Junior Specialist Position Description in the Hodson Lab Department of Entomology and Nematology, UC Davis
NATURE AND PURPOSE The position of Specialist has a narrow focus in a specialized area and provides technical or specialized expertise (e.g., with instrumentation and research equipment or with social science research methods) in the planning and execution of a research project. The Specialist stays apprised of emerging issues and problems and maintains technical competence in the designated area(s) of specialization. Within this defined area and when appropriate, the Specialist is expected to provide mentorship, facilitate teamwork and develop collaborative relationships with colleagues and to supply input into the planning of research and educational programs. Normally, Specialists do not have Principal Investigator (PI) status but may obtain permission by exception and/or collaborate with a PI in preparing research proposals for extramural funding. The Specialist is evaluated for merit and promotion using three basic criteria outlined below. Overview: We seek to hire a Junior Specialist, to conduct research in soil ecology, focusing on nematode and microarthropod communities in crops including olives, almonds, walnuts and tomato. The Junior Specialist will assist the principal investigator PI and the Laboratory assistant in collaborative research conducting field, greenhouse and laboratory experiments as part of ongoing research on sustainable pest management and improving soil health. Primary duties will involve co-designing field and greenhouse experiments; executing field experiments; purchasing and preparing field supplies; receiving and logging soil samples; identifying nematodes and microarthropods; entering data into spreadsheets and archiving paper data forms; and mentoring undergraduate assistants. Preferred qualifications include prior experience extracting and identifying soil organisms including mites, nematodes and collembola.
MAJOR RESPONSIBILITIES AND DESIGNATED AREAS OF EXPERTISE
Research (90%): The incumbent of this position will be actively and significantly involved in publishable research activities through the following roles and duties:
Assist the PI by identifying nematodes using molecular and microscopic tools as part of larger projects characterizing nematodes' role in soil organic matter formation, as well as new ways to control nematode pests.
Calculate indices of ecosystem function based on nematode abundances. Prepare and organize datasummaries, sample receiving logs. Regularly notify agricultural commissioner of pest nematodes identified and ensuring permitting safety requirements are being met.
Assist the PI in designing and executing field experiments. These will include greenhouse, field and laboratory experiments and will involve occasional travel to field sites up to 2 hours away. Mentor teams of undergraduates on field expeditions.
Assist the PI in manuscript preparation, including but not limited to: preparing tables and figures, statistically analyzing data, reading scholarly literature, writing methods and results sections, and revising manuscripts.
Professional competence (5%):
The incumbent will present research at local stakeholder meetings as well as national nematology or soil ecology meetings. Presentations will be delivered in poster and oral presentation formats.
The incumbent will be encouraged to participate in weekly lab meetings, and to attend weekly seminars in the Department of Entomology and Nematology.
The incumbent will be encouraged to have membership in the Ecological Society of America and Entomological Society of America.
University and Public Service (5%):
As a component of university service, the incumbent will also be available to serve on one or more departmental committees as suggested by department administration.
As a public service, the incumbent will also be encouraged to provide research updates at public events such as those held by UC Cooperative Extension.
UC Davis is the home of the Aggies — go-getters, change makers and problem solvers who make their mark at one of the top public universities in the United States. Since we first opened in 1908, we’ve been known for standout academics, sustainability and Aggie Pride as well as valuing the Northern California lifestyle. These themes are woven into our 100-plus-year history and our reputation for solving problems related to food, health, the environment and society.Our 5,300-acre campus is in the city of Davis, a vibrant college town of about 68,000 located in Yolo County. The state capital is 20 minutes away, and world-class destinations such as the San Francisco Bay Area, Lake Tahoe and the Napa Valley are within a two-hour drive.