Research Associate, Flathead Lake Biological Station



The Research Associate will work with Dr. Matthew Church. The appointment is a full-time position, and involves field and laboratory research, including data analyses and syntheses. The Research Associate will be expected to work independently and collaboratively. The position demands the ability to see intellectually and technically complex projects through to their conclusion and meet project deadlines. The fieldwork required for this position will often be conducted in remote locations and aboard research vessels. Such work requires independent decision-making that is central to the success of the overall project. The Research Associate will develop new methodologies, with limited supervision, and analyze and interpret scientific data generated as part of the project.

The Aquatic Microbial Ecology Laboratory at Flathead Lake Biological Station needs this qualified candidate to oversee and successfully conduct field sampling and laboratory analyses of samples related to quantifying the biomass, activities and diversity of aquatic microorganisms. The Research Associate will need to be highly organized, meticulous in the laboratory, willing to work aboard research vessels, and have a working knowledge of methodologies applied to the study of aquatic microorganisms and biogeochemistry.

This position requires knowledge of molecular biology, including the use and application of polymerase chain reaction methods. In addition, the Research Associate must be proficient with the use of radioisotopes as tracers of microbial activity. Finally, the Research Associate must have experience developing and testing new methodologies aimed at the enumeration of microbial cell abundances and diversity. This position will interact closely with a team of students, post-doctoral fellows, other staff, and PIs, both from FLBS/UM and other collaborating institutions.

The person assigned to this position is expected to work independently to manage complex research projects and tasks. Moreover, the position requires providing laboratory and field-based training of diverse types of students and employees, including undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral scholars and technical staff. In particular, the position requires decision-making responsibilities, specific to individualized projects. Such decision-making includes organized and sound management of project budgets (via ordering of equipment and supplies), as well as decisions related to developing and implementing new methodologies and sampling approaches.

Position Details
  • Position is full-time, 1.0 FTE, Letter of Appointment and includes a comprehensive and competitive benefits package including Insurance package, mandatory retirement plan, partial tuition waiver, and wellness program.
  • Salary for this position is $40,000 - $50,000 per year, commensurate with qualifications.


Required qualifications
  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant scientific discipline, in addition to two (2) years of closely related experience; or any combination of experience and education that provides the competencies necessary to successfully discharge the duties and responsibilities assigned to the position
  • Experience with field-based collection of samples for enumeration of aquatic microorganism abundances, biomass, activity, and diversity
  • Knowledge of methods for extracting and quantifying nucleic acids from field and laboratory samples
  • Demonstrated knowledge of methods to amplify specific genes from microorganisms for subsequent nucleic acid sequencing
  • Demonstrated experience with analyses of aquatic biogeochemistry, including quantifying reduced gases (methane, nitrous oxide), and analyses of dissolved and particulate elements in water
  • Experience analyzing water samples for quantification of nutrients (e.g., nitrate, nitrite, phosphate, organic nutrients)
  • Strong working knowledge of word processing, spreadsheets and database software
  • Demonstrated experience with project management, including ability to set milestones and timelines, coordinate with diverse science teams
  • Experience compiling data, generating graphics, and good writing skills for assisting in preparation of presentations, written project reports, manuscripts, and as part of grant writing efforts on an unscheduled but periodic basis
  • Ability to conduct rigorous physical work at times for long periods of time




Preferred Qualifications
  • Experience working aboard research vessels collecting and processing biogeochemical and microbiological samples
  • Experience using flow cytometric methods to enumerate microbial abundances
  • Master's Degree in an associated scientific discipline


About the Flathead Lake Biological Station, UM and Missoula

The Flathead Lake Biological Station is a field research and teaching facility designated as a Center of Excellence of the University of Montana. The mission of the Bio Station is to conduct basic and applied research in ecology with an emphasis on freshwater; provide field ecology courses for college students, K-12 teachers and natural resource professionals; train graduate students for professional or teaching careers; and, provide scientific data, interpretation and outreach to help resolve environmental problems and inform public policy locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. The faculty and staff also generate and maintain natural resource databases used by the public and resource management agencies in addition to supporting the research program at the Bio Station.

The University of Montana is a unit of the Montana University System with over 10,000 students. It is located in Missoula, a culturally vibrant community of about 72,000, surrounded by mountain grandeur which was recently ranked in the “ top 20 best college towns with a population of less than 250,000 ” by the American Institute for Economic Research and ranked 9th in Outside Magazine’s “ The 16 Greatest Places to Live in America” in 2014 . Many national publications recognize Missoula for its high quality of life . Abundant recreational opportunities in surrounding state and national forests and nearby Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park complement a thriving intellectual atmosphere. The University of Montana offers eligible employees a generous benefits package that positively separates UM from other local employers and offers many programs and policies to support work-life balance for its employees.

The University of Montana is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and has a strong institutional commitment to the principle of diversity in all areas. In that spirit, we are particularly interested in receiving applications from a broad spectrum of qualified people who would assist the University in demonstrating its five priorities for action : Place student success at the center of all we do; drive excellence and innovation in teaching, learning, and research; embody the principle of “mission first, people always"; partner with place; and proudly tell the UM story.

To learn more about the University of Montana, Missoula, and the State of Montana, please visit the links below.



Criminal Background Investigation is required prior to the Offer of Employment In accordance with University regulations, finalists for this position will be subject to criminal background investigations. ADA/EOE/AA/Veteran's Preference Reasonable accommodations are provided in the hiring process for persons with disabilities. For example, this material is available in alternative format upon request. As an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer, we encourage applications from minorities, veterans, and women. Qualified candidates may request veterans’ or disabilities preference in accordance with state law. References: References not listed on the application materials may be contacted; notice may be provided to the applicant. Testing: Individual hiring departments at UM may elect to administer pre-employment tests, which are relevant to essential job functions. Employment Eligibility: All New Employees must be eligible and show employment eligibility verification by the first date of employment at UM, as legally required (e.g., Form I-9).

How to Apply

Priority Application Date: Monday, June 7, 2021 by 11:59 PM (Mountain Time)

Complete applications received by the ‘Priority Application Date’ will be guaranteed consideration. The position will remain open until filled. Candidates are required to submit the following materials online via "New Resume/CV" button below

A complete application Includes:

  1. Letter of Interest – addressing your qualifications and experience related to the stated required skills for the position.
  2. Detailed Resume – listing education and describing work experience.
  3. Professional References – names and contact information for three (3) professional references.


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Job Location Polson, Montana, United States
Position Type Full-Time/Regular

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