Field-research Technician and Crew Leader opportunity in Wildlife Ecology

Montana, Idaho, Oregon

Organization: Montana State University/ USGS

Location: Bitterroot Mountains (MT), Absaroka – Beartooth Mountains (MT), Sawtooth Mountains (ID), Steens Mountain, (OR). Staging for all research trips will occur in Bozeman, MT.

Type of opportunity: Seasonal, Internship

Contact: William W. Thompson |


  • You will work independently and as a member of a team, conducting research on American pikas (Ochotona princeps), climate change, alpine ecosystems, and their relationships to contemporary climate and other drivers.
  • Working in remote mountain environments
  • Searching for mammals and their signs
  • Conducting surveys on talus and scree slopes often in early morning and late evening; extensive navigation by compass and topographic map (and a GPS unit when topography and cloud cover allow)
  • Identification and measurements of shrub and tree species
  • Retrieval of microclimatic sensors
  • Measurement of slope and aspect
  • Careful recording and organization of data on datasheets; care and maintenance of field equipment; and data entry and checking.
  • Technicians will also be backpacking, on multiple-day trips, in four of the most stunning and ecologically unique mountain ranges in the United States.
  • After surveys have been completed, the two technicians and field crew leaders hired will be tasked with sensor collection in one of three mountain ranges.
  • Technicians hired for the project will have the opportunity to act as a crew leader if so desired, and they are deemed fit for the position.
  • Physical Demands: Field sites for this project are in remote locations located across the northwestern United States.
  • Required activities will include: hiking and backpacking in high altitudes over rough, uneven mountainous terrain or through dense forests; lifting and carrying a backpack of up to 40 pounds
  • Long days will be common and days off will be infrequent.
  • We stress that you must be in excellent physical shape for this amazing opportunity.

Desired qualifications:

  • Must have earned a high school diploma
  • Must possess a current, valid U.S. driver’s license
  • Must be able to hike a sustained pace of 3 miles per hour on trails and mild terrain
  • Must be able to hike up to 15 miles per day for 10 days straight
  • Must be able to overnight tent camp in remote locations for up to 10 days at a time
  • Must have some experience with backcountry camping, off-trail navigation, and orienteering with GPS unit and (when needed) with map and compass

Start and end dates: Two paid positions. The positions will begin approximately 06/10/2016 and end approximately 9/20/2016 (dates somewhat flexible)

Salary/pay: Technicians will have the opportunity to earn research credits, and will be paid $2,500 for the duration of the summer.

Link to more information: Wildlife Field Technician Position – American Pika (1)

How to apply: Interested candidates should send a cover letter, curriculum vitae/ resume, and a list of three to six references (names, email-addresses, and phone numbers) who can attest to your qualifications relative to the position’s duties and demands by not later than May 4th to Will Thompson at, however, applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis beginning on January 29 th 2016. To receive priority consideration, please submit all materials by the January date

Application deadline: ASAP, not later than May 4th