Job Opening: Ecological Study of the Endangered Laguna Mountain Skipper

Matthew Shepherd (Xerces Society) mdshepherd at
Wed Apr 4 14:26:09 EDT 2007

Job Opening: Research Associate for Ecological Study of the Endangered Laguna Mountain Skipper
Background: The Laguna Mountains skipper (Pyrgus ruralis lagunae) is a small, black and white butterfly known from two mountain ranges in southern California: the Laguna Mountains and Palomar Mountain, San Diego County, California.  The skipper is listed as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. To learn how to properly manage extant populations of this little-studied subspecies we need to understand critical aspects of its life history. 
Study Site: This work will be completed at selected study sites in Mendenhall Valley on Palomar Mountain east of San Diego CA. 
MAJOR JOB ACTIVITIES: Under the direction of the Xerces Society Executive Director and local U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff the Research Associate will conduct a detailed ecological study of the Laguna Mountain skipper. The following questions will be addressed: 1) Where in the habitat, and on which plants, do adult females oviposit? (2) What are the vegetation characteristics of oviposition areas? (3) What is the larval behavior (if caterpillars are found)? (4) Do pupae eclose synchronously or over a more protracted period? (5) What is the duration of the flight season and is the subspecies uni- or bi-voltine?.  The Research Associate will also conduct order of magnitude population estimates using modified Pollard walks. The successful applicant will be trained in butterfly monitoring and research techniques.
Start Date: Early May 2007.
The ideal candidate will demonstrate the following:
Ability to reliably work independently in the field after an initial training.
Possess a valid driver’s license.
Detail oriented.
Field ecological research experience.
Bachelors degree (Graduate degree preferred) in entomology, ecology, conservation biology, or natural resource management. 
Knowledge of species (especially invertebrates), natural communities, ecosystems, ecological processes, and their conservation needs.  
Ability to work cooperatively with a number of staff and external parties in order to complete project work and goals in a timely manner.
WORKING CONDITIONS/PHYSICAL EFFORT: Research Associate may have to work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain, and under physically demanding circumstances.  
TERMS: This is a 3 month position to include May, June and July 2007. 
Compensation: $3,000 per month for three months. Arrangements are being made for free lodging and/or camping. 
MORE INFORMATION:  For more information on the Xerces Society and our programs, please see our website. 
APPLICATION: Anyone interested in this position should mail or email a cover letter, resume, names and contact information for three references to: 
Scott Hoffman Black
4828 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland, OR 97215
sblack at
DEADLINE:  Open until filled
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
The Xerces Society is an international nonprofit organization that 
protects the diversity of life through invertebrate conservation. To 
join the Society, make a contribution, or read about our work, 
please visit

Matthew Shepherd
Director, Pollinator Conservation Program
4828 SE Hawthorne Boulevard, Portland, OR 97215, USA
Tel: 503-232 6639 Cell: 503-807 1577 Fax: 503-233 6794
Email: mdshepherd at 

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