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Assistant Quantitative Research Scientist (Wisconsin DNR)

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Job Field:
Job Type:
Seasonal, Temporary, Internship
Location Detail:
Madison, Wisconsin
Job Description:


The Wisconsin DNR has two LTE (Limited Term Employee) positions available at our Science Operations Center in Madison, Wisconsin:

• Assistant Quantitative Research Scientist 1

• Assistant Quantitative Research Scientist 2

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. The appointee will have the opportunity to work remotely up 3 days/week. See below for more information on the available positions.


Position Summary

Assistant Quantitative Research Scientist

Position 1:

The Office of Applied Science within the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is hiring a Wildlife Research Scientists to join the Snapshot Wisconsin Decision Support Research Team. The Wildlife Research Scientist will be responsible for processing trail camera data, writing R code, performing assessments and views of the data, running population models, and conducting data-based research projects. The position will support development of population metrics from trail camera data to inform management of deer, furbearers, and turkeys. For example, this position will support development of turkey poult-to-hen ratios that account for detection differences between poults and hens. The position will be based out of Madison, WI and can begin as soon as November 20.


Description of goals/duties:

30% Data pulling, processing, and visualization

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

• 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


30% Metrics and model development

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

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

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

• Assess model fit and model predictions

• Visualize model predictions spatially and temporally


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


Position 2:

The Office of Applied Science within the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is hiring a Wildlife Research Scientists to join the Snapshot Wisconsin Decision Support Research Team. The Wildlife Research Scientist 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 create processes for consistent and efficient data collection and data management to ensure high quality data. This position will also communicate out on Snapshot Wisconsin Decision Support Research through writing manuscripts for peer review, creating PowerPoint presentations, and writing reports. The position will be based out of Madison, WI and can begin as soon as November 20.


Description of goals/duties:

30% Contribute to turkey reproduction metrics research project

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

• Create database for multi-faceting turkey research project

• Assist with trapping and tagging of turkeys

• Review trail camera photos for presence of turkeys

• Build RShiny app for tagging of individual turkeys and brood sizes in trail camera photos


30% 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


30% Research communication

• Contribute to analysis and writing of peer-reviewed manuscripts

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

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

• Contribute to oral presentation for technical and lay audiences


10% Other duties as assigned


The Department of Natural Resources conducts criminal background checks on final applicants prior to a job offer. Please note that a criminal charge or conviction on your record will not necessarily disqualify you from state employment. In compliance with the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act, the DNR does not discriminate on the basis of arrest or conviction record. In order to be considered for this position, you must be a resident of the State of Wisconsin.


Applicants must be legally authorized to work in the United States at the time of hire. The Department of Natural Resources does not sponsor work visas at the time of hire or anytime during employment. All persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the United States and complete the required Employment Eligibility I-9 form upon hire.


The DNR is an equal opportunity employer that promotes and values diversity. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability.


Required qualifications

• Knowledge of wildlife ecology and management

• Proficiency in data management and organization

• Proficiency with data wrangling and analysis using program R and Rstudio

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

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

• Experience with trail camera research projects and trail camera data

• Experience with data visualization and report writing with RMarkdown or similar


Preferred Qualifications

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

• Proficiency with computer programming

• Experience developing R packages

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

• Experience with version control in GitHub

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



This is a Limited Term Employment (LTE) position. LTE positions do not automatically lead to permanent state employment or enjoy the same benefits as permanent employees; however, these positions do offer valuable work experience and an opportunity to learn more about career opportunities with the Department of Natural Resources and the State of Wisconsin.

How to Apply:


Click the “Apply for Job” button and follow the directions. You will be able to save your application as many times as needed and make edits up until the point you submit your application. Once you submit your application, you will not be able to make any updates to the application or any materials submitted.

Please note that the Wiscjobs system will time you out after 30 minutes of activity, so be sure to save your work often to avoid having to re-start the application process.

For any position-related questions, please feel free to contact



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