Home Forum topic Announcements Job Opportunity: Terrestrial Invertebrate Conservation Ecologist at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

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    Terrestrial Invertebrate Conservation Ecologist

    About the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden:

    The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s mission is to conserve California native plants and habitats for the health and well-being of people and the planet. Since the 1930s, staff members of the Garden have developed and maintained an intimate knowledge of the California flora, with an emphasis on the plants and vegetation communities of California’s Central Coast and the offshore islands. Today, we take a comprehensive approach to its conservation from genes to ecosystems, with plant systematics, rare plant conservation, community ecology, and habitat restoration functions. This allows us to more thoroughly tackle the conservation challenges of our day, such as habitat loss and fragmentation, invasive species, and pollinator decline.


    The Terrestrial Invertebrate Conservation Ecologist will lead the Garden’s insect-plant interactions studies to inform biodiversity conservation and habitat restoration, and promote urban habitat creation. This person will conduct terrestrial invertebrate surveys, coarsely identify, image, and database the resulting specimens, and interface with entomological experts around the world to facilitate their identification to the species level. This is a full time (40 hours per week), exempt position that reports to the Director of Conservation and Research.

    Essential Duties:

    • Conduct fieldwork in various California locations, typically in the tri-counties (Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura) and Channel Islands;
    • Utilize a variety of sampling techniques including sweep netting, beat sheeting, litter sampling, and pan trapping;
    • Identify collected specimens to the “morphospecies”1 level based on key features for that group;
    • Prepare high-resolution images of morphospecies representatives using a Leica M125 with Z-stacking technology;
    • Maintain spreadsheets of the data and resulting identifications;
    • Post selected images on online portals;
    • Separate specimens by group to share with entomologist partners from institutions including U.C. Berkeley, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, the University of California at Santa Barbara, the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, San Diego State University, San Diego Natural History Museum, and University of California at San Diego;
    • Interface with the above experts and beyond, to facilitate species-level identifications. Travel occasionally to the above institutions to deliver specimens and coordinate with partners;
    • Prepare reports and publications;
    • Conceive of new projects and write funding proposals;
    • Offer periodic educational opportunities that may include lectures and workshops;
    • Produce periodic outreach materials, including newsletter articles, web updates and social media.


    Knowledge and Abilities:

    • Ability to identify a wide range of arthropods to the family level at minimum, and ability to assign morphospecies for these arthropods based on key features for each group;
    • Ability to conduct field work for the collection of invertebrate specimens in a remote setting with rugged terrain under a variety of environmental conditions;
    • Manual dexterity sufficient to prepare specimens neatly and quickly;
    • Willingness and ability to work cooperatively with peers at SBBG and other institutions;
    • Ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines;
    • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written;
    • Strong support of the Garden’s mission and goals;
    • Computer proficiency including ability to use Microsoft Outlook, Excel, Word, and PowerPoint;
    • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail; efficiency to process a large number of specimens in a timely manner;
    • Ability to follow instructions and work well independently with minimal supervision critical;
    • Ability to work professionally and successfully with others critical.

    Qualifications and Experience:

    • Ph.D., Master’s, or 10 years of experience in invertebrate zoology, entomology, invertebrate ecology or closely related area;
    • A broad knowledge of invertebrate biology, taxonomy, and ecosystem functions ;
    • Experience with and knowledge of online invertebrate and biodiversity databases;
    • Understanding and appreciation of invertebrate collections and curation standards.

    Physical Requirements:

    • Ability to stand/walk for extended periods of time, bend, squat and hike rugged trails, and safely lift and carry boxes of specimens and supplies (30+ lbs.);
    • Tolerance of an outdoor work environment. Exposure to indoor and outdoor environmental conditions, including temperature fluctuations, rain, dust, allergens, poison oak, insects, wild animals, and sun exposure.

    For more information, and to apply, please visit our website at https://recruiting.paylocity.com/recruiting/jobs/Details/673613/SANTA-BARBARA-BOTANIC-GARDEN-INC/Terrestrial-Invertebrate-Conservation-Ecologist

    If you have questions after reading the detailed position description, please contact Denise Knapp (dknapp@sbbg.org)

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