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Job: Data Technician, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s Technology in Ecology Lab (Edgewater, MD)

Date posted:  October 13, 2023
Deadline:  November 15, 2023
Employment type:  Full-time
Federal position?:  No
Salary:  SI-grade 5, 6, or 7; $42,0147 – $53,105 per year depending on experience.
Duration:  1-year subject to renewal depending on performance and funding.
Location: Edgewater, MD
Work model:  Onsite

At SERC, the Technology in Ecology Lab collaborates extensively to design and support technological innovation and production to serve ecological research, experimental design, and data infrastructure  We develop and support several ongoing climate change experiments such as SMARTXGENX, and MERIT, and maintain sensor and data infrastructure for the MarineGEO chemical and physical observations program as well as COMPASS. We operate at the interface of ecology, engineering, and data programming.

The SERC Watershed Science Lab conducts research on the ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry of watersheds and stream networks. We are especially interested in understanding how land use and land management interact with climate to affect stream network functioning with respect to organic carbon and nutrient transformations and fluxes. This particular position will support the transition of a 50-year old watershed monitoring project to a sensor-based program. 

This hire is for a joint position between Technology in Ecology Lab and the SERC Watershed Science Lab to help integrate watershed monitoring into SERC’s real time networks and create data workflows that implement automation into stream monitoring protocols.

Application Period: October 15, 2023 – November 15, 2023

Key Responsibilities

Duties will include:

  • Processing sensor data from Weir network, COMPASS, GENX, and other projects, programming components and implementing various data automation objectives in R, and producing scheduled data products. 
  • Weekly water sampling and lab processing for ongoing stream monitoring projects, including installation, calibration, and maintenance of water quality and flow sensors.   
  • Development and production of stream monitoring automation and realtime network components, as well as other various electronics, sensors, and DIY platforms, building components for databases, web interfaces, and online tools, providing technical support for existing experiments, and contributing to the overall scientific quality of the operation. 
  • Fieldwork will be required as well and occasional travel to sites around Chesapeake Bay.
Qualifications and Requirements

This position requires a BS or BA in ecology, environmental science, geography, computer science, engineering, or a related discipline and coding experience in programs such as R. Critical skills for this position will be independent problem solving within established workflows for data, programming, and technological production.  Field and lab water chemistry experience is also critical. This job is not remote but has opportunities for ad hoc telework.

We are seeking a curious person who is a fast learner and can easily adopt new skills based on project objectives. Organizational skills are also desired as this person will also be responsible for drafting documentation and protocols as well and working with other collaboratively with other lab members.  
An ideal candidate would have several of the following skills: experience with water quality monitoring (including grab sampling and use of water quality sondes), experience using GitHub to facilitate collaboration, familiarity with the ecology, biodiversity, climate change, and wetland and stream research issues, experience with R and R-Shiny design, experience with Campbell Scientific dataloggers and CrBasic, as well as QAQC methods for water quality or other sensor data.

As a single PDF, please send a brief cover letter outlining how you meet the qualifications, a resume, and the names of three references to by November 15, 2023.

Contact: Roy Rich, Research Ecologist,
About SERC

SERC is focused on understanding the causes and consequences of environmental change for marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems. The main campus is a 2,650-acre research site on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Edgewater Maryland. Nearby cities include historic Annapolis, Maryland’s capital, and D.C. The technician will be hired as a ‘Trust Employee’ through Smithsonian’s non-profit wing. This will entitle them to health, vision, dental, and other benefits.

The Smithsonian Institution is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a policy of non-discrimination on the basis of race/ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, marital, parental, or caregiver status, and disability. The SERC community recognizes the value of workforce diversity, and we strongly encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply. We recognize that each applicant for this role will bring unique skills, knowledge, experiences, and background to this position.

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