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Assistant Specialist

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Assistant Specialist (I) (3320)
Support research being conducted on new methodologies for atmospheric deposition measurements by Dr. James O. Sickman. Principal duties involve design, fabrication and maintenance of field instrumentation, collection and preparation samples for nutrient and isotopic analysis, computation of deposition rates, assist with preparation of manuscripts for technical journals and presentation of results in a variety of venues (public, governmental, scientific and K-12 schools).

40% Design, Fabrication and Maintenance of Field Equipment
Under direction of faculty, design, fabricate and maintain atmospheric deposition collectors that operate on the basis of stable isotope dilution and passive collection. Grow native and invasive plants under enriched isotope conditions. Prepare and deploy hydroponic systems containing isotope-enriched plants, sterile soils and water at remote field sites. Deploy passive samplers. Maintain solar power and datalogger systems connected to the hydroponic systems. Conduct quality control and quality assurance assessments to insure that analytical results are accurate. Perform maintenance procedures on field instruments and trouble-shooting and repair instruments as needed.
40% Sample Preparation and Laboratory Analyses
Periodically sample water, soil and plants in the hydroponic systems and passive samplers deployed in the field. Prepare samples for chemical analysis through various chemical extraction, drying, grinding and homogenization procedures. Assist other technical staff with nutrient analyses on discrete analyzer or ion chromatograph. Prepare samples of water, soil and plants for isotope analyses on an isotope ratio mass spectrometer. Assist with isotope analyses of water, soil and plants. For the research project, insure that all training and safety requirements are satisfied, maintain chemical inventory, store and dispose of hazardous waste according to UCR regulations. Maintain and properly store supplies, including reagents, isotope tracers, sterile soils and plant seeds.
10% Data Analyses and Manuscript Preparation
Maintain database of field and laboratory measurements for the project including weather conditions during sampler deployment, results from chemical analyses and isotope measurements. Using spreadsheets and statistical software analyze results and compute atmospheric deposition rates. Evaluate errors in atmospheric deposition rates. Prepare tables, figures and text and assist faculty with preparation of technical-journal manuscripts for the project.
10% Outreach
Periodically attend regional scientific and governmental meetings to present results from project. Assist project PIs on outreach activities at local K-12 schools. Other duties as assigned.


  1. Master of Science degree, or equivalent experience, in biology, ecology, environmental sciences or related field.
  2. Demonstrated ability to prepare manuscripts for scientific journals.
  3. Minimum of one-year of experience operating automated instrumentation for nutrient analyses of water, soils and plants.
  4. Ability to work in the field at remote sites year-round.
  5. Valid California driver’s license.


  1. Knowledge of discrete analyzer and ion chromatography operation.
  2. Experience with preparation of samples for stable isotope analyses.
  3. Good public speaking skills.

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, protected veterans status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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Document requirements
  • Cover Letter (Optional)

  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.

  • Reference Letter 1

  • Reference Letter 2

  • Reference Letter 3

  • Misc / Additional (Optional)