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Biological Science Technician, Rare Plants (Mojave Desert)

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    Biological Science Technician, Rare Plants (Mojave Desert)

    Are you interested in conducting research that will have an impact on the conservation and management of rare and at-risk plant species? We are seeking botany-minded people to join our plant ecology team in the Mojave Desert and conduct research on five rare species that reside in Clark County, Nevada including sticky buckwheat (Eriogonum viscidulum) and Blue Diamond cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata), and three species under consideration for listing under the Endangered Species Act, Las Vegas bearpoppy (Arctomecon californica), three-corner milkvetch (Astragalus geyeri var. triquetrus), and white-margined beardtongue (Penstemon albomarginatus). Combined with the 20-year drought currently gripping the region, ongoing land use threats are causing further population declines and fragmenting remaining habitats of these already rare species.

    Project Background:
    Our greenhouse, laboratory, and field experiments are unraveling answers to questions about species autoecology that will inform best practices for conserving plant biodiversity, and when needed, for propagating rare species and re-introducing them into protected habitats. Biological Science Technicians will gain experience in experimental design and data collection/management to address basic research questions about seed dormancy patterns and soil seed bank dynamics and the roles of invasive species competition, herbivory, and pollinators on seed production. Our applied research is testing seed pretreatments, propagating plants from stem cuttings, and optimizing nursery growth conditions for growing rare plant stock; we are also testing practices for re-introducing plant stock into protected habitat and making seed conservation collections for preserving genetically diverse germplasm for future use. Technicians will participate in and assist all phases of research. Core duties are to support our multifaceted rare plant research in particular, but technicians will have opportunities to assist with studies on ecological restoration of degraded desert habitats and on developing native plant materials for habitat restoration. This employment opportunity with USGS will develop skill set for a career in rare plant conservation, plant ecological research, and plant nursery practices, and prepare those pursuing an advanced degree in related fields. If you passionately seek a career in experimental research in plant ecology, desire experience working under a range of lab and greenhouse environments and field sites in the Mojave Desert, and are motivated to participate on a team making a difference in the conservation of our planet’s rare plant taxa, please apply!

    · Investigate the reproductive ecology of, and develop successful propagation techniques for, five of Clark County, Nevada’s rare plant species to create nursery stock for research and conservation.
    · Collect stem/root cuttings, seeds, and soil seedbank of these species within the Mojave Desert of Clark County, Nevada and propagate research plants in a greenhouse setting.
    · Conduct laboratory germination and viability tests on seeds collected in the field and greenhouse.
    · Assist with a diversity of related research projects including desert habitat restoration and native plant material development.

    Physical Demands: Work is physically demanding and includes walking, bending, climbing, and lifting of equipment up to 44 pounds when in the field, sometimes during adverse conditions.
    Work Environment: The work is performed in a laboratory, greenhouse and field environment. Field work involves moderate or sometimes extreme exposure to the discomforts of rain and cold/hot weather. If selected, you will be required to complete a pre‐employment physical, at Federal expense.​

    Position Details:
    This position is located in Boulder City, Nevada.
    Applicants must be a US citizen and possess a valid US driver's license.

    Grade level GG06 ($20.53 hourly)

    This is a temporary excepted service position not‐to‐exceed 180 working days in a service year. 180 working days typically translates to 9-10 months. All qualified applicants, with or without Federal status may apply and be considered. Appointment to this position, however, will not convey permanent status in the Federal service.

    Work Schedule: The position will begin June 19, 2023. Schedule is Full‐Time / Maxi Flex (40 hours per week), then potentially changing to an intermittent work schedule at the end of the field season.

    Travel Required: Position does require occasional overnight travel camping at field sites.​

    Application Instructions:
    An email with your correctly formatted resume, and full unofficial transcripts must be sent to [email protected] after 8 am PST on March 20, and before 4 pm PST on April 7. If you fail to submit a complete application, you will not be considered for this position.
    Requests for extensions will not be granted.

    List the announcement number 74‐23‐05 on your application.
    Please list on your resume the number of hours worked per week, in addition to the exact start and end dates (Month, Day, Year) for each position listed, including volunteer work. If you fail to note hours per week, or if you fail to note the day of the month per position, this could significantly reduce your listed experience, and could disqualify you.

    If you are claiming veterans' preference you must submit a copy of your DD‐214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, by the closing date of this announcement. If you are currently on active military duty, you must provide documentation (e.g., campaign document, award citation, etc.), that verifies entitlement to veterans preference and that your character of military service is honorable. If you are claiming 10‐point veterans' preference, in addition to the DD‐214, you must submit documentation that supports your claim (e.g., an official statement from the Department of Veterans Affairs or from a branch of the Armed Forces certifying the existence of a service‐connected disability; or receipt of a Purple Heart). If you fail to submit any of the required documentation, you will not be granted veterans preference. Additional information on veterans' preference can be found in the VetGuide.

    If this position requires specific educational course work to qualify, or if you are qualifying based in whole or part on education, you are required to provide all unofficial transcripts (undergraduate and graduate) course work, which includes semester hours earned and grade received, by the closing date of this announcement or you will be disqualified from further consideration.

    Resume: You must show how your skills and experiences meet the qualification and requirements listed in the recruitment bulletin to be considered for the position. CV format will not be accepted.​

    To qualify for a GG‐06 you need 1 year and 9 months of field experience OR 4 years of sub‐professional work experience OR 4 years of college with courses related to the work of the position to be filled (equivalent to 120 semester/180 quarter hours) plus 3 months of lab or field work experience. Subprofessional
    experience consists of working as a technician or aid in the field or in a laboratory or similar environment.

    Definitions of Experience:
    Field Survey Party – Experience with a field survey party includes activity associated with making and recording geologic, hydrologic, biologic, or topographic field observations; collecting geologic, biological, or water samples for laboratory analysis; applying accepted data collection techniques and methods in the performance of field work in support of scientific investigations; and using a variety of surveying instruments and electronic or mechanical instrumentation in the making and recording of field measurements and observations designed to collect data for physical/ biological science investigations. Only time actually spent in the field can be credited when qualifying individuals under the field party experience option.
    Sub‐professional Experience – Sub‐professional experience is defined as technical work performed in support of field or laboratory investigations relating to the biological sciences, physical sciences, or closely related disciplines which provided basic knowledge or skills in gathering, recording, and assembling scientific or engineering data; using scientific instruments to measure angles, degrees, weights, strengths, intensities, etc.; setting up and operating test apparatus, and manipulating quantitative data. Experience may include assisting professional employees with such duties as calibrating and operating measuring instruments mixing solutions, making chemical analyses, setting up and operating test apparatus, and compiling and processing scientific data.
    Professional Experience – Professional work experience in the physical and biological sciences may be credited in lieu of or in conjunction with sub‐professional experience as defined above.

    Please note that if qualifying based on education; unofficial transcripts MUST be submitted as part of the application in order to receive consideration.

    Key Requirements:
    - Applicants must be U.S. Citizens.
    - Selectee subject to successful completion of a pre‐employment medical exam.
    - A background investigation will be required for this position. Continued employment will be subject to the applicant's successful completion of a background security investigation and favorable adjudication. Failure to successfully meet these requirements will be grounds for termination.
    - Applicants for this position must meet the following requirements: (1) possession of a valid State driver's license, and (2) possess a safe driving record. If selected, you will be required to provide proof of a valid State License and a copy of your driving record.​​