Bat Research Technicians, University of Wyoming

Laramie, WY / Black Hills, SD

Job Title: Bat Research Technician 

Organization: University of Wyoming & Wyoming Natural Diversity Database (WYNDD)

Location: Laramie, WY

Research Locations: Black Hills, SD

Northern long-eared bats (Myotis septentrionalis) are experiencing drastic population declines due to habitat loss and the spread of the pathogen Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd), the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome (WNS). In 2013, MYSE were given a Critically Imperiled (G1), ranking by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUNC), and were federally listed in the United States as Threatened in 2015. While WNS is the primary cause for listing, the resiliency of bat populations is also dependent on intact, and functional roost sites. Maternity roosts play an important role in local population persistence—providing communal sites for females, where they shelter, feed, and raise their young. Myotis septentrionalis have a very low reproductive rate, and the availability of suitable maternity roost sites is integral to their conservation. While some factors are known about the critical habitats of Myotis septentrionalis in the eastern parts of their range, there are significant gaps in knowledge regarding the species’ habitat requirements in the West. This lack of knowledge is an obstacle for wildlife managers in three national parks in South Dakota: Wind Caves National Park (WCNP), Jewel Caves National Monument (JECA), and Mount Rushmore National Memorial (MORU).

The Bernard Lab is recruiting research technicians to assist on a graduate project to capture and radio track female Myotis septentrionalis in Wind Caves National Park, Jewel Caves National Monument, and Mount Rushmore National Memorial. This graduate research aims to answer a variety of questions that will aid in the roost conservation and overall management this federally listed species. The specific goals of the project are to: 1) describe external and internal maternity roost structures, 2) quantify the dynamics of roost use, and 3) identify the landscape characteristics necessary to promote suitable M. septentrionalis roosting habitat in and around these park units.

Position Description: The technician will be conducting research in Wind Caves National Park, Jewel Caves National Monument, and Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Custer, South Dakota. Technicians will be housed either in National Park housing or will camp within the parks while capturing and tracking bats. The project is funded by the National Parks Service, and the technician will have opportunities to interact with National Park Service biologists, Park Rangers, personnel from the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks Department, staff from the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, as well as the graduate student and her advisors from the University of Wyoming.

We are seeking an undergraduate or recently graduated student who is interested in field research and wildlife conservation. Potential applicants should be aware that this position requires completing field work at night, potentially long field hours (night capturing of bats, and then early morning radio tracking), and bouts of camping. The work will be rewarding, and technicians will have the opportunity to work directly with a threatened species and will gain experience working within the National Parks Service completing zoological surveys. Individuals from underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply.

Required Qualifications:

  • Working towards, or already earned a BS/BA in biology, zoology, natural resource conservation or related field.
  • Experience conducting field-based research
  • Experience working collaboratively in teams as well as independently
  • A valid driver’s license and ability to drive long distances to field sites

Desired Qualifications:

  • Experience studying bats, including radio tracking and vegetation surveys
  • Rabies vaccinated, and federally permitted to capture and handle Myotis septentrionalis
  • Experience or interest in quantitative analysis
  • Experience or interest in habitat management and conservation of imperiled species
  • Experience or interest in conducting research on public lands

Start Date: The ideal candidate would begin their field season June/July 2022 and complete the season in October/November 2022. Possibility for rehire summer 2023 contingent on the 2022 field season.

How to Apply: Submit a single PDF labeled as Lastname_TechApplication.pdf containing 1) a cover letter [this should include a description about your academic career thus far, why you are interested in this project or working with bats, and your career goals], 2) a CV or resume, and 3) the name and contact information of 3 references. Applications or questions about the position should be sent to Renee Lile at rlile1@uwyo.edu. Applications should be sent via email, with the title “Lastname Tech Application 2022”.

Review of applications will start immediately and will continue until filled.

Last Date to Apply: 01/15/2022

Salary: ~$15/hr

Statement on Diversity: Diverse research groups, including those that are diverse in knowledge, experiences, and identities, increases productivity and creativity. The Bernard Lab is strongly committed to increasing the representation of traditionally excluded groups and fostering a diverse, equitable and inclusive research lab here at the University of Wyoming. The University of Wyoming values a wide range of cultural perspectives, experiences, and opinions that are important for educational excellence and critical for preparing students for future success (http://www.uwyo.edu/diversity/_files/odei-strategicplan2018-r5.pdf). For questions regarding diversity, please feel free to contact Renee Lile.

COVID-19 Statement: To lower the risk of exposing bats to SARS-CoV-2, all field personal will be required to wear a fitted N-95 mask and gloves for the entirety of the netting and handling process of this study regardless of vaccination status. N-95 masks and disposable work gloves will be provided by the graduate student. All field gear and personal equipment used during netting will be disinfected with a 90% isopropyl alcohol solution immediately after the netting process. Gear that is porous (nets, clothes, etc.) will be soaked in 130 °F water. Symptomatic or Covid-positive individuals will not be allowed to engage in any field work—including observational surveys. These precautions are non-negotiable.