Research Assistant in Plant and Animal Ecology - USA

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3 year grant funded position


The Research Assistant (RA) will have day-to-day responsibility to perform and coordinate a broad range of field research on

  • The pitcher-plant Sarracenia purpurea and its insect associates (especially moths and ants) and
  • Ants in eastern hemlock forests. The position involves laboratory, greenhouse, and field work in local wetlands and forests, data entry, and some data processing.

    The RA will be required to make independent assessments of data quality and experimental results, and will work with the principal investigator (PI) to design future studies and experiments.

    This is a 3-year, grant-funded position.


    Coordinate comprehensive projects on:

  • The spatial dynamics of, and interactions among, ants (prey), pitcher plants (predator), and moths (herbivore); and
  • The relationship between ants and soil ecosystem dynamics in hemlock forests.

    Collaborate with the PI on design, implementation, and execution of experiments and laboratory protocols, including: sample preparation; collection, identification, and manipulation of insect assemblages; analysis of nutrients in water, and plant and animal tissues; and measurements of soil ecosystem properties.

    Organize and summarize data and associated metadata, using spreadsheet, word-processing, and statistical software.

    Will oversee, train, and supervise the work of summer undergraduate assistants.

    Will work with other RAs to maintain laboratory and greenhouse facilities, including: regular watering and weeding of experimental plants; maintenance and upkeep of equipment; ordering supplies.

    Will have opportunities to work on manuscripts with the PI.


    B.A./B.S. with at least two years related work-experience in biology, ecology, or entomology.

    Enjoy field work. Demonstrated knowledge and experience with basic laboratory techniques and equipment used for nutrient/chemical analyses.

    Facility with standard software, including word-processors, spreadsheets, and statistical packages. Good written and oral communication skills

    Working conditions:

    Will be required to lift, move, and transport research equipment (not more than 75 lbs). Will be required to drive to field sites. Will be required to work with and handle soil, plants, and invertebrate animals (ants, moth larvae).

    Will be exposed to laboratory chemicals of low-to-moderate hazard (alcohol and other solvents).

    To Apply

    Please apply on-line at with your cover letter and resume at at Requestion # 29150.

    Three letters of recommendation are required and must be mailed to: Personnel, Harvard Forest, 324 North Main Street, Petersham, MA 01366 or sent electronically to hfapps [at]

    Harvard Forest

    Harvard Forest, an internationally recognized center for basic research in forest ecology, is one of 26 Long Term Ecological Research sites across the country sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

    The Forest facilities include a research and administrative complex, 3000 acres of land, and residential buildings.

    Petersham is a small rural town in north central Massachusetts.

    For more information about the forest, visit: Research Assistant in Plant and Animal Ecology - USA

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