Research Assistant (Plankton Ecology Group) 63 views

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General : IISD Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA) is one of the world’s most influential freshwater research facilities. It features a collection of 58 small lakes and their watersheds in northwestern Ontario, Canada. For over 50 years, scientists at IISD-ELA have conducted whole-ecosystem experiments and made significant scientific discoveries related to issues such as acid rain, mercury from air pollution, algal blooms and pharmaceutical chemicals in water. The facility is operated by the International Institute for Sustainable Development—an independent think tank headquartered in Winnipeg.

IISD-ELA acknowledges that our research facility is located on Treaty Three lands and the care of these lands during experimentation and restoration to original state is implicit in its mission. Many local schools in the region come to the facility to learn more about the science of aquatic ecosystems and how humans serve a role in sharing and working with one another to protect these resources.

The unique nature of the IISD-ELA facility and our whole-ecosystem approach to freshwater science provides an opportunity to deliver a different kind of educational programming and community outreach for a wide variety of audiences. IISD-ELA aims to inspire and train the general public and the next generation of research scientists, providing a platform for science education and innovation. Full room and board will be provided at the IISD-ELA facility, as well as travel to and from the facility (to Winnipeg or Kenora) on weekends.

IISD-Experimental Lakes Area was formed to create new ways of bridging applied science with on-the-ground sustainability policy solutions. The Experimental Lakes Area’s rich history of freshwater aquatic science leading to policy solutions for a wide range of issues, combined with IISD’s experience of policy tools and mechanisms for advancing sustainable development, will enable fully-integrated freshwater research. Scientific research and expertise from ELA can be applied more directly into policy solutions and measurable benefits to societies by linking with IISD’s policy research expertise.

Specific : The Research Assistant will be involved in conducting field sampling and laboratory analyses for the autotrophic ecology and invertebrate ecology programs at the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) research facility in Northwestern Ontario, Canada. The Research Assistant will primarily assist the Food Web Biologist with their field and laboratory efforts at the ELA, gaining experience in field methods for both limnology and food web dynamics. The incumbent may also assist with data analysis and data entry.

In particular, the responsibilities of the Research Assistant (Plankton Ecology Group) will include:

    • Collection and preservation of samples and data for a variety of limnological parameters including water quality, phytoplankton, and zooplankton;
    • Collection, preservation and preparation of algae and invertebrate samples;
  • Operate various field vehicles (all-terrain vehicles, trucks, vans) on highways and gravel roads;
  • Use a variety of watercraft, including boats with outboard motors and canoes;
  • Completion of detailed and accurate field notes;
  • Assist in laboratory experiments (e.g. algal photosynthesis);
  • Enter data into databases (including Microsoft Excel and Access);
  • May be occasionally required to assist other teams (fish, chem lab, hydrolimnology) with field sampling and laboratory analyses.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Skills & Qualifications :

  • Enrollment in a university or college program leading to a degree in Biology or Environmental Sciences;
  • Work experience in environmental sciences is an asset;
  • Knowledge of field sampling/water quality or limnological sampling is an asset;
  • Experience operating small motorized vessels with an outboard motor and all-terrain vehicles is an asset;
  • Keen and hard-working individual;
  • Ability to do fieldwork involving manual labour such as hiking and lifting heavy objects (up to 50 lbs);
  • Willing to work long hours in diverse conditions (e.g. hot, cold, rain, buggy);
  • Ability to work safely in a remote field environment that requires flexibility and teamwork.
  • Interested/willing to live in remote location for up to 4 months in shared accommodations
  • Organizational skills are an asset;
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Access and Excel is an asset;
  • Must possess certifications that are valid for the duration of the work term:
    • First Aid/CPR certificate
    • Pleasure Craft Operators Card
    • Driver’s license

IISD-ELA will require the completion of a criminal record check and child abuse registry check; Ability to speak French and/or Ojibwa is considered an asset. ATV training certification/experience an asset (training will be provided on-site)

Work Conditions : Room and board while at ELA are provided, including laundry facilities. Shuttle vans are available to transport people to/from the camp each week (to Winnipeg or Kenora), or the individual may use their private vehicle, or may decide to remain on site over weekends.

The contract is for a full-time term position from September 3rd – no later than December 20th.

Compensation: $562.50 – $656.25/week CAD (plus accommodation and food) depending on experience and education

All submissions must be in English.

Closing date: Friday 16th August 2019 5:00 pm CST

IISD-ELA is committed to equal opportunity. Candidates must hold appropriate work authorization for Canada.


We thank all candidates for their interest; however, only candidates advancing in the recruitment will be contacted for an interview. We kindly request that further contact not be necessary. Resumes will be kept on file for one year.


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