Granite Mountains UCR Natural Reserve (c) Mark Chappell

Employment Opportunities



Assistant Specialist in Desert Conservation Biology

The Center for Conservation Biology at the University of California Riverside’s Palm Desert Center invites applicants for a full-time Assistant Specialist position in Desert Conservation Biology with an emphasis on Entomology.  This position will require successful candidates to develop and implement a wide variety of field monitoring protocols for protected/rare organisms and habitats throughout the Colorado and Mojave Deserts of California.  A valid Driver License is required. Candidates will also work in a laboratory setting processing plant and insect specimens, managing and analyzing data, and writing reports and publications.

Required qualifications at the time of application for this position include:

  1. Experience with a variety of insect collecting techniques, including pitfall trapping, malaise trapping, sweep netting, and hand collection.
  2. Expertise in the identification of desert insects, especially ants and tenebrionid beetles, as well as annual and perennial plants.
  3. Proficiency with laboratory tasks such as insect and plant identification, microscope use, and museum-quality specimen curation.
  4. Experience working with and developing monitoring protocols for insects, plants, vertebrates, and birds, including protected/rare species, as well as familiarity with operating required equipment/instruments.
  5. Experience staging and leading multiple field crews simultaneously.
  6. Able to spend hours/days in harsh desert conditions (high temperature, cold, aridity, sun exposure, high wind, stinging plants and animals) performing strenuous physical tasks such as off-trail hiking and carrying heavy packs and equipment.
  7. Experience performing field work on military installations, including radio communication, navigation, range safety, and UXO safety.
  8. Must be able to pass a background check as a requirement for becoming a certified government contractor.
  9. Ability to navigate to and from field sites using GPS devices and create geospatial files and maps using GIS software.
  10. Certified in CPR and wilderness first aid and familiar with standard field safety protocols, especially for working in hazardous desert conditions.
  11. Experience using R programming language and relevant packages, such as vegan and ggplot2, for data management and statistical analyses.
  12. Experience writing reports and peer-reviewed publications.

An additional qualification that is required at the time of hire is a master’s degree (or equivalent degree) in Entomology or a related field, or five years of experience demonstrating expertise in the relevant specialization.

Preferred qualifications for this position include:

  1. Office management skills including supply procurement and volunteer registration.
  2. Ability to use computer programs such as ArcMap, Survey123, Avenza, Microsoft Office products.
  3. Experience with safe operation of 4x4 vehicles in remote areas.
  4. Familiarity with more advanced laboratory procedures, such as DNA extraction, PCR, and extraction of water from plant tissue for isotope analyses.
  5. Ability to train new employees and volunteers.
  6. Experience with automontage imaging systems.

Advancement through the Specialist ranks at the University of California is through a series of structured, merit-based evaluations, occurring every 2-3 years, each of which includes substantial peer input.

To apply: submit your Curriculum Vitae, a Statement of Past and/or Planned Future Contributions to Advancing Diversity and Inclusive Excellence and contact information for three references to  Review of applications will commence on October 11, 2021 and proceed until position is filled.  For full consideration, applicants should submit their complete applications prior to the above date.

For more information about this position, please contact Dr. Cameron Barrows, Chair of the Search Committee, at, or Dr. Lynn Sweet, at  For questions on application procedures and requirements, please contact Ms. Mary Stuart, Academic Personnel, at

UCR is a world-class research university with an exceptionally diverse undergraduate student body. Its mission is explicitly linked to providing routes to educational success for underrepresented and first-generation college students. A commitment to this mission is a preferred qualification.

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, age, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.



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