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Forest Ecology Research Specialist

Position overview

Position title: Forest Ecology Research Specialist (Junior and Assistant Specialist Ranks)
Salary range: Commensurate with qualifications and experience (see section D. Qualifications of the CAPM 602.230 Specialist Series The posted). UCSC Salary Scales set the minimum pay determined by rank and step at appointment. See the scale titled, Represented Specialist Series Fiscal Year. “Off-scale salaries”, i.e., a salary that is higher than the published system-wide salary at the designated rank and step, are offered when necessary to meet competitive conditions. A reasonable estimate for this position is $51,300 - $62,500.
Percent time: Full-time (100%)
Anticipated start: As soon as possible after the initial review of applications.
Position duration: Initial appointment will be for one year, with the possibility of reappointment. Should the hiring unit propose reappointment; a review to assess performance will be conducted. Reappointment is also contingent upon the availability of funding.

Application Window

Open date: December 5, 2023

Most recent review date: Friday, Mar 15, 2024 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications received after this date will be reviewed by the search committee if the position has not yet been filled.

Final date: Wednesday, Dec 4, 2024 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.

Position description

The Forest Fear Lab in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) invites applications for a Forest Ecology Research Specialist. Under the direction of Assistant Professor Ari Martinez, the research specialist will assist with data collection, analyze large datasets with scientific computing, develop machine learning pipelines, maintain and promote open science practices, support research group administration, and assist with maintaining a collaborative and supportive research environment for all members.

In the Forest Fear Lab, we use field observations and experiments, phylogenetic approaches, and existing databases to study behavioral phenomena and their linkages to community ecology, using local and international field sites. Much of our research is focused on mixed-species groups and their accompanying eavesdropping networks in forest and urban environments, with international (primarily Latin America) and regional field sites in California. We offer a dynamic and collaborative work environment, involvement in a wide range of research projects, extensive learning and professional development, and many opportunities for co-authorship on scientific manuscripts. We value a healthy work-life balance and pursue actively inclusive and anti-racist practices.

The work environment will primarily be a field lab on the beautiful Coastal Science Campus at UCSC within a short walk of the ocean and easy access to mountains and open space. The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) offers a diverse, exciting, and supportive environment for learning and research.

Fieldwork will be frequent and will involve hiking; lifting up to 30 pounds, with or without accommodation; and it will include diverse, remote, physically challenging environments, which may involve international travel. Sample collection will involve extended outdoor field work at biological field stations and when necessary, camping at adjacent state parks.

Responsibilities will include the following duties: lab management, which includes ordering lab materials, maintaining budgets, and ensuring lab safety compliance; train and oversee student research assistants; establish and maintain local field sites; oversee data collection through the implementation of field experiments and observational protocols; utilize various sampling techniques (primarily with birds); maintain databases, analyze data sets, and assist in developing machine learning assisted pipelines for processing acoustic data.

The position will require the selected candidate consistently demonstrate excellent communication (written and verbal) and organizational skills; ability to successfully work independently; and a commitment to open science practices.

The hiring unit will not sponsor employment-eligible immigration statuses for this position.

The Forest Fear Lab:

The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology:


Basic qualifications (required at time of application)
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher (or equivalent foreign degree) in behavioral ecology, community ecology, or a related scientific field.
  • Experience collecting observational and/or experimental behavioral data in the field of passerine birds/mammals.
  • Experience with R (programming language).

Application Requirements

Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V., which must include a list of publications (if any) and three professional references along with their contact information. The search committee will contact the references of those applicants who are under serious consideration.

  • Cover Letter - A letter that summarizes your qualifications (previous research experience and relevant skills) and interest in the position.

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About UC Santa Cruz

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status. UC Santa Cruz is committed to excellence through diversity and strives to establish a climate that welcomes, celebrates, and promotes respect for the contributions of all students and employees. Inquiries regarding the University’s equal employment opportunity policies may be directed to the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 or by phone at (831) 459-2686.

Under Federal law, the University of California may employ only individuals who are legally able to work in the United States as established by providing documents as specified in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Certain UCSC positions funded by federal contracts or sub-contracts require the selected candidate to pass an E-Verify check (see The university sponsors employment-based visas for nonresidents who are offered academic appointments at UC Santa Cruz (see

UCSC is a smoke & tobacco-free campus.

If you need accommodation due to a disability, please contact Disability Management Services at (831) 459-4602.

UCSC is committed to addressing the spousal and partner employment needs of our candidates and employees. As part of this commitment, our institution is a member of the Northern California Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (NorCal HERC). Visit the NorCal HERC website at to search for open positions within a commutable distance of our institution.

The University of California offers a competitive benefits package and a number of programs to support employee work/life balance. For information about employee benefits please visit

As a University employee, you will be required to comply with all applicable University policies and/or collective bargaining agreements, as may be amended from time to time. Federal, state, or local government directives may impose additional requirements.

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Job location

Santa Cruz, California