Research Technician, University of Wyoming

 Laramie, WY and statewide

Position Title: Research Technicican

Organization: Bernard Lab at the University of Wyoming

Location: Laramie, WY and statewide

Position Overview: Globally, bats serve an integral component in many ecosystems; providing valuable services such as pest control, pollination and seed dispersal, and human pest determent. Chiropteran species in North America are experiencing significant population declines due to extirpation of both natural roost sites and foraging habitats, wind energy development, climate change, and the introduction of disease. Some information is known about essential habitats, roosting ecology, and behavior of bat species globally and in the eastern region of the United States; however, much less is known about these topics in western North America. Conservation efforts targeting bat species in the West are typically modeled after eastern bat species which can lack the information necessary for making appropriate management decisions and actions.

The Bernard Lab is recruiting a research technician to assist on a project that is investigating the use of Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) managed bridges as artificial bat roosts in the state of Wyoming to answer a variety of questions that will aid in the conservation and management of Wyoming and western chiropteran species. Prior to the 1960’s, bridges were often overlooked as potential roosting habitat for bats in North America. It is now widely accepted that bridges of different designs and material provide optimal roosting microclimates for various bat species throughout the world. The specific goals of the project are to: (1) investigate WYDOT managed bridges for the presence of bats or signs of bat usage; (2) if bats or bat sign is detected, determine the roost type (i.e., day, night, bachelor, or maternity), roost characteristics (i.e., height of the roost, temperature of the roost, and where on the bridge is/are the roost/roosts located), bridge characteristics (i.e., construction, material, and features crossed by bridges); (3) collect samples such as guano, and if present, bat carcasses for species identification; (4) swab roosting surfaces for the presence of Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd), the causative fungal agent of white-nose syndrome; and (5) document various bat behaviors at bridge roosts using camera traps.

The technician will assist the graduate student with bridge surveillance on Wyoming highways and roads. This type of research requires that both the graduate student and technician are on the road investigating bridges during daylight hours, with the possibility of nighttime work such as emergence counts. Due to the nature of this research, the student and technician may be required to lodge at campgrounds, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or US Forest Service (USFS) managed lands, or returning to Laramie, WY, the home-base for this project’s field season. Any fees that are charged via lodging will be covered by the University of Wyoming. This project is funded by the University of Wyoming, Wyoming Governor’s Big Game Coalition Grant, Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT), and Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD).

Required Qualifications:

  • Working towards or already earned a BS/BA in biology, zoology, wildlife and fisheries science or related.
  • Experiences working collaboratively in teams as well as independently.
  • A valid driver’s license and ability to drive long distances
    • University of Wyoming Fleet vehicles can only be driven by individuals who have a valid driver’s license for over one year
  • A willingness to get a little dirty, getting feet wet (wear waterproof boots), jumping fences (a very common activity in bridge surveying), and a steeled mind for whatever may be encountered below a bridge.

Desired Qualifications:

  • Experience or interests in studying bats or animals in general
  • Experience of interests in habitat management and conservation of imperiled species
  • First aid/CPR trained

Start and End Dates: The ideal candidate would begin their field season June 6 and work until August 19. The possibility for rehire for the 2023 field season will be dependent on the current field season and available funding.

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 Logan Detweiler