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Assistant quantitative ecologist

Wisconsin DNR

Job Field:
Job Type:
Seasonal, Temporary, Internship
Location Detail:
Madison, Wisconsin
Job Description:

The Wisconsin DNR has two LTE (Limited Term Employee) positions available in our Madison, Wisconsin office:

• Assistant Quantitative Ecologist

• Natural Resources Research Scientist Senior

The intention is to hire one candidate to perform both positions. This dual LTE appointment is comprised of two 20-hour positions for an expected total work schedule of 40 hours per week. See below for more information on the available positions.


Position Summary

Assistant Quantitative Ecologist – Position 1

The Office of Applied Science within the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is hiring an Assistant Quantitative Ecologist to join the Snapshot Wisconsin Decision Support Research Team. The position will support development of population metrics from trail camera data to inform management of deer, furbearers, and turkeys. This person will be responsible for conducting data-based research projects and running population models. In addition, this person will process trail camera data, write and annotate R code, and perform assessments and views of the data. The position will be based out of Madison, WI.


Description of goals/duties:

30% Model development

• Assess patterns in data to separate noise (e.g., sampling issues, classification differences, detection differences) from abundance trends

• Analyze trail camera data using a range of models with covariates (e.g., occupancy, N-mixture, Poisson regression, generalized additive mixed models, etc.)

• Running frequentist and Bayesian models with various fixed and random effect structures

• Assess model fit and model predictions

• Visualize model predictions spatially and temporally


30% Data pulling, processing, and visualization

• Pull and process Snapshot Wisconsin trail camera data from an Oracle database and using custom R functions and packages

• Generate workflows for pulling covariate data, especially those that change in space and time (e.g., temperature and precipitation)

• Contribute to custom R packages, especially adding documentation and new functions

• Create procedures to visualize and understand raw data

• Assess data quality and identify inconsistencies in data that require further checking

• Create data workflow graphics and documentation to ensure consistent pulling and processing of data


15% Spatial data processing and visualization

• Create R code and procedures to map spatial covariates and model predictions

• Maintain libraries of spatial data layers useful to the Team

• Create maps and visualizations for data exploration, analysis, and final products


15% Automation development

• Critique existing workflows to identify steps that could be improved with automation

• Develop new procedures that increase automation and reduce manual processing

• Fully document processes to improve usability annually and for similar applications


10% Other duties as assigned


Natural Resources Research Scientist Senior – Position 2


The Office of Applied Science within the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is hiring a Wildlife Research Scientists to join the Snapshot Wisconsin Decision Support Research Team. This person will be working on multiple research projects using trail camera data, including a turkey reproduction metrics project and a deer density estimate project. This position will also communicate out on Snapshot Wisconsin Decision Support Research through writing manuscripts for peer review, creating PowerPoint presentations, and writing reports. This position will create processes for consistent and efficient data collection and data management to ensure high quality data. The position will be based out of Madison, WI.


Description of goals/duties:

50% Research communication

• Contribute to analysis and writing of peer-reviewed manuscripts, edit manuscripts, respond to reviewer comments, create graphs, tables, and supplemental material for manuscripts

• Conduct literature review and participate in reading group discussions of manuscripts relevant to the Team

• Lead in writing of annual reports and developing PowerPoint presentations and posters for technical and lay audiences

• Generate dynamic reports to communicate annual decision support products

• Contribute to oral presentation for technical and lay audiences


20% Contribute to turkey reproduction metrics research project

• Create database for multi-faceting turkey research project

• Create data collection sheets and processes (e.g., web application) for consistent and concise record keeping

• Assist with trapping and tagging of turkeys

• Review trail camera photos for presence of turkeys

• Develop process for identifying individual turkeys and brood sizes in trail camera photos


20% Contribute to deer density estimate research project

• Coordinate trail camera check logistics, including charging batteries, creating and printing maps, preparing SD cards and data collection processes

• Conduct trail camera checks, switching out SD cards and swapping batteries

• Enter camera check data sheets into Excel and develop improved processes for data collection

• Download and organize trail camera photo data onto hard drives and backup hard drives and distribute to collaborators


10% Other duties as assigned



Required Qualifications for Position1:

• Knowledge of wildlife ecology and management

• Proficiency with analyzing wildlife population data (e.g., occupancy models, N-mixture models, GAMMs)

• Proficiency conducting spatial analyses and visualizations, preferably in program R

• Proficiency in data management and organization

• Proficiency with data wrangling and analysis using program R and/or RStudio

• Experience with trail camera research projects and trail camera data

• Experience with data visualization and report writing with R Markdown (or similar)

• Experience with Bayesian approaches for analyzing data using R and JAGS (or similar)


Preferred Qualifications for Position 1:

• Proficiency with data visualization and app building (e.g., R Shiny apps)

• Experience developing R packages

• Experience with version control in GitHub

• Experience with computer programming

• Experience with unmarked and ubms packages (or similar) in R



Required Qualifications for Position 2:

• Knowledge of wildlife ecology and management

• Proficiency with writing scientific manuscripts for peer-reviewed publication

• Proficiency with developing reports through R Markdown, R Shiny, or similar

• Proficiency in data management and organization

• Proficiency with writing scientific reports and giving research presentations

• Experience with field-based research projects

• Experience with database development/management and metadata creation

• Willingness to conduct field work in harsh conditions, e.g., winter turkey trapping


Preferred Qualifications for Position 2:

• Ability to organize and manage large-scale field research, specifically related to wildlife

• Proficiency with developing relational databases

• Experience trapping and tagging turkeys and conducting trail camera checks


Although this is an LTE position, we anticipate it will be needed for many years.

$26.34 per hour, 40 hours per week

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Deadline to Apply

Applications must be received by 11:59pm, Central Time, on February 26th, 2024 in order to be considered.

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