Montana State University

Research Position
Vacancy Announcement
August 27, 2014

Research Associate
Institute on Ecosystems

Search Number     15-845
Start Date As soon as possible upon completion of the search process
Appointment Full-time (1.0 FTE), renewable twelve (12) month contract dependent on funding, need and performance
Benefits Eligible
Montana State University values diverse perspectives and is committed to continually supporting, promoting and building an inclusive and culturally diverse campus environment. MSU recognizes the importance of work-life integration and strives to be responsive to the needs of dual career couples.

Founded in 1893 as a Land Grant University, Montana State University (MSU) is composed of nine academic colleges and a graduate school and boasts a friendly, supportive faculty and campus environment. Currently, the University hosts an enrollment of over 15,000 students, including approximately 2,000 graduate students. MSU is classified as one of 108 U.S. Research Universities (very high research activity) by the Carnegie Foundation.

MSU is located in Bozeman, Montana, an extended community of about 70,000 nestled in the Rocky Mountains in Southwest Montana. In addition to providing access to an extraordinary ecosystem for teaching and research programs, Bozeman is renowned for year-round recreational and cultural opportunities to include access to world class ski areas, multiple blue ribbon trout streams and the Gallatin National Forest. The Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport is served by several major airlines and is the busiest airport in the state.

Named an All American City, Bozeman boasts high-quality medical facilities, a very low crime rate, many fine restaurants, acclaimed public and private schools, a symphony orchestra and choir, an annual opera, and nationally known events such as the Sweet Pea Festival of the Arts held in early August of each year. Bozeman is listed as one of National Geographic's "World's 25 Best Ski Towns." ranked Bozeman #2 on the list of American Dreamtowns - small towns that offer the best quality of life without metropolitan hassles. The K-12 educational system, growing reputation of Montana State University, and pristine natural environment of the area combine to make Bozeman one of America's most desirable university towns. Bozeman is located in the beautiful Gallatin Valley, 90 miles north of Yellowstone National Park.


The Institute on Ecosystems (IoE) is a Montana community of scholars and partners with a shared vision to advance integrated environmental sciences and related fields. We draw on the extraordinary landscapes of Montana and beyond to understand complex ecosystems including the interconnectedness of people and nature. The IoE is the flagship program of the current Montana NSF EPSCoR RII award. It is a first-of-its-kind experiment for Montana to build a state-wide institute on ecosystem sciences. The vision is the creation of an institute that is accessible and promotes inclusion to all institutions of higher education within the state, state agencies, NGOs, and private industry with interests in ecosystem sciences. Its role is to serve as a research and education portal on ecosystem sciences to the citizens of Montana and the nation in general.

Duties and

The candidate hired for this position will work with a multi-institutional group of researchers to document the movements and distribution of lake trout throughout Yellowstone Lake through the use of acoustic telemetry. The selected individual will also assist in setting up large-scale positioning arrays to document spawning behavior of lake trout at specific sites. The position will be based in Bozeman, MT from late October through late May, and be based in Yellowstone National Park from late May through mid-October, depending on weather. During the remainder of the year, the research associate will assist with data management and analysis to be included in annual reports, peer reviewed literature, and scientific presentation. During the field season, the candidate will be expected to supervise volunteers and complete field operations on Yellowstone Lake. Typical tasks to be completed will be deploy and download acoustic receivers throughout the lake on a bi-monthly basis, surgically implant fish with acoustic transmitters, gather water quality data, complete mobile surveys for acoustically tagged fish, conduct SCUBA surveys of suspected spawning sites, and interact with the public/give presentations to small groups when requested. There will also be the opportunity to collaborate with researchers concerning lake trout embryo survival.

1.   Successful completion of a four year course of study leading to a bachelor’s degree with major study in biology, ecology, wildlife and fisheries, or statistics
2.   Experience working on the water in adverse conditions
3.   Willingness to live in a remote location (Yellowstone National Park) for five to six months of the year (May/June through October)
1.   Skills working with R, Matlab, Access, Excel, and GIS
2.   MOCC boat operation certification and experience handling small watercraft.
3.   SCUBA certified and cold water diving experience
4.   Telemetry experience including implanting transmitters using standard approved surgical procedures.
The Successful
Candidate Will

  • be a highly effective communicator that demonstrates excellent leadership skills and establishes sound working relationships;
  • have strong hiking, backpacking, and wilderness camping skills, and be comfortable in remote wilderness settings with limited human contact;
  • ensure for the well-being of subordinates and co-workers and promote a safe working environment;
  • have excellent problem solving skills, and be able to maintain equipment and gear;
  • be detail-oriented, and be able to implement complex projects to preserve and restore native fish in remote watersheds.

1.   In accordance with MSU policy, hiring will be conditional upon successful completion of a pre-employment background check.

Screening of applications will begin on September 15, 2014, and will continue to be accepted until an adequate pool is established.


To apply, submit the following:

  • (1) a letter of application addressing all of the above required and preferred qualifications, and
  • (2) a current resume or vitae, and
  • (3) the names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses of three current professional references.

    Electronic submissions in PDF format are preferred, and must have the applicant's signature on the letter of application. For electronic submittals, please indicate "Applicant - Search #15-845" in the subject line of the email.

    • Submit materials to:

    • Diane Eagleson
    • Budget and Fiscal Manager
    • Montana Institute on Ecosystems
    • Montana State University
    • PO Box 173490
    • Bozeman MT 59717-3490
    • (406)994-2374

      In order to receive Veterans Preference during the application review process, it is highly recommended that the required forms are included at the time you submit your application materials. Click here for the forms and information regarding Veterans Preference. Important note: Your preference form is submitted to a different location than your application materials. A DD214 is not a required document.

Posted (08/27/14kw)