Research Technician in Plant Community Ecology

A research technician is needed to participate in studies in plant community ecology, and related areas. The focus is on plant communities in Arizona desert landscapes with particular attention to the San Simon Valley and the recent irruption of an introduced species. The work for the technician will involve both field work at a remote location and laboratory work on campus.

On campus, the technician will be involved with maintaining a laboratory and its equipment, running growth chamber experiments, extracting and identifying seeds from soil samples, managing data, assembling information from the literature, supervising undergraduate helpers, and other duties associated with ecological research. The successful applicant should also be prepared to drive to and camp at the field site with a research team for periods of up to a week at a time, or longer as the need may be, and would be involved with setting up and maintaining field experiments, collecting observational data and samples of soil and plants, and would be required to maintain equipment at the site. The technician will be supervised directly by the PI, Dr Peter Chesson, but will also work with postdoctoral fellows and graduate students.

For full details and application go to

Search for job number 35475

Duties and responsibilities


Operating and maintaining laboratory and field equipment, including growth chambers, data loggers, microscopes, balances, computers and other equipment and supplies associated with the study.


Conducting growth chamber and other experiments, managing the resulting data, and supervising undergraduate assistants in the performance of experimental and observational studies.


Developing and implementing techniques for extracting seeds from soil samples, seed identification, and training and supervising undergraduates in these techniques.

Maintaining and analyzing specimens and samples.


Researching literature, and maintaining literature databases


Assisting with field projects at a remote location, including implementing and maintaining experiments, collecting samples, managing a research team, and maintaining the research site.


Managing data, including entering and validating data, analyzing and graphing data with spreadsheet tools, and supervising undergraduate assistants in these tasks.


Coordinating with and assisting postdoctoral fellows and graduate students associated with the project.

minimum qualifications

BS or equivalent degree including laboratory courses.

Additional minimum qualifications

High level of physical fitness to enable field work in a remote location.

Driver’s license, and must achieve certification to operate University vehicles.

Skill in the use of computer software, and knowledge of online information gathering and library research.

Preferred qualifications

BS with a major in biology or ecology with field courses including sampling and experimentation

Skill in plant identification.

Superior skill in developing and maintaining good working relationships.

Skill in laboratory techniques.

Skill in the use of laboratory equipment such as balances, growth chambers, and microscopes

Skill in basic mathematics.

Advanced skill in the use of personal computer/software, especially spreadsheets, graphing and data analysis programs.

Ability to solve problems and make decisions.

Ability to communicate effectively.