Joint Natural History Museum -The Nature Conservancy Research Position
Title: GIS Researcher, Los Angeles Biodiversity Spatial Analysis.
Term: This position will be a full-time, one-year appointment, with the possibility for renewal should performance and funding allow. The start date would ideally be September 1, 2016.
Location: The selected candidate will have office space at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM)*, and will make regular visits to The Nature Conservancy (TNC)** offices for meetings in Los Angeles and other locations as deemed appropriate.
Requirements: A Ph.D. in geography, biology, ecology, resource management, or a related field is highly preferred for this position. Candidates with a master’s degree plus 3-5 years of experience and a record of publication will also be considered. The Ph.D. degree must be awarded by August 1, 2016. Demonstrated professional expertise in working with geospatial software (Esri or open source equivalent) and web-based mapping and data visualization platforms, design skills for cartographic products, and skills analyzing large data sets are a must. Other requirements include experience synthesizing, interpreting, and communicating scientific information; preparing reports and authoring manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals; leading and working with cross functional teams; and working and communicating with a wide range of people. Familiarity with and professional interest in the fields of urban conservation, urban ecology, citizen science, and related topics are strongly preferred.
Salary: $50,000 per year, plus excellent benefits.
Scope of work: Greater Los Angeles will undergo major transformations in the coming years. Drivers include continued population growth, demographic shifts, and the upgrades and development of infrastructure necessary to serve this growth and meet federal, state and local mandates for the protection of the environment and human health. There is a growing understanding of the potential to use natural infrastructure to benefit people while at the same time benefiting nature and increasing a region’s resilience and adaptability to climate change. A major missing piece needed for this transformation is a region-wide vision for conserving and enhancing biodiversity based on a comprehensive understanding of where habitat and wildlife are located, and where there are practical opportunities to protect, enhance, and restore them. To address this gap, The Nature Conservancy and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County are jointly launching a project to conduct a spatially explicit conservation assessment of Greater Los Angeles. This assessment is the focus of this position. The selected candidate will produce a spatially explicit assessment that can be used by agencies and organizations to develop a consensus around a vision for the conservation and enhancement of biological diversity, particularly through targeted investments in green infrastructure across Greater Los Angeles. The vision will include the large and small blocks of naturally vegetated areas and areas which can be restored, as well as neighborhoods and commercial and industrial areas that can serve as habitat for some of the region’s native species (e.g. native and exotic trees and shrubs where birds nest and lizards feed, buildings where swallows and falcons can nest, and vegetated lots that support myriad small organisms). The assessment will yield digital data which can be used alone and with additional data (especially data generated from major, innovative citizen science projects at the NHM) to analyze other important opportunities for habitat restoration, infrastructure development and community development. The selected candidate will carry out this assessment using TNC’s Conservation by Design approach, primarily the Ecoregional Assessment framework with elements of Conservation Action Planning. This will require compilation and analysis of spatially explicit data. Data layers from existing databases such as eBird and iNaturalist and studies like the City of Los Angeles’ GRASS (Greenways to Rivers Arterial Stormwater Systems) will be incorporated as appropriate. Data layers will be viewed and analyzed in a GIS format and used to produce digital and hard-copy maps depicting the region-wide vision for nature. The main products of the assessment will be a series of maps depicting our vision for conserving and enhancing biodiversity in Greater Los Angeles, as well as applications of the products to NHM’s citizen science surveys. The selected candidate will also produce a report explaining the vision and benefits that implementing it could bring, as well as a detailed description of the methodology used to create it. The selected candidate will also generate publications related to various elements of the project, give formal presentations to TNC and NHM staff in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and present at internal and external workshops and conferences as deemed appropriate by TNC and NHM.
Applications: Apply at http://www.nhm.org/site/about-our-museums/working-at-nhm/jobs-nhm
* The NHM, the largest natural history museum in the western United States, has recently finished a dramatic transformation including new ground breaking exhibitions and a 3 ½ acre wildlife garden. The NHM’s mission is to inspire wonder, discovery, and responsibility for our natural and cultural worlds. As part of an increased focus on urban biodiversity, museum researchers have launched multiple citizen science projects including the insect-focused Biodiversity Science: City and Nature (BioSCAN), the iNaturalist-based Reptiles and Amphibians of Southern California (RASCals), and the SuperProject, which combines numerous projects to generate multi-taxa datasets for hundreds of sites across the urban matrix. For more information, see http://www.nhm.org/nature/research-discoveries/unrc
**The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working to make a positive impact around the world in more than 35 countries, all 50 United States, and your backyard. Founded in 1951, the mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit www.nature.org/about-us to learn more.