Job Summary

We are currently seeking a Field Ecologist II-Instrumentation. This position is in Fairbanks, AK.

The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is a continental-scale observation facility funded by the National Science Foundation and operated by Battelle. The NEON program is designed to collect long-term, open access ecological data to better understand how U.S. ecosystems are changing, from freshwater systems such as streams, rivers, and lakes to terrestrial systems spanning tropical forests to deserts to tundra (
The Field Ecologist is a technical lead that monitors, performs routine maintenance, field calibrations and corrective maintenance on meteorological; CO2, water, and energy flux; and water quality sensors and instrumentation. The Field Ecologist will provide training and guidance to temporary field crews while working in the field and laboratory.

Strong consideration will be given to internal applicants whose current work location is at the Domain office. Instrumentation experience will be strongly preferred for those outside of the Domain.

Remote locations. Cold winters. Short summers with near 24-hour sunlight. Our Taiga and Tundra field sites have some of the most challenging field conditions among our NEON locations—and some of the most spectacular scenery and wildlife. NEON sites in the Taiga and Tundra Domains are managed from our Fairbanks, AK office.

Work Environment and Physical Demands
The work involves walking, hiking, prolonged standing, bending, and kneeling. Heavy items, equipment and packs up to 40 pounds, must be lifted and carried on a routine basis. Field work includes exposure to extreme temperatures, inclement weather, rough and variable terrain, toxic plants (e.g., poison ivy, hogweed), stinging and biting insects, and wildlife hazards. Instrument maintenance involves performing work on instrument towers ranging in height from 24 feet to 300 feet, which includes ascending and descending multiple flights of stairs. Driving off-road in 4WD vehicles is required for most field sites.

Work Schedule and Travel
Work schedules are typically 8-10 hours per day but can occasionally be 12+ hours per day, including split shifts (off in the middle of the day), starting before dawn and/or ending after dusk, and weekends depending on the work assignment. The ratio of field to lab work is about 75% field and 25% office and lab duties.
Frequent overnight travel (e.g., semi-monthly for 3-4 nights) is required.

Operate and maintain in-situ meteorological sensors, soil sensors, water quality sensors, data loggers, IRGAs and other gas analyzers used to measure CO2, water, and energy flux at NEON field sites.
Monitor sensor health and status through various computer interface tools (i.e., PuTTY, specific sensor software, SAS, or other visual analytic tools).
Maintain and use proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and safety equipment for working at heights in remote locations (5-point harnesses, ascenders, and self-retracting lifelines, etc.).
Provide training, instruction, and technical guidance to seasonal field personnel.
Perform additional field and lab procedures as assigned. This may include plant phenology, diversity, productivity, and biogeochemistry; stream channel and lake morphology, aquatic organism abundance and diversity, biogeochemistry, seasonal climatic and hydrologic changes, and riparian phenology; abundance, diversity, and phenology of organisms including small mammals, ticks, mosquitoes, ground beetles, and soil microbes; operations and maintenance of in-situ meteorological sensors, soil sensors, water quality sensors, data loggers, IRGAs and other gas analyzers used to measure CO2, water, and energy flux.
Support external research projects approved through the Assignable Asset program.
Ensure work hazards are identified and mitigated and support a culture of safety.
Follow all permitting requirements and assist with permit reporting and renewals.


Report activities, completed work, and issues/incidents according to NEON protocols.
Assist with materials planning, inventory management and ordering.
Inspect, maintain and operate field, safety, and laboratory equipment, e.g., Wiley Mill, drying oven, analytical balance, centrifugal mill, pH meter, microscope, and muffle furnace.
Participate in public outreach events and engagements, e.g., site tours, career fairs, community science workshops and conferences.
Assist with recruiting of seasonal field personnel.
Provide support to Domain operations in assigned roles. Roles may include:
Chemical Hygiene Officer
Safety Officer
Fleet Manager
IT Domain-NEON HQ Liaison
Training Domain-NEON HQ Liaison
Outreach Domain-NEON HQ Liaison
Lead and participate in special projects and continuous improvement initiatives.

Key Qualifications

Bachelor’s degree in ecology, forestry, environmental sciences, or related scientific discipline.
Three (3) or more years of related experience.
Willingness to perform maintenance and field sampling outdoors in sparsely populated, remote locations, with distances ranging from 1/2 hour to 6 hours from the Domain office. Overnight travel, hiking off trail, and wading in water are typical in most locations.
Willingness and ability to work varied field operations schedules (up to 12+ hours per day), including split-shift, part-time, pre-dawn early mornings, evenings, and weekends.
Ability to hike off trail, long distances, on uneven terrain, at remote locations, in all types of weather, carrying packs weighing up to 40lbs. Ability to walk, hike, stand, bend, and kneel for prolonged periods.
Willingness and ability to learn and perform procedures and methods outside of the primary responsibility.
Ability to work on instrument towers ranging in height from 26 feet to 240 feet and at altitudes of up to 11,000 feet (depending on assigned Domain), involving the ability to ascend and descend multiple flights of stairs.
Ability to withstand exposure to fumes, dust, and noise. Field work may require frequent exposure to toxicodendrons (e.g., poison ivy and poison oak), ticks, biting insects and other natural hazards.
Excellent verbal and written communication and interpersonal skills. Ability to follow written and verbal instructions.

  • Close Date:
  • Additional Dates: Open until filled
  • Contact: Chris Baird email
  • Link to full posting not provided.