Job Opportunities

Technology in Ecology Data Technician

Date posted
February 16, 2024
Open until filled. Application review began March 15, 2024.
Employment type
Federal position?
$45,146 - $61,933 depending on experience
1-year subject to renewal depending on performance and funding
Edgewater, MD
Work model
Telework eligible

The Technology in Ecology Lab at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) integrates ecology, engineering, programming, and fabrication to support novel ecological experimentation. We collaborate extensively in support of ongoing marsh climate change experiments such as SMARTX, GENX, and MERIT. We maintain instrumentation and data infrastructure for SERC and the MarineGEO Chemical and Physical Observations Program. One focus of our lab is in developing open source or DIY solutions for ecological and biogeochemistry research – ongoing projects integrate Arduino and XBee-based dataloggers to control temperature and CO2 in experiments. We are expanding our lab with up to three positions.


We desire candidates who are quick learners and open to developing new skills. Strong candidates should have a variety of skills among which may include environmental science, programming, engineering, electronics, fabrication, data analysis, and organization.

Qualifications and Requirements

This position requires a BS or BA in ecology, environmental science, geography, computer science, engineering, or a related discipline, including some coding experience in programs such as R. Independent problem solving within established workflows for data, programming, and electronics production are critical skills for the TElab.

All technicians require the ability to manage and document multiple projects and to contribute to collective progress. Technicians will contribute in some aspect to the following areas of work: development and production of electronics, sensors, and datalogging platforms, building components for databases, web interfaces, and online tools, providing technical support for existing experiments, and contributing to the overall scientific quality of the operation and preparation of manuscripts.  Technicians will have a small to moderate level of fieldwork and occasional travel as needed. These are not remote positions although modest telework opportunities exist. We are looking for candidates who will specialize in 1-2 of the following roles:

Lab Administration and Lead Technician role:

  • Administrative tasks for TE lab management
  • Liaison with other SERC technicans on lab safety or facility coordination
  • Project task management related to funded research projects.
  • Purchasing and Inventory management.

Data management role:

  • Code automated workflows for real-time data in R
  • Monitor dataloggers and sensor infrastructure
  • Create standardized datasets for experiments such as SMARTX, GENX, and MERIT
  • Create RShiny apps and RMarkdowns for experiment monitoring and data visualization

Fabrication and prototyping role: 

  • Program and deploy experiments including Arduino and XBee systems. 
  • Design, fabricate, and deploy electronics, sensors, circuit boards for experimental upkeep
  • Program and assemble Campbell Scientific datalogger systems
  • Monitor and troubleshoot datalogger and sensor infrastructure

MarineGEO data specialist:

  • This position will support both the TE lab and MarineGEO
  • Create R data workflows to process real-time water quality, meteorological, and water level data
  • Process MarineGEO biological data and past environmental data in R
  • QAQC MarineGEO data using RShiny applications
  • Publish datasets.
  • Coordinate MarineGEO technicians at different sites and standardize protocols
  • Dedicate about 40% of time to working directly with MarineGEO on data coordination projects related to MGEO datasets. 
  • Manage and troubleshoot water quality instrumentation such as YSI sondes.

Applicants should indicate their experience relative to the skills below. We expect all candidates will develop further expertise in this position.

  • Research in biodiversity, climate change, forest ecology, wetland science or related fields.
  • Using GitHub to facilitate collaboration.
  • Programming in R and RShiny
  • Prototype production and fabrication and other technical skills
  • Mechanical or electronic engineering; robotics experience
  • Programming in Arduino, Python, or XBee networks
  • Use of Eagle, Autodesk, or other CAD tools
  • Use of Campbell Scientific dataloggers and CRBasic
  • Using environmental sensors (e.g., temperature, water quality) and interpreting sensor data
  • Work with biological or environmental datasets.
  • Other cool stuff
How to Apply

As a single PDF, please send a brief cover letter outlining how you meet the qualifications and what roles you might fill effectively, a resume, and the names of three references to by March 15, 2024.


Roy Rich
Principal Investigator, Research Ecologist

About SERC

SERC is focused on understanding the causes and consequences of environmental change for marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems. The main campus is a 2,650-acre research site on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Edgewater Maryland. Nearby cities include historic Annapolis, Maryland's capital, and D.C. The technician will be hired as a 'Trust Employee' through Smithsonian’s non-profit wing. This will entitle them to health, vision, dental, and other benefits.

The Smithsonian Institution is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a policy of non-discrimination on the basis of race/ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, marital, parental, or caregiver status, and disability. The SERC community recognizes the value of workforce diversity, and we strongly encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply. We recognize that each applicant for this role will bring unique skills, knowledge, experiences, and background to this position.