), long-term research trials site maintenance across the Cariboo Region, data entry and summary, and report writing will be required. The work is mostly field-based with long days in remote places.

Resource Assistant to the Regional Soil Scientist (one position):
The resource assistant will help with several projects broadly relating to soil biology and biogeochemistry. Specifically, projects include 1) an assessment of ecosystem carbon within silvicultural treatments intended to improve post-fire Douglas-fir regeneration while minimizing carbon emissions and/or maximizing carbon storage, 2) an assessment of plant community and biogeochemical responses to prescribed fire 3) an assessment of fungal diversity in old-growth inland rainforests, and 4) an assessment of soil carbon stocks across forest-grassland transitions. Fieldwork will include assisting with soil sampling, forest mensuration, ecosystem classification, and plant/fungal identification. Successful applicants will be expected to work in a diversity of sometimes challenging environments. The position also involves laboratory work (processing soil and plant samples). With the necessary experience, the successful applicant may assist with ongoing projects using molecular techniques to characterize soil microbial communities (DNA extraction, PCR/qPCR, cDNA synthesis etc).

Resource Assistant to the Regional Wildlife Ecologist (one position):
The resource assistant will work in a field-based position to support the wildlife ecology research program in the Cariboo Region. The successful candidate will conduct species and habitat inventories, collect biological samples, and assist with sample preparation in a laboratory setting. Other duties include planning of field work (i.e., organizing supplies and equipment required to complete field work), maintaining equipment, data management and data summarization. Field work will be conducted in a range of ecosystems across the region, including grassland, alpine, and riparian areas. Candidates must be physically fit to hike with a loaded pack over a variety of terrain and be comfortable working in and around water. Some field work will require spending one or more nights away from Williams Lake, camping in a wilderness setting or campground. Previous experience with wildlife research or related wildlife or habitat work is an asset. Projects could include, but are not limited to:
• Northern Goshawk nest monitoring and habitat assessment
• Hoary Marmot Population Survey and alpine habitat assessment
• Assessment of biodiversity and wildlife habitat in grazed and un-grazed grassland ecosystems
• Assessing ecological impacts of introduced Smallmouth Bass in a freshwater system.
Qualifications:
• University or college courses related to the research program area, such as biology, chemistry, soils, wildlife, earth systems and/or forestry
• Valid BC driver’s licence
• Preference will be given to students with the following experience:
o Field work experience (relating to program area, including, but not limited to, forest mensuration, soil sampling, wildlife monitoring, etc)
o Coursework relating to research program area or related experience (e.g. silviculture, soil science, molecular biology/fungal ecology, wildlife ecology etc).
o Coursework in native plant identification or related experience
o Experience using compasses, GPS units, tablets for field data collection, 4×4 trucks, maps and first aid

• Work may include travel to remote areas by vehicle, helicopter, and/or foot, with overnight or extended stays in camp conditions, and may involve outdoor work in adverse weather conditions.

Application details (deadline, Friday Feb 18th, 2022, 11:59 PM):

Please provide a 250-word (max) cover letter addressing the skills, experience, and motivation that would make you excel in the position, being sure to tailor the cover letter to the research program area that most interests you. The application must also include a resume (max 2 pages) highlighting experience relevant to the position. Please email your application to tim.philpott@gov.bc.ca
Additional information:

Williams Lake is a small and friendly interior town with all the amenities of larger centres. The surrounding area is an outdoor recreation mecca, with ample opportunities for hiking, camping, kayaking, rock climbing and world-class mountain biking. The region also supports an incredible diversity of ecosystems; you can travel from bunchgrass to the inland temperate rainforests all within a day’s drive.