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Coastal Ecology Research Technician


The Coastal Ecology Research Technician will primarily focus on research areas including coastal ecosystems, salt marsh wetland ecology, dune ecology, coastal resilience, oyster reef monitoring, water quality and hydrology monitoring and living shoreline restoration. The Research Technician will participate in a wide range of field work, including but not limited to nearshore oyster reef monitoring and water quality sampling, salt marsh health monitoring including estuarine vegetation ID, hydrology and soils, RTK GPS elevation monitoring, and dune restoration monitoring. Additionally, the Research Technician maybe be asked to participate in additional Science and Stewardship Department field work related to vegetation community surveys and wildlife ecology work. The Research Technician will participate in office work including data quality control, data summarization, project report writing, GIS data management with opportunities for presentations and public outreach education as needed and interest exists. Potential exists for independent research projects. Successful candidates should be capable of working very independently and as part of a diverse team.

The Coastal Ecology Research Technician should have a strong interest in coastal ecology and extensive experience working independently in the field and maintaining field equipment. The Technician will support the goals and objectives of the Coastal Ecology Program of NCF’s Department of Science and Stewardship. The Department of Science and Stewardship hosts Ecology Programs focused on Wildlife, Botany and Coastal areas with the extensive collaboration and the potential to work with and learn from a diverse ecology team.

For more information on NCF’s mission and current research projects, please see the Foundation’s website and read our Science Blog.

Primary Responsibilities:
  • Support the objectives of the Coastal Ecology Program through collaborative and independent field and office research work.
  • Conduct baseline salt marsh health surveys including salt marsh community vegetation monitoring, hydrology, soils, and elevation across all Foundation properties.
  • Conduct beach profile transects along dunes and dynamic beaches across the Foundation’s properties throughout the year.
  • Deploy and maintain data collection loggers associated with a variety of projects including water level loggers, DO meters, tilt meters, and water flow meters in salt and freshwater habitats.
  • Use RTK GPS technology to monitor detailed elevation profiles within all salt marshes across Foundation properties.
  • Collect samples for water quality analysis at wetland restoration and oyster reef sites following protocols on a seasonal and/or monthly basis.
  • Participate in field work to monitor existing coastal restoration projects including beach-dune stabilization plantings, salt marsh dieback restoration, fringing salt marsh vegetation plantings, oyster reef health etc.
  • In the office, perform data quality control and entry, data summary and basic data analysis.
  • With the Director of Research, create project summary reports and participate in publication and presentation creation as needed.
  • Organize and manage GIS database related to the Coastal Ecology Program.
  • Conduct and organize literature searches relevant to current salt marsh, coastal resilience and living shoreline research.
  • Potentially assist with design of new salt marsh and/or dune restoration projects. Assistance could include project design, planning monitoring and applying for permitting.
  • As necessary, assist in field work related to projects in the Wildlife Ecology Program and the Botany/Plant Ecology Program during the primary field season.
  • Occasional participation in environmental education and interpretive events as well as assisting with random tasks related to development and/or fundraising activities as needed.


Required Qualifications: Experience and Education: At least a B.S. or B.A. in Ecology, Botany, Wetland Ecology, Coastal Ecology, Natural Resource Management, Environmental Science, or a related biological/ecological field. Two years of progressively responsible experience in field research including data analysis and report writing. Graduate study in the field may be substituted for required experience. Extensive experience using GPS data collection. Experience with salt marsh ecology field sampling. Strong observational, critical thinking and organizational skills are essential, as is the ability to accurately collect data and record field notes. Individuals must be able to work both independently and as a member of a team. A valid driver’s license is required.

Desired Qualifications: Experience in vegetation community monitoring techniques and ecological field data collection. Experience in experimental design and field work, working knowledge of community and ecosystem ecology. Ability to work independently with supervision to develop creative solutions for study of ecological phenomena. Experience with data collection, quality control and data analysis. Proficiency with Microsoft Office applications, data analysis software and ArcGIS software. Excellent organizational and communication skills. Strong collaborator, able to work well in teams with others from a variety of backgrounds and experience. Ability to work fairly independently and prioritize multiple project schedules.

Physical Demands and Work Environment: This is a field work intensive position and applicants must be able to tolerate adverse field conditions. Field work includes the possibility for inclement weather and variable terrain, poison ivy and biting insects (mosquitoes, deer ticks). Nantucket is an area with a high incidence of tick-borne disease so precautions to minimize risk are encouraged. The work involves hiking, standing, bending, kneeling, and hauling field gear on a routine basis.
Dates/Hours: This is a full-time, temporary position beginning in early to mid-April and ending in mid- to late- November; exact dates are somewhat flexible. Hours are 40 hours a week with daily hours variable depending on particular projects: early-morning and late-night field work will be required depending on project, weather, tides, etc. Weekend work will be required for certain field projects and non-profit events.

Wages/Benefits: Wage commensurate with experience and ranges from $22-25 per hour based on a 40-hour work week. Housing is provided in shared, employee house -wage is negotiable if housing is not needed. Work-related transportation is provided during working hours.