NRRI Wildlife Ecologist

Title: NRRI Researcher 3: Wildlife Ecologist
Job ID: 361838
Location: Duluth
Job Family: Research-Researchers
Job Code: 8352R3
Employee Class: Civil Service

About the Job

NRRI Researcher 3: Wildlife Ecologist

The annual salary range for this position starts $45,000.00/yr and depends on qualifications.

***Please note this position is NOT eligible for sponsorship***

NRRI seeks a qualified wildlife ecologist to provide scientific input and support to several ongoing mammal research projects in Minnesota. The position will be an annual, renewable appointment dependent on availability of research funds.  

The researcher must be capable of working independently and as part of interdisciplinary teams on a variety of externally funded research projects and datasets related to wildlife ecology and management in Minnesota and the Western Great Lakes Region. This position is responsible for contributing to multiple projects pertaining to mammals and their habitats. Mammal projects focus largely on forest carnivores, bats, and small mammals. Responsibilities will include contributing to all aspects of ongoing studies on habitat relationships, diets, population trends, and interactions between species. Research techniques employed will include remote camera monitoring and remote camera image analysis, conducting surveys for small mammals and bats, live-capture and GPS telemetry of carnivores, stable isotope and scat-based diet analyses, and geospatial analyses. 

The individual will be expected to help conduct research activities in field, laboratory, and office settings to help the research team complete project objectives and deliverables and help coordinate project tasks. The applicant will work closely with the PI and team members to develop project plans and implement research projects including collecting and managing data, assisting with data analyses, and contributing to annual and technical reports. In addition to contributing to ongoing research projects, the individual will be expected to assist the PI in development of future research ideas and grant proposals. The position will require extensive travel in difficult field situations to monitor study animals, survey wildlife populations, and collect other field data to address project objectives. Field work takes place in all seasons, and the successful candidate must be able to work flexible hours (nights, early mornings, and weekends) and be willing to work outdoors in a wide variety of weather conditions and environments. 

Job Duties:

  • Field data collection (45%)- Conduct field work to address project objectives under minimal supervision. Field research activities performed by the individual will include remote camera surveys, small mammal surveys, monitoring snow conditions, live-capture and radio-collaring carnivores, and radiotelemetry. 
  • Data management and analysis (25%)- Help manage and analyze field data for ongoing studies of mammals, including managing data on samples collected. Help maintain, inventory, and prepare tools and supplies for field research activities. 
  • Laboratory sample processing (20%)- Help prepare samples for stable isotope analysis, analyze scats and GI tracts to reconstruct diets of carnivores, and necropsy carcasses to determine cause of death and collect samples.
  • Dissemination (10%)- Help complete data analyses to support dissemination of project   data. Assist with literature reviews, create figures and tables, and help draft text for reports.


Required Qualifications:

  1. Bachelor’s degree in ecology, biology, wildlife ecology/management, or related environmental science from an accredited college or university and 2 years of related experience or a combination of education and work experience equal to 6 years of related experience.
  2. Evidence of field skills and experiences working in remote settings, including a demonstrated ability to work in the field conditions present in northern Minnesota. Must have experience navigating in the field using GPS, compass, or map.
  3. Previous experience working in wildlife research in a position that included a strong field component. Must have previous experience with telemetry and live-capture and handling of wildlife (experience capturing and handling carnivores is preferred).
  4. Demonstrated ability to manage, analyze, and summarize data from a variety of sources.
  5. Demonstrated working knowledge of and experience using statistical (e.g., SAS, R) or geographical (e.g., ArcGIS) software.
  6. Demonstrated ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  7. Excellent verbal and written communication skills in the English language.
  8. Must possess a valid driver’s license.
  9. Physical requirements include:
    a. Ability to lift and carry equipment weighing 40-50 pounds.
    b. Demonstrated ability to walk/hike in rough terrain for 8 hours per day in all seasons.
    c. Tolerance of bugs and working in inclement weather as needed.


Preferred Qualifications: 

  1. Master’s degree in ecology, biology, wildlife ecology/management, or related environmental science from an accredited college or university.
  2. Experience analyzing complex data from a variety of sources to assess ecological patterns and processes. It is preferred that previous experience analyzing data involves a variety of data types such as field, laboratory, or remotely sensed data.
  3. Knowledge of ecology and management of forest carnivores in Minnesota. 
  4. Previous experience working with carnivores, including research or monitoring activities focused on carnivores.
  5. Previous experience analyzing wildlife diets using stable isotopes or scat-based methods.
  6. Previous experience supervising field crews.
  7. Previous experience conducting research on bats using acoustic detectors or other methods.
  8. Experience presenting scientific results to varied audiences such as scientists, agency personnel, or laypeople.
  9. Experience writing reports or publications summarizing scientific data and results of analyses.

About the Department

The Natural Resources Research Institute was established by the Minnesota legislature in 1983 as an applied science and engineering research organization to inform state citizens and decision-makers while leveraging the power of the University of Minnesota. NRRI is guided by the forward-looking charter provided by the Legislature to foster the economic development of Minnesota’s natural resources in an environmentally sound manner to promote private sector employment. 

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


Working at the University

At the University of Minnesota, you’ll find a flexible work environment and supportive colleagues who are interested in lifelong learning.  We prioritize work-life balance, allowing you to invest in the future of your career and in your life outside of work.

The University also offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes:

  • Competitive wages, paid holidays, and generous time off
  • Continuous learning opportunities through professional training and degree-seeking programs supported by the Regents Tuition Benefit Program
  • Low-cost medical, dental, and pharmacy plans
  • Healthcare and dependent care flexible spending accounts
  • University HSA contributions
  • Disability and employer-paid life insurance
  • Employee wellbeing program
  • Excellent retirement plans with employer contribution
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) opportunity
  • Financial counseling services 
  • Employee Assistance Program with eight sessions of counseling at no cost

Please visit the Office of Human Resources website for more information regarding benefits.

How To Apply

Applications must be submitted online.  To be considered for this position, visit the UMN Careers website and search for the Job ID number on this post.  You will have the opportunity to complete an online application for the position and attach a cover letter and resume. To ensure full consideration, please apply by 6/20/2024.

Additional documents may be attached after application by accessing your "My Job Applications" page and uploading documents in the "My Cover Letters and Attachments" section. You are required to attach a Cover letter and Resume.

This position will remain open until filled.

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


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.

About the U of M

University of Minnesota, Duluth (UMD)

The University of Minnesota, Duluth (UMD) consistently ranks among the top Midwestern, regional universities in U.S. News and World Report's "America's Best Colleges" issue.

Overlooking Lake Superior, UMD provides an alternative to both large research and small liberal arts environments and attracts students looking for a personalized learning experience on a medium-sized campus of a major university.  A firm liberal arts foundation anchors a variety of traditional degree programs, as well as professional and graduate students that draw on UMD's many research institutes and labs.

At the University of Minnesota, we are proud to be recognized by the Star Tribune as a Top Workplace for 2021, as well as by Forbes as Best Employers for Women and one of America’s Best Employers (2015, 2018, 2019, 2023), Best Employer for Diversity (2019, 2020), Best Employer for New Grads (2018, 2019), and Best Employer by State (2019, 2022).

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