NRRI Researcher 3: Wildlife Ecologist

Sep 7, 2022

Job ID: 351444
Location: Duluth
Job Family: Research
Full-Time, Regular
Job Code: 8352R3
Employee Class: Civil Service

About the Job

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

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 birds. Mammal projects focus largely on forest carnivores. 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 breeding birds, live-capture and GPS telemetry of carnivores, stable isotope and scat-based diet analyses, and geospatial analyses.

The individual will be expected to conduct research activities in field, laboratory, and office settings to help the research team complete project objectives and deliverables. The applicant will collaborate with the PI and team members to develop project plans and implement research projects including collecting and managing data, assisting with data analyses, and writing annual and technical reports. This position requires a working knowledge of standard field and laboratory practices that will allow the employee to apply their knowledge to

independently complete complex research-related tasks. In addition to contributing to ongoing research projects, the individual will be expected to work with the PI in development of future research ideas and 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. Field research activities performed by the individual will include remote camera surveys, small mammal surveys, monitoring snow conditions, live-capture and radio-collaring carnivores, breeding bird surveys, and radiotelemetry.

• Data management and analysis (25%): Help manage and analyze field data for ongoing studies of mammals and birds, including managing data on samples collected. Help maintain, inventory, and prepare tools and supplies for field research activities.

• Laboratory sample processing (20%): 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%): Complete data analyses to support dissemination of project data. Review literature, create figures and tables, and draft text for reports and publications.


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 mammals 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 involve a variety of datatypes 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 conducting breeding bird point count surveys and identification of songbirds present in Minnesota.

6. Previous experience analyzing wildlife diets using stable isotopes or scat-based methods.

7. Previous experience supervising field crews.

8. Previous experience using ATVs and snowmobiles with state certification.

9. Experience presenting scientific results to varied audiences such as scientists, agency personnel, or laypeople.

10. 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:

1. Applied Ecology and Resource Management
2. Minerals and Metallurgy
3. Materials and Bioeconomy
4. Data Collection and Delivery
5. 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 Scholarship.
  • 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

Job open date: 09/07/2022

Job closing date: open until filled

Applications must be submitted online.

To apply for this position, go to  and search for job opening 351444. You will be given the opportunity to complete an online application and attach a resume and cover letter.

Additional documents may be attached after submitting your application by accessing your "My Activities" page and uploading documents there.

Complete applications must include:                               

  1. Cover Letter
  2. Current Resume
  3. Contact information for three professional references
  4. Diversity Statement: Please provide a brief personal statement detailing your affirmative action, equal opportunity, and diversity philosophy. 

First submit the application with a cover letter and CV/resume.  Then return to the “My Activities” page to attach the additional documents.

Email application procedure questions to

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

If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please contact a University of Minnesota Access Consultant at 612-624-3316.

If you have started receiving retirement annuity payments from the Minnesota State Retirement System (MSRS) or Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) your eligibility for this position may be impacted. Please contact OHR Benefits at 1-800-756-2363 for more information.

Veterans and individuals from underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.

The University of Minnesota is an Equal Opportunity Educator and Employer.


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.

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