Published: Feb. 19, 2021

Biological Science Technician/Field Assistant(Moab, UT) wanted! 

US Geological Survey - Southwest Biological Science Center

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$15.10 - $19.63 an hour

Job Type



Number of hires for this role

5 to 10


    • Driver's License (Preferred)

Full Job Description

The USGS Southwest Biological Science Center in Moab, UT is seeking a Biological Science Technician (GG-0404-04) to assist with field work, lab work, and data entry on a range of dryland ecological investigations.

Incumbent participates in a research program focusing soils and soil processes in dryland ecosystems and the interactions between environmental and land-use drivers, vegetation, soils, and geomorphology. Areas of focus include restoration, ecohydrology, effects of land-use (grazing, energy, and recreation), dust production, plant-soil feedbacks, and soil mapping and interpretations.

Some primary current research focuses include understanding impacts of drought on Colorado Plateau landscapes, evaluating recovery of oil and gas pads on the Colorado Plateau and opportunities for improved restoration practices, developing novel restoration techniques for highly disturbed lands using biological soil crusts and physical barriers, and basic research into the importance of soils for dryland ecosystem processes.

Announcement number: SBSC-2021-003

Number of positions: no more than 6

Wage Grade/Series: GG-0404-04

Work schedule/Duration of Appointment: Full-Time, 40 hours/week, temporary. There can be periods of a part-time and full-time schedule, depending on work. This is an excepted service position not-to-exceed 1 year but may be extended up to a maximum of 2 years without further competition. Employment may not exceed 180 days/1039 hours of work in a service year. All qualified applicants, with or without Federal status may apply and be considered. Appointment to this position, however, will not convey permanent status in the Federal service.

Travel RequiredTravel of 10-20 days per month may be required. There may be need for more time in the field during the field season(April-September) and less in the off-season.

Relocation: Relocation expenses will not be paid.

This announcement opens at 9 am 02/18/2021 (MT) and closes at noon (MT) on 02/22/2021, or when positions are filled. You are strongly encouraged to submit all required supporting documents at the time of application. Supporting documents will not be accepted once the vacancy announcement closes.

Salary (Hourly): $ 15.10 (Step 01) to $ 19.63 (Step 10)

NOTE: First time hires to the Federal Government are typically hired at the Step 01.

Duties and Responsibilities Include:

  • Conducts field sampling of biological soil crusts, vegetation and soils of the Colorado Plateau with accuracy and precision specialized techniques at pre-selected study sites under supervision of field crew leader.
  • Prepares samples and performs laboratory analysis of crust, plant and soil samples to determine specific chemical, physical, and/or biological characteristics under supervision of a project lead.
  • Enters data on a Windows-based computer using spreadsheets.
  • Knowledge of processes, methods & procedures of biological science; knowledge of routine field data collection procedures; skill in operation, maintenance, and servicing of biological recording and measuring instruments; knowledge of procedures utilized in a biological lab.

Physical Demands

Work will be in the field and the lab. Field work involves moderate or sometimes extreme exposure to the discomforts of rain, cold/hot weather, and rapidly running streams or rivers. Special safety precautions are required in some cases, and the employee may wear special safety boots and special organism-handling gear. Work can be physically demanding and includes walking, bending, climbing, and lifting of equipment up to 35 pounds when in the field, sometimes during adverse conditions.

*A pre-employment physical is required.*

Job Credentials:

The grade for this position is GG-04. Applicants must meet one of the following to qualify for the GG-4 level: 6 months Field Survey Party Experience OR 2 years Sub-Professional Experience OR 1 year college work related to field of employment.

Definitions of Experience:

Field Survey Party —Experience with a field survey party includes activity associated with making and recording geologic, hydrologic, biologic, or topographic field observations; collecting geologic, biological, or water samples for laboratory analysis; applying accepted data collection techniques and methods in the performance of field work in support of scientific investigations; and using a variety of surveying instruments and electronic or mechanical instrumentation in the making and recording of field measurements and observations designed to collect data for physical/ biological science investigations. Only time actually spent in the field can be credited when qualifying individuals under the field party experience option.

Sub-professional Experience —Sub-professional experience is defined as technical work performed in support of field or laboratory investigations relating to the biological sciences, physical sciences, or closely related disciplines which provided basic knowledge or skills in gathering, recording, and assembling scientific or engineering data; using scientific instruments to measure angles, degrees, weights, strengths, intensities, etc.; setting up and operating test apparatus, and manipulating quantitative data. Experience may include assisting professional employees with such duties as calibrating and operating measuring instruments mixing solutions, making chemical analyses, setting up and operating test apparatus, and compiling and processing scientific data. Experience as a laboratory mechanic or in a trade or craft may be credited as experience when the work was performed in close association with physical or biological scientists or other technical personnel and provided a good working knowledge of appropriate scientific principles, methods, and techniques.

Professional Experience —Professional work experience in the physical and biological sciences may be credited in lieu of or in conjunction with sub-professional experience as defined above.

Please note that if qualifying based on education; unofficial transcripts MUST be submitted as part of the application in order to receive consideration. You must meet all qualification and eligibility requirements for the position by the closing date of the announcement.