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Assistant Specialist II - Otolith and Eye Lens Isotope Specialist

Recruitment Period

Open date: May 31st, 2019
Next review date: Sunday, Jun 30, 2019 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.
Final date: Sunday, Jun 30, 2019 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.



The position of Specialist has a narrow focus in a specialized area and provides technical or specialized expertise (e.g., with instrumentation and research equipment or with social science research methods) in the planning and execution of a research project. The Specialist stays apprised of emerging issues and problems and maintains technical competence in the designated area(s) of specialization. Within this defined area and when appropriate, the Specialist is expected to provide leadership, facilitate teamwork, and develop collaborative relationships with colleagues and to participate in the planning of research and educational programs. Normally, Specialists do not have Principal Investigator (PI) status but may obtain permission by exception or collaborate with a PI in preparing research proposals for extramural funding. The Specialist is evaluated for merit and promotion on the basis of three basic criteria outlined below.


I. Research in specialized areas (85% effort)

The research objective of this position is to use eye lens and otolith isotopes to quantify critical rearing habitats for salmon viability. Specialized field, laboratory and data analysis techniques will be utilized to ensure that data is properly collected and analyzed. The researcher will be expected, within their area of specialization, to work independently with limited direct supervision and to make substantial contributions toward publishable research.

A. Provide specialized expertise at the Center for Watershed Sciences in field data collection, laboratory and data analysis to understand critical rearing habitats for salmon viability through the use of otolith and eye lens isotopes in the context of the California Central Valley isoscape.

  1. Provide specialized field expertise in isoscape development for the Central Valley and by participating in carcass surveys and other field efforts for salmon otolith and eye lens collection in the collection of other fish tissue for isotope analysis in the Central Valley. Lead isoscape development field sampling efforts for Watershed Center PIs via sampling of aquatic macroinvertebrates, zooplankton and water samples from a variety of locations within the Central Valley.
  2. This position will contribute specialized laboratory and data analysis. Laboratory analysis of fish gut contents (identification to lowest taxonomic level for both zooplankton and macroinvertebrates), sample preparation of stomach contents, muscle tissue, otoliths and eye lenses, and field macroinvertebrate and zooplankton for isotopic analysis including removal from fish of otoliths and eye lenses. Quality Control (QC) data and enter into project databases. Analyze laboratory and field data using the R statistical programming language to understand salmon viability by analyzing collected data in the context of the Central Valley isoscape.

B. Serve as a research coordinator for eye lens and otolith isotopes projects conducted by PIs in the Center for Watershed Sciences. By using specialized expertise on eye lens and otolith isotopes, responsible for ensuring uninterrupted communication between laboratory, and data management. Project functions and project output functions including preparation of reports, posters, and participation in manuscript writing. Creative activities include assisting in project design, grant writing, proposal review and data analysis by providing to these endeavors the specialized expertise in eye lens and otolith isotopes for the PIs in the Center for Watershed Sciences. Responsible for writing grant reports for agencies on projects within the area of expertise as requested by PIs and for writing research methods sections of papers in areas of expertise and reviews/comments on manuscripts. The coordinator will be responsible for lab safety, safety training required for new hires in the lab, as well as keeping the laboratory compliant with OSHA standards.

II. Professional competence and activity (10% effort)

A. The researcher will present at and contribute to presentations of others for at least one professional meeting or workshop per year. Expected events for participation include at the American Fisheries Society regional CALNEVA annual meeting, the biennial Bay-Delta Science Conference in Sacramento and the Interagency Ecology Program Annual Workshop.
B. Where opportunities allow, the researcher will review proposals or publications related to their areas of scientific expertise and practical experience.

III. University and public service (5% effort)

A. Act as technical liaison on issues of otolith and eye lens isotopes as they relate to critical salmon rearing habitat and respond to the needs of State agencies (e.g., DWR, SWRCB, CDFW) and federal agencies (e.g., NOAA, NMFS, USFWS, USEPA), NGOs (e.g., CalTrout, TNC, and similar) and other external groups.
B. Serve on committees of department, college, campus and other University entities, as appropriate. Examples might be service on departmental and college search committees and service on Academic Federation committees.


  1. Master's degree in ecology, fisheries, hydrology, biology or related fields, or technical expertise equivalent to a Master's degree in the area of specialization or five years of training in the area of specialization.
  2. Experience working in a laboratory and/or field setting.
  3. Field experience collecting zooplankton, macroinvertebrate and water quality samples as well as eye lens and otolith removal from salmon.
  4. Experience collecting field samples wading and from boats in calm and swift-water conditions.
  5. Experience in developing isoscapes.
  6. Experience in laboratory analysis of fish gut contents.
  7. Knowledge of zooplankton and macroinvertebrate identification.
  8. Experience in removal of otoliths from fish for growth analysis.
  9. Experience using Office Software suit or comparable computer software.
  10. Knowledge of preparing of otolith, eye lens, fish tissue, macroinvertebrate, zooplankton and water samples for isotopic analysis.
  11. Knowledge of using stable isotopes as ecological tracers.
  12. Knowledge of statistical analysis using R statistical programming language.
  13. Knowledge of lab safety, lab safety training and OSHA laboratory requirements.
  14. Organizational and time management skills for serving as research coordinator.
  15. Writing skill to contribute methods sections to peer reviewed publications and to review publications and proposals within area of specialized expertise.
  16. Knowledge to contribute to creative activities including outreach, project design, grant writing, proposal review and data analysis in the areas of fish diets and growth.

Preferred Qualifications:

  1. Experience in fish eye lens removal and proper delaminating methodology of the eye lenses.
  2. Experience in preparing of otoliths, eye lens, fish tissues, macroinvertebrates, zooplankton samples and water samples for isotopic analysis.
  3. Experience using stable isotopes as ecological tracers.
  4. Experience with zooplankton and macroinvertebrate identification.
  5. Knowledge of data entry techniques, working with large data sets, and quality control during and after entry of data into databases.
  6. Experience of statistical analysis using R statistical programming language.
  7. Experience participating in collaborative writing efforts such as in preparation of manuscripts for peer review and of grant proposals.

Cover Letter
Statement of Contributions to Diversity - Diversity contributions documented in the application file will be used to evaluate applicants. Visit for guidelines about writing a diversity statement and why one is requested.
3 Reference names with contract information

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Job location

Davis, CA


Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.

  • Cover Letter

  • Statement of Research (Optional)

  • Statement of Teaching (Optional)

  • Statement of Contributions to Diversity - Diversity contributions documented in the application file will be used to evaluate applicants. Visit for guidelines about writing a diversity statement and why one is requested.

Reference requirements
  • 3-5 required (contact information only)