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Conservation Research Scientist 

Category Science/Conservation  
Position Conservation Research Scientist  
Full-Time/Part-Time Full-Time  
Exempt/Non-Exempt Exempt  
Compensation Compensation: $50,000 - $55,000 DOE. Comprehensive benefit package currently includes medical, dental, vision, life and LTD insurance, FSA, HRA, 403(b) retirement plan, paid holidays, personal business, sick leave and vacation.  

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a world-renowned zoo, botanical garden, natural history museum and art institute, with a long history of basic and applied research in support of Sonoran Desert conservation. The Conservation Research Scientist position provides the opportunity for an excellent scientist to use their expertise and passion to make a difference on the ground for Sonoran Desert protection, while also contributing new knowledge and understanding to their field. Broadly trained ecologists, natural resource managers or conservation biologists from a variety of subspecialties with an interest in collaborating on current Museum projects are invited to apply.

Job Title: Conservation Research Scientist
Department: Conservation Education & Science
Reports To: Conservation Science Manager
Salary: $50,000 - $55,000 D.O.E.

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum has played a crucial role in developing and disseminating the foundational knowledge of Sonoran Desert natural history. Over its history, it has also contributed to significant conservation efforts, including: endangered species recovery plans; establishing protected areas; Pima County’s Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan; documenting the needs and ecosystem services of migratory pollinators; and founding the Southern Arizona Buffelgrass Coordination Center and later the Sonoran Desert Cooperative Weed Management Area. As a highly-respected institution known for translating science for general audiences, the Museum has often filled a niche of catalyst, helping to gather critical data, connect conservationists across cultural and political borders, translate science for decision-makers, and tell inspiring conservation stories.

The Conservation Research Scientist will be a key member of a small, collaborative conservation science team. Their research will contribute to team priorities, and help to shape these priorities into the future. Desert Museum conservation and research priorities respond to community needs and funding opportunities and are developed in consultation with partner organizations and community members. In addition to scientific research, the Conservation Research Scientist will manage conservation efforts (consulting with communities, coordinating with partner agencies, managing grants, volunteers or contractors), and interpret science and conservation for the public in talks and writing. An average time allocation will be about 30% research, 50% management and coordination, and 20% public education. They will identify and secure resources to catalyze and elevate conservation and science efforts.

Current research and conservation areas of focus at the Museum are invasive species (especially buffelgrass), pollinator ecology (especially native bees), arid-adapted agriculture, and endangered aquatic species management. An overview of current efforts can be found here. Applications are welcomed from ecologists, natural resource managers, and conservation biologists from any subspecialty who have interest in collaborating on these topics.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities include the following. Other duties may be assigned.

  • Research
    • Maintains an active problem-driven research program that embraces both modeling and empirical approaches
    • Contributes to conservation science by publishing in the peer-reviewed literature.
    • Collaborates with colleagues to build robust partnerships that have the critical mass to “move the needle” on a conservation issue.

  • Conservation Coordination and Fundraising
    • Fosters and maintains collaborations among community members, scientists, land managers, conservationists and other professionals and organizations that advance Sonoran Desert conservation, working in Mexico and/or the US.
    • Strategically chooses conservation efforts in which the Museum can play a catalytic role, helping to move the programs to the next level.
    • Works with Museum colleagues to develop and implement short-term and long-term funding strategies through a combination of public and private grants. It is expected that the Conservation Research Scientist help to raise an average of 25% of their salary each year, as well as funding for other staff, interns and field work.

  • Public Outreach
    • Builds capacity for conservation via activities such as:
      • Providing training opportunities for students and young professionals on both sides of the US-Mexico border.
      • Engaging the general public via community science and volunteer opportunities, public presentations and writing for digital and printed media.
      • Teaching public programs and providing training to Museum staff and volunteers, including teen and college interns.
    • Provides guidance and answers questions in the area of Sonoran Desert science and conservation from ASDM staff, docents, volunteers, and the public on both sides of the border.
    • Contributes to the scientific accuracy of ASDM interpretive and educational programs, and publications.

Supervisory Responsibilities
This job has no staff supervisory responsibilities. They may supervise volunteers and interns.


Please Note: This position was opened on July 23, 2021 and does not have a closing date. It is considered open until filled; however, application review will begin immediately. Please understand that if offered a position, you will, as a final condition of employment, be required to successfully complete a pre-employment drug screen and provide a satisfactory driver's history report. (Arizona 39-month DMV report or out-of-state equivalent).


Position Requirements

Education and/or Experience

  • Doctoral degree (Ph.D.) in ecology or natural resource management or closely related field, or a Master’s degree and equivalent experience.
  • A minimum of five years experience in research and conservation of the Sonoran Desert Region.
  • Grant writing experience (minimum of two grants).
  • A minimum of two years experience working with and/or coordination of diverse stakeholders and partners.
  • A minimum of three papers published or in press in peer-reviewed science journals.

Language Skills
Ability to read, analyze, and interpret the most complex documents. Ability to respond effectively to the most sensitive inquiries or complaints. Ability to write speeches and articles using original or innovative techniques or style. Ability to make effective and persuasive speeches and presentations on controversial or complex topics to top management, public groups, and/or boards of directors. Working knowledge of Spanish a plus.

Mathematical Skills
Ability to apply advanced mathematical concepts such as exponents, logarithms, quadratic equations, and permutations. Ability to apply mathematical operations to such tasks as frequency distribution, determination of test reliability and validity, analysis of variance, correlation techniques, sampling theory, and factor analysis.

Reasoning Ability
Ability to apply principles of logical or scientific thinking to a wide range of intellectual and practical problems. Ability to deal with nonverbal symbolism (formulas, scientific equations, graphs, musical notes, etc.,) in its most difficult phases. Ability to deal with a variety of abstract and concrete variables.

Computer Skills
To perform this position successfully, an individual should have knowledge of database, Internet, spreadsheet and word processing software as well as knowledge of data management that ensures data transparency and encourages public data sharing, and programing languages for organizing and analyzing data (e.g., R, python). GIS is a plus.

Certificates, Licenses, Registrations

  • Ability to obtain an Arizona Driver’s License
  • Must be eligible to work in the U.S.

Other Skills and Abilities

  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Ability to travel throughout the region
  • Spanish is a plus

Physical Demands
The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this position, the employee is regularly required to use hands to finger, handle, or feel; reach with hands and arms and talk or hear. The employee is frequently required to walk; sit; climb or balance and stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl. The employee is occasionally required to stand for long periods. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 50 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, peripheral vision, depth perception and ability to adjust focus.

Work Environment
The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this position, the employee is frequently exposed to outside weather conditions. The employee is occasionally exposed to wet and/or humid conditions; moving mechanical parts and high, precarious places. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.

The above position description reflects a general overview of the responsibilities, reporting relationships and position requirements for this job classification. It is not intended to be a complete description of all duties and requirements that may be inherent in the position.

VERSION: 7.20.21

Open Date 7/23/2021  

This position is currently not accepting applications.

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