[ES_JOBS_NET] Research technician position in aquatic ecology at East Carolina University

Asch, Rebecca G ASCHR16 at ECU.EDU
Fri Dec 15 15:36:26 MST 2017

Research Technician Position in the Department of Biology at East Carolina University

Position description and key responsibilities: The Asch Fisheries Oceanography Lab at East
Carolina University (located in Greenville, NC; http://www.ecu.edu/cscas/
biology/Rebecca_Asch.cfm) is seeking to hire a research technician for a full-time,
temporary position. Our lab is partnering with the Beaufort, North Carolina branch of the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in order to expand the Beaufort
Inlet Ichthyoplankton Sampling Program (BIISP). BIISP has been collecting weekly
ichthyoplankton samples at Beaufort Inlet during fall through spring months since the year 1987,
making it the longest continuously operating ichthyoplankton time series on the east coast of the
U.S. The goal of this program is to measure estuarine ingress of larval fish species that spawn
offshore but utilize estuarine habitats during the fish’s juvenile life history stage. This time
series has the potential to provide valuable information on how local fish communities are
responding to climate variability and climate change. The Asch Fisheries Oceanography lab is
investigating this question by examining variations in the seasonal timing of larval fish ingress
and changes in species composition as a function of a number of climatic and ecological
variables. We plan to expand upon the BIISP time series by lengthening the duration of the
sampling season so that it is year round, collecting weekly mesozooplankton samples, and
conducting YSI profiles of temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, pH, and fluorescence.

We seek a technician to assist our lab with this work. The technician’s responsibilities will
initially focus on analyzing the mesozooplankton samples using a ZooScan system
(http://www.hydroptic.com/zooscan.html). A ZooScan consists of a flatbed scanner that is used
to electronically scan size-fractionated zooplankton samples. ZooProcess software is then used
to semi-automatically identify species in the sample using a machine learning algorithm adapted
to local ecological conditions. The technician will be in charge of scanning samples, working
with ZooProcess to train the machine learning algorithm, and verifying classification accuracy
once the algorithm has been trained.

Beginning during spring 2018 and together with other members of the Asch lab, the technician
will also be responsible for traveling to Beaufort once a week, collecting the enhanced BIISP
samples, and recording and transcribing YSI water quality measurements. Since larval fish are
capable of avoiding capture by plankton nets during the day, all sampling will be conducted at
night and will be timed to coincide with tidal fluctuations. The technician will also be in charge
of sorting and identifying larval and juvenile fishes in 2-4 ichthyoplankton samples collected
each week that represent additional sampling beyond the standard BIISP routine.

Lastly, it is expected that this technician will take on some duties associated with lab
management including training undergraduate and graduate students in lab protocols, helping to
order lab supplies, assuring compliance with lab safety regulations, and maintaining the lab in
clean and functioning order. The successful technician will potentially be encouraged to take on
additional roles associated with statistical analysis of data, preparation of manuscripts for
publication, and the presentation of results at scientific conferences.

This will initially be a one-year position, with the potential for renewal contingent upon
satisfactory performance and available funding. There will be a two-month probationary period
associated with this hire.

Minimum qualifications:
• B.S. degree in marine science, biology, ecology, oceanography, natural resource
management, or similar fields. Must have taken at least introductory coursework in
marine ecology.
• Some experience working in an ecology lab and using a dissecting microscope.
• Ability to drive state owned vehicles, conduct ecological fieldwork in wet and
occasionally uncomfortable conditions at night-time, and carry field equipment weighing
up to ~30 lbs.
• Independent self-starter who is exciting to learn new skills and has the ability to problem
shoot technical challenges.
• Occasionally travel overnight to receive technical training or attend scientific

Preferred qualifications:
• Masters of science degree in marine science, biology, ecology, oceanography, natural
resource management, or similar fields.
• 1-2 years of experience at the post-baccalaureate level working in a lab focused on
conducting marine ecological research.
• Previous experience operating a ZooScan and collecting and processing ichthyoplankton
and zooplankton samples in marine and estuarine environments. Experience with
identification of ichthyoplankton and zooplankton species, especially those found in the
Southeast U.S.
• Experience analyzing data and writing computer programs with MATLAB or R.
Experience with multivariate ecological statistics.
• Written and published scientific manuscripts and presented scientific results at

Application instructions: Applications for this position are to be completed online, with full
instructions available at the following URL: https://ecu.peopleadmin.com/postings/11157.
Please contact Rebecca Asch (aschr16 at ecu.edu<mailto:aschr16 at ecu.edu>) regarding any questions that you may have
about this posting. There is an initial January 4, 2018 deadline for applications, but we anticipate
that this position will remain open until filled.

Dr. Rebecca G. Asch
Assistant Professor of Fisheries Biology

East Carolina University
Department of Biology, Mail Stop 551
Howell Science Complex, Office S408
1000 East 5th Street
Greenville, NC 27858

Office phone: +1 252 328-6307
Email: aschr16 at ecu.edu<mailto:aschr16 at ecu.edu>
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