NRRI Aquatic Ecology Field Technician

Job ID: 354213

Location: NRRI Duluth

Job Family: Supplemental Employee

Part-Time / Regular

Employee Class: Civil Service

About the Job

Researchers in the Water Group at the Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota Duluth, are hiring two aquatic ecology summer field technicians. The primary role of these positions is to conduct research on rusty crayfish in three Northeast Minnesota lakes, and to survey small fish among nine lakes throughout Minnesota. There may also be opportunities to work on other projects and gain additional experience working in Great Lakes coastal wetlands and MN tributaries (streams) to Lake Superior. The field technicians will prepare supplies and gear for field sampling, and work in teams of 2-4 individuals to conduct crayfish trapping and fish surveys by boat. Considerable travel is required; up to 45 days will be spent as a mobile field crew while trapping crayfish and netting fish (up to nine outings lasting up to 5 days each, all M-F and excluding holidays). Field trip lodging is provided through house rentals and hotels, and technicians are given a daily allowance to cover food expenses.

Technicians will receive considerable safety and project training before field excursions. Employee onboarding and field training will occur in May to cover standard operating procedures for crayfish trapping, boat safety, and field/water safety. New employees will have opportunities to practice boat trailering at NRRI before the first field excursion, and ample hands-on training (boat operation, water safety, handling and identifying fish and crayfish) will occur during the first several field site visits.

Technicians may have opportunities to work on other projects as well. Depending on the project, technicians may help to document fish, aquatic macroinvertebrates, habitat, aquatic plants, and water quality in Great Lakes coastal areas, and/or sample fish and aquatic invertebrates from wadeable streams. Project-specific training will be provided. NRRI will provide personal protection equipment (PPE) for field work such as waders, life jackets, basic rain gear, eye and hand protection, sunscreen, bug spray, hand sanitizer, headnets, etc. Employees are responsible for procuring their own field-appropriate clothing, lunchbox/day pack, water bottles, and kit of anything needed for a long day of field work (e.g. SPF lip balm, medicines, lunches/snacks). When crews are working around Duluth on a standard work schedule, and on days off, crew are responsible for their own transportation, housing, and food.

All applicants must be able to travel frequently this summer on field trips (up to nine Monday-Friday excursions), be able to work cooperatively in small groups, have a positive attitude (it makes the field day more fun!), be able to lift 50 pounds, and be ready to work and learn cool new skills each day. Strong applicants will also have a background in boating, first aid, a demonstrated ability to work on a team, and mechanical aptitude to diagnose and fix broken things.

Job Duties:

80% - Field sampling and travel. The primary project technicians will work on is researching rusty crayfish (an invasive species) trapping methods near sensitive vegetation. Two NRRI technicians will work together with project partners to deploy and retrieve crayfish traps at three Northeast MN lakes. Each lake will be sampled one week (a M-F trip) in May/June, and then visited again in July/August (six M-F trips total). In between the crayfish trapping events the technicians will also help sample fish from nine MN lakes in support of a tern forage project. We anticipate visiting three lakes per week, so three weeks (M-F trips) of field travel will be for fish sampling. Transportation, lodging, and a meal allowance will be provided for travel away from Duluth.

15% - Organizing field equipment, preparing/packing for field trips, cleaning used field gear.

5% -  Using computer and GPS to navigate to sampling sites and manage field data.



  • Valid driver’s license and clean driving record (absolutely no moving violations; any offer of employment is contingent upon passing a motor vehicle background check).
  • Must be able to arrange daily transportation to and from NRRI facility, and is responsible for securing housing in the Duluth, MN area for the term of this appointment.
  • Physical ability to work long hours outdoors, sometimes in inclement weather.
  • Ability to lift 50 pounds.
  • Must be able to travel away from the Duluth, MN area for field work up to nine times over the summer (Monday through Friday trips; no weekend or holiday work scheduled).


  • Experience sampling and identifying crayfish and fish.
  • Boating and trailering experience with MN Boaters Safety Certificate.
  • Strong communication skills, positive attitude, experience working on a team.
  • Computer skills performing data entry and Excel spreadsheet management.
  • Familiarity using handheld GPS. 
  • Mechanical aptitude: e.g., changing vehicle and trailer tires, troubleshooting boat motors, performing routine maintenance of vehicles, trailers, boats, and motors.


About the Department

NRRI’s mission is to deliver integrated research solutions that value our resources, environment, and economy for a sustainable and resilient future. We are a mission-driven, project-focused team working to create opportunities for natural resource stewardship. With industrial-scale facilities in Duluth and Coleraine, MN, NRRI works across five strategic research platforms. These platforms address Minnesota’s soil, forest, water, and mineral resources:

• Applied Ecology and Resource Management
• Minerals and Metallurgy
• Materials and Bioeconomy
• Data Collection and Delivery
• Commercialization Services

How To Apply

Applications must be submitted online.

To apply for this position, go to  and search for job opening 354213.  You will be given the opportunity to complete an online application and attach a resume and cover letter. First submit the application with cover letter and CV/resume.  Then return to the “My Activities” page to attach the additional documents.

Complete applications must include:                               

  1. Cover Letter
  2. Current Resume
  3. Contact information for three professional references

Email application procedure questions to

To request an accommodation during the application process, please e-mail or call (612) 624-UOHR (8647).


The University recognizes and values the importance of diversity and inclusion in enriching the employment experience of its employees and in supporting the academic mission.  The University is committed to attracting and retaining employees with varying identities and backgrounds.

The University of Minnesota provides equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.  To learn more about diversity at the U:

Employment Requirements

Any offer of employment is contingent upon the successful completion of a background check. Our presumption is that prospective employees are eligible to work here. Criminal convictions do not automatically disqualify finalists from employment.

Please note: All employees at the University of Minnesota are required to comply with the University’s Administrative Policy: COVID-19 Vaccination and Safety Protocol by either providing proof of being fully vaccinated on their first day of employment, or complete a request for an exemption for medical exemption or religious reasons. To learn more please visit: