Research Ecologist, Fish Biologist, Wildlife Biologist (Unit Leader)

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Cooperative Research Unit

As the Leader of the new Indiana Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit at Purdue University, some of your specific duties will include:

  • Planning, conducting, and directing applied research related to the ecology, management, human dimensions of fish and wildlife, or the habitats they require.
  • Conducting research that is cooperator driven and provides scientific basis for management and policy decisions.
  • Administering an active research program including grants from multiple collaborating federal and university investigators. This involves acquiring funding to sustain a program of research.
  • Serving as subject matter expert in fish and wildlife ecology and management, providing leadership and guidance to government and private agencies and university representatives through participation in meetings, conferences and work groups.
  • Disseminating research results via final reports, peer reviewed print scientific journals, online scientific journals, books, book chapters or other outlets.
  • Making presentations on findings to scientific and conservation organizations.
  • Serving as graduate faculty member, contributing to the research, graduate student mentorship, and teaching mission of the university.
  • Supervising co-located federal research scientists with similar responsibilities.
  • Operating a government vehicle as an incidental driver.

Conditions of Employment
Key Requirements:

  1. Applicants must be U.S. Citizens.
  2. Suitable for Federal employment, as determined by background investigation.
  3. Selectee may be subject to serving a one-year probationary period.
  4. More requirements are listed under Qualifications and Other Information.
  5. Selectee must provide a valid state driver's license & safe driving record.

Are There Any Special Requirements for This Position?

  • If selected you may be asked to provide information regarding your COVID-19 vaccination status for the purposes of implementing workplace safety protocols, such as those related to masking, physical distancing, testing, travel, and quarantine.
  • You will be required to operate a government-owned or leased vehicle in the performance of your official duties. Applicants for this position must meet the following requirements: (1) possess a valid State license, and (2) possess a safe driving record. If selected, you will be required to provide proof of a valid State license & a copy of your driving record.
  • Because this position requires travel for official business, the selectee will be required to apply for a charge card within 30 calendar days of appointment. Individuals who have delinquent account balances from a previous Government charge card will be required to satisfy their existing obligation before a new card can be issued.
  • The selectee will be required to maintain a graduate faculty appointment in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue University, participate on university and graduate committees, and perform other tasks that are shared by departmental faculty as appropriate.
  • If selected for this position, you may be required to file one or more financial statements upon reporting and annually, some of which may be subject to public disclosure.
  • A background investigation will be required for this position. Continued employment will be subject to the applicant's successful completion of a background security investigation and favorable adjudication. Failure to successfully meet these requirements will be grounds for termination.
  • Throughout the recruitment and hiring process we will be communicating with you via email; therefore, it is imperative that the email address you provide when applying for this vacancy remains active. Should your email address change, please notify the point of contact identified in the vacancy announcement as soon as possible so that we can update our system.

This position is interdisciplinary and may be filled in any of the occupational job series listed. You must meet the educational requirements of at least one of these occupational series, in additional to the Minimum Requirement listed below, in order to be found qualified and referred for consideration.


Basic Education for Research Ecologist, GS-0408:
Applicants must meet the following to satisfy the basic education requirement for Ecologist, all grade levels. Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree in biology or a related field of science underlying ecological research that included at least 30 semester hours or the equivalent in basic and applied biological sciences. These hours must have included at least 9 semester hours or the equivalent in ecology, and 12 semester hours or the equivalent in physical and mathematical sciences; OR

Basic Education for Research Fish Biologist, GS-0482:
Applicants must meet the following to satisfy the basic education requirement for Research Fish Biologist, all grade levels. Research Positions: Applicants must show that they have a degree with major study in biology, zoology, or biological oceanography that included at least 30 semester hours in biological and aquatic science and 15 semester hours in the physical and mathematical sciences. This course work must have included:

  • At least 15 semester hours of preparatory training in zoology beyond introductory biology or zoology in such courses as invertebrate zoology, comparative anatomy, histology, physiology, embryology, advanced vertebrate zoology, genetics, entomology, and parasitology; and
  • At least 6 semester hours of training applicable to fishery biology in such subjects as fishery biology, ichthyology, limnology, oceanography, algology, planktonology, marine or fresh water ecology, invertebrate ecology, principles of fishery population dynamics, or related course work in the field of fishery biology; and
  • At least 15 semester hours of training in any combination of two or more of the following: chemistry, physics, mathematics, or statistics; OR

Basic Education for Research Wildlife Biologist, GS-0486:
Applicants must meet the following to satisfy the basic education requirement for Research Wildlife Biologist, all grade levels. Research positions: Degree with major in wildlife biology, zoology, or botany that included at least 30 semester hours of course work in biological science and 15 semester hours in the physical, mathematical, and earth sciences. This course work must have included:

  • At least 9 semester hours of training applicable to wildlife biology in such subjects as mammalogy, ornithology, animal ecology, wildlife management, principles of population dynamics, or related course work in the field of wildlife biology; and
  • At least 12 semester hours in zoological subjects such as invertebrate zoology, vertebrate zoology, comparative anatomy of the vertebrates, embryology, animal physiology, entomology, herpetology, parasitology, and genetics; and
  • At least 9 semester hours in the field of botany and related plant science; and
  • At least 15 semester hours of training in any combination of two or more of the following: chemistry, physics, mathematics, statistics, soils, and/or geology.

Ph.D. Requirement: In addition to meeting the basic education requirements described above, in order to receive consideration for this position, you must also possess a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree in wildlife or fisheries science or a closely related field of study appropriate for this position.

To verify the Ph.D. requirement, transcripts or verification from the university registrar must be submitted that clearly state: Ph.D. awarded, major, and date of conferral. Failure to provide this information will result in your application receiving no further consideration.

For GS-13:
In addition to the Basic Education Requirement as stated above, applicants must have at least one year of appropriate professional experience equivalent to the GS-12 level or higher in the Federal service. Examples of this work may include: 1) planning and coordinating research projects of considerable depth and/or breadth; 2) analyzing and interpreting data for novel and obscure problems; 3) developing innovative, new or significantly modified methods, or criteria; 4) providing advisory, planning, or reviewing services as a technical specialist on a wildlife or fisheries issues; 5) conducting research with wide latitude for the exercise of independent judgment to perform scientific work of marked difficulty and responsibility.

For GS-14:
In addition to the Basic Education Requirement as stated above, applicants must have at least one year of appropriate professional experience equivalent to at least the GS-13 level or higher in the Federal service. Specialized experience at this level includes, in addition to those described above: 1) an established record of obtaining funding and managing an applied, research program focused on fish, or wildlife biology or management that is relevant to wildlife conservation agencies and stakeholders locally, nationally, and internationally; 2) a record of leading research teams that provide a scientific basis for decisions on management and conservation of fish or wildlife populations; 3) conducting research investigations based upon newly identified principles in wildlife or fisheries program areas where little or no information is available; 4) work that required the development or extension of traditional methods and practices, or the development of essentially new or vastly modified techniques or methods. The researcher should have demonstrated ability to make significant research contributions to the field.

All candidates should include a research statement, and a statement of commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Preferred candidates will have demonstrated ability to: develop and implement innovative approaches to assess the factors influencing the ecology and management of fish and wildlife populations which may include public use, attitudes, and beliefs.

You must meet all qualification and eligibility requirements for the position by the closing date of the announcement.


  • Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g. Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community; student; social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.
  • Foreign Education: Education completed in colleges or universities outside the United States may be used to meet the above requirements. You must provide acceptable documentation that the foreign education is comparable to that received in an accredited educational institution in the United States. For more information on how foreign education is evaluated, visit:

Additional information

  • Applicants who include vulgar, offensive, or inappropriate language or information in their application package will be ineligible for further consideration for this position.
  • The full performance level for a Research position is GS-15; however, promotion eligibility is dependent upon the scientific contributions of the incumbent as evaluated by a peer panel.
  • Number of Vacancies - There is currently only one vacancy to be filled; however, this announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies if they become available.
  • Under Executive Order 11935, only United States citizens and nationals (residents of American Samoa and Swains Island) may compete for civil service jobs. Agencies are permitted to hire non-citizens only in very limited circumstances where there are no qualified citizens available for the position.
  • USGS employees are subject to Title 43, USC Section 31(a) and may not: (a) have any personal, private, direct or indirect interest in lands or mineral wealth of lands under survey; (b) have any substantial personal, private, direct or indirect interests in any private mining or mineral enterprise doing business with the United States; or (c) execute surveys or examinations for private parties or corporations.
  • The application contains information subject to the Privacy Act (P.L. 93-579, 5 USC 552a). The information is used to determine qualifications for employment, and is authorized under Title 5, USC, Section 3302 and 3361.
  • DOI uses E-Verify to confirm the employment eligibility of all newly hired employees. To learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities, please visit
  • The Department of the Interior (DOI) places a high value on diversity of experience and cultural perspectives and encourages applications from all interested eligible candidates. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) are fundamental principles that guide the Department and allow us to successfully achieve our mission.

Agency Benefits:

For more information on how you will be evaluated, required documents and how to apply view: Research Ecologist, fish Biologist, Wildlife Biologist (Unit Leader),

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