Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bayou Land Conservancy seeking Biology students for Summer Internship

Position: Biology Intern
Posted: August 30, 2012
Application Deadline: Sept. 12, 2012
Location: 10330 Lake Rd. Bldg. J  Houston, Tx 77070 (NW Harris Co. - 249 and Louetta)
Contact: Jennifer Lorenz, Executive Director
Phone: 281-576-1634

Bayou Land Conservancy is a community-sponsored land preservation organization working with willing landowners to permanently protect land in the greater Houston region. We preserve river and bayou corridors, other properties with significant wildlife habitat value and places where family recreation can occur in harmony with nature. Our "No Child Left Inside" education program connects tomorrow's conservation leaders with nature today. Bayou Land Conservancy is proud to have conserved over 8,500 acres in the Houston area.

We are seeking two (2) high-energy individuals to temporarily join our team to work with us this summer. We are looking for current or recently graduated college biology students with an ecology focus who want to gain real-world experience by assisting one of the most successful conservation organizations in Texas.  This position, while unpaid, will provide winning applicants with not only background for your resume, but also a positive reference (where earned) to prospective employers. We might also be able to provide you with college credit hours (check with your current professors as we are currently approved for University of Houston Law School and actively working on other college system approvals). Hours will be flexible, but 12 hour min. required per week for min. 8 week internship.

Desired skills:
·                  Evident interest in and passion for conservation
·                  Ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously
·                  Course work and experience in GIS (ArcGIS on your computer a plus!)
·                  Knowledge of local ecology

Your skills and knowledge (and muscles) will be enlisted to potentially:
·                  work with crews on trail work days on our fabulous public preserves
·                  assist with flora/fauna inventories with our team of expert biologists
·                  meet with public and private landowners on annual monitoring surveys

Please submit a resume with two references and cover letter and a one-page summary of your local ecology knowledge (including your experience with flora/fauna identification / ecological processes / and watershed knowledge) before or by Sept.12th, 2012.  We look forward to your joining our current legal and biology interns!  A number of our previous interns are now gainfully employed! 

Monday, August 27, 2012

The northernmost mangrove and other sights from Florida

Carolyn and I went to the east coast of Florida to visit with mangrove ecologist Dr. Candy Feller from the Smithsonian. Our goals were to explore the marsh-mangrove ecotone on the Florida coast, compare it to the ecotone on the Texas coast, and brainstorm proposal ideas. It was a rainy day, but Carolyn and I trekked out into the marsh at the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve near St Augustine, FL, to look for the northernmost black mangroves (Avicennia germinans), and we found them! There were just a few scattered dwarf mangroves in a sea of Spartina alterniflora and Batis maritima.

The transition from a marsh-dominated to a mangrove-dominated coastline happened quickly - 16 miles south, the black mangroves were substantially denser. Image from the Vilano boat ramp, St Augustine, FL.

And then, about 50 miles south, near Fort Pierce, FL, the mangrove assemblage was much more robust - denser, taller, and more diverse. The marsh vegetation was also much taller!

One unusual sight was these "albino" red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) propagules. The yellow color indicates a loss of chlorophyll, possibly due to exposure to oil or other pollutants. Not all trees seemed equally susceptible, since not all neighboring trees had albino propagules.

Did you think that prop roots occurred only in red mangroves? And that white mangroves (Laguncularia racemosa) occurred only at higher, drier elevations? That's what conventional Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico mangrove knowledge says, but nope. This is a picture of Laguncularia with prop roots growing in an continuously inundated pond. Image from Merritt Island, Florida. 

A neat sight that doesn't really have anything to do with mangroves: a pair of great horned owls near Fort Matanzas National Monument.

Biologist position with the USGS Southeast Ecological Science Center

See for more details, but hurry! Job posting closes August 31, 2012.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

From the Scientific American blog: The PhD’s Guide to Academic Conferences

Good advice for first-time (and beyond) conference goers!

Coastal Fisheries Hatchery Technician position available

Position Title: Coastal Fisheries Hatchery Technician I-II (please note: listed on TPWD Jobs website as “Fish & Wildlife Technician I-II”)
Agency: Coastal Fisheries Division, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD)
Job Location: Sea Center Texas, Lake Jackson, TX
Responsibilities: Under the supervision of TPWD’s Coastal Fisheries Sea Center Texas Hatchery Manager, this position is responsible for fish hatchery technician work in the area of stock enhancement.  Assists Hatchery Manager in the propagation and distribution of marine finfish throughout the coastal waters of Texas.  Duties include collecting, tabulating and entry of hatchery records, fish culture operations and stock enhancement program work.  Maintains records on fish pond densities, physical conditions and rate of utilization.  Performs maintenance work, and operates equipment and the use of small hand tools.  May provide training to less tenured technicians, assign and/or schedule the work of other team members and provide technical guidance.  Performs additional duties as assigned.  Complies with all Agency, Division and Branch rules, regulations and procedures.  NOTE: 10% travel required. 
Working Conditions: (1) Required to work hours other than 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with days off other than Saturday, Sunday and holidays; (2) Required to adjust to changing schedules; (3) Required to work overtime as necessary; (4) Required to travel with possible overnight stays; (5) Required to perform work outdoors, occasionally in adverse weather conditions; (6) Required to perform work in water-based field activities, including work aboard seagoing vessels; (7) Required to perform manual labor including lifting supplies and materials up to 50 lbs.; (8) Non-smoking environment in State buildings and vehicles; (9) Required to respond to emergencies and on-call situations; (10) Required to perform physical work in heat-enclosed spaces, heights, noise, dust and fumes, given proper safety precautions and equipment; (11) Required to operate a State vehicle.
Minimum Qualifications:

·         Education: Graduation from High School or GED. Acceptable Substitution: Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Bachelor's, Master’s or PhD degree in Fisheries Biology, Marine Biology or closely related field may substitute for two years of required experience.

·         Experience: Fish and Wildlife Technician I: No experience required. Fish and Wildlife Technician II: Four years relevant experience.

·         License/Certifications: Must possess or be able to obtain, within 30 days of employment, a valid Class "C" Texas driver's license. NOTE: Retention of position contingent upon obtaining and maintaining license. 
SalaryKnowledge, Skills and AbilitiesHow to ApplyAdditional Requirements and full details on this position may be found at and click on “Job # 12-00-632; Location – Lake Jackson, Texas”
Please note:
·         Skills test may be requested at time of interview. For complete list of additional requirements, please see “Additional Requirements” at url listed immediately above.     
Closing Date5PM CDT August 24, 2012. State of Texas Application for Employment + required forms to apply at   
Questions?: Mr. Shane Bonnot at

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sea Grant Research Assistant Position Announcement

Texas Sea Grant is hiring a research assistant in College Station, TX. Candidates with a bachelor's degree or higher in a science field are eligible to apply. Go to and search for NOV# 121666 for more details.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Postdoc in Integrative Biology at UT Austin

The Section of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas at Austin invites applications for a Postdoctoral Fellow in Integrative Biology. This subject area is broadly defined to include evolution, ecology, and behavior. The Fellow will be expected to conduct an independent high-quality research program in collaboration with at least two faculty in the Section. For information about the Section of Integrative Biology at UT and its faculty, visit .  In addition, one semester per year the Fellow will co-teach an undergraduate course on Research Methods, as part of the UTeach program for training K-12  science teachers. For information about the UTeach program, visit
The position is for two years, subject to annual review. The Fellow is requested to start work at the University of Texas no later than August 2013. There is an annual salary of $40,000 with an additional $10,000 per year in research support for travel, equipment, or supplies.
Applicants should electronically submit a single pdf file containing the following, in order:
1) Coverletter, including mention of the proposed faculty sponsors (max 1 page). Candidates are advised contact potential faculty sponsors prior to applying, to gauge the level of mutual interest.
2) CV
3) Statement of research accomplishments (maximum 2 pages).
4) Statement describing the candidate's proposed research for the duration of this postdoctoral position (maximum 2 pages).
5) Statement describing the candidate's teaching experience and philosophy (maximum 2 pages)
6) Copies of 2 publications
7) List of three references, with contact information (email, telephone, and mailing address). We will request letters directly from these references, after identifying top candidates.

The application pdf file should be emailed to, with a subject line "IB Postdoc Application: ". Applications must be received by January 11, 2013. For questions about this position, please send an email to, or contact a prospective faculty mentor in the department.
We encourage applications from candidates that have recently completed, or will soon complete, their Ph.D.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Advice for grad students and post docs seeking tenure track positions

I came across this blog today, and although it is a little bit depressing (there are only so many tenure-track positions to go around!), I think there is good advice within. In particular, note that every single postdoc interviewed for the blog stressed the importance of publications and perseverance.

This blog also led me to the following two articles with advice for graduate school and beyond. The second is much less cynical than the first, but they both contain good advice and food for thought. I especially like Huey's assertion (in the second article) that "Contrary to widespread opinion, writing and publishing can be fun. More important, the process of writing is a positive learning experience - my understanding of my own research is invariably enhanced while developing a paper or grant proposal." Sure, writing is hard work, but in the end, it gives your research context and meaning for an audience beyond your graduate committee.

I am often asked, how did I end up in a tenure-track position? Of course, there were many contributing factors. But, I can highlight two key points: (1) I was no superstar, but I had a respectable publication list (about 10) from my PhD and postdoc. (2) The job was just the right fit - my research experiences meant I could teach the specialty upper division classes that needed to be taught, and I could perform research in a relevant field that complimented the research interests of other faculty. I didn't find that "perfect fit" right away, but kept looking anyway. So, the blogs above were right: (1) publications and (2) perseverance got me to where I am today.