Marine Benthic Invertebrate Taxonomist (Natural Resource Scientist 2)

Dept. Of Ecology

Lacey, Washington

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details $53,964.00 - $72,552.00 Annually
Deadline Apr 14, 2024

Keeping Washington Clean and Evergreen

The Environmental Assessment Program within the Department of Ecology is looking to fill a Marine Benthic Invertebrate Taxonomist (Natural Resource Scientist 2) position. 

This position is located in our Headquarters Office in Lacey, WA. Upon hire, you must live within a commutable distance from the duty station.

Join our Marine Monitoring Unit in this dynamic role where you will perform specialized natural resource research focused on evaluating the abundance and diversity of benthic invertebrate species to assess status and trends in the Puget Sound benthos. In addition to strengthening your knowledge base of Puget Sound taxa, you will frequently get out from behind the microscope to participate in a variety of activities including leading sediment field work, reporting results via interactive story maps, and generating educational and taxonomic reference materials. In this role you will need to pay close attention to technical details, take initiative, possess effective communication skills with a wide range of audiences, and work well independently while also embracing a team-oriented mindset. 

Agency Mission: Ecology's mission is to protect, preserve and enhance the environment for current and future generations.  

Program Mission: The mission of the Environmental Assessment Program is to measure, assess, and communicate environmental conditions in Washington state.

Tele-work options for this position: This position will be eligible for a tele-work schedule. It is expected that this position will work both remotely and in the office as determined by business needs. Applicants with questions about position location options, tele-work, and flexible or compressed schedules are encouraged to reach out to the contact person listed below in “other information.” Schedules are dependent upon position needs and are subject to change.

Application Timeline: This position will remain open until filled, we will next review applications on April 15, 2024. In order to be considered, please submit an application on or before April 14, 2024. If your application isn't received by this date, it may not be considered. The agency reserves the right to make a Hire any time after the initial screening date. 

Please Note: We will review all applications received before the date above. Additional reviews after this date typically only occur if we have a small applicant pool, or if a successful Hire was not made.

Ecology employees may be eligible for the following:
Medical/Dental/Vision for employee & dependent(s)Public Employees Retirement System (PERS)Vacation, Sick, and other Leave*, 11 Paid Holidays per year*, Public Service Loan ForgivenessTuition Waiver,  Long Term Disability & Life InsuranceDeferred Compensation ProgramsDependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP),  Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA)Employee Assistance ProgramCommute Trip Reduction Incentives(Download PDF reader)Combined Fund DriveSmartHealth *Click here for more information 

About the Department of Ecology

Protecting Washington State's environment for current and future generations is what we do every day at Ecology. We are a culture that is invested in making a difference. Join a team that is highly effective and collaborative, with leadership that embraces the value of people. To learn more, check out our Strategic Plan
Ecology cares deeply about employee wellness; we go beyond traditional benefits, proudly offering:

  • A healthy life/work balance by offering flexible schedules and telework options for most positions.
  • An Infants at Work Program that is based on the long-term health values of infant-parent bonding and breastfeeding newborns.
  • Continuous growth and development opportunities. 
  • Opportunities to serve your community and make an impact through meaningful work.

Our commitment to DEIR

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect (DEIR) are core values central to Ecology’s work. We strive to be a workplace where we are esteemed for sharing our authentic identities, while advancing our individual professional goals and collaborating to protect, preserve, and enhance the environment for current and future generations.

Diversity: We celebrate and appreciate diversity; our unique perspectives and abilities enrich us all and lead to innovative approaches and solutions.

Equity: We champion equity, recognizing that each of us need different things to thrive.

Inclusion: We intentionally create and hold space so that we all have meaningful opportunities to participate and contribute to Ecology’s work.

Respect: We treat each other with respect and dignity, acknowledging the inherent worth of our diverse perspectives and lived experiences, even in times of uncertainty and disagreement. 

We believe that DEIR is both a goal and an action. We are on a journey, honoring our shared humanity and taking steps to demonstrate our commitment to a vision where each of us is heard, seen, and valued. 


What makes this role unique?

Puget Sound is a diverse ecosystem with a growing list of over 1,200 marine benthic infaunal taxa, many of them lacking formal descriptions. In this role you will have the unique opportunity to contribute to the Sediment Team’s long-term benthos dataset for Puget Sound, maintaining both quality and consistency. Success in this role requires excellent attention to detail, keen observational skills, proficiency in synthesizing information from literature and voucher specimens, and the ability to collaborate with regional taxonomists and other agency staff. 

What you will do: 

  • Perform sorting and sorting quality assurance of marine benthic samples using specialized knowledge of marine benthic invertebrate taxonomy. 
  • Taxonomically identify Puget Sound benthic invertebrates to genus and species level and perform size classification for biomass estimates.
  • Support senior staff in the maintenance and expansion of the Puget Sound benthic invertebrate reference and voucher collection and database.
  • Lead field work preparation and implementation for the marine sediment monitoring program.
  • Perform shipboard collection, processing, and preservation of sediments and benthos with expertise in the operation of sediment sampling gear.
  • Conduct data quality assurance reviews.
  • Formulate and justify conclusions and recommendations and write sections of sediment monitoring publications in both scientific and social media format that are specific to the taxonomy and ecology of the benthic invertebrates.

Note: This position is allotted a budget to purchase protective field gear. 


Required Qualifications:

Years of required experience indicated below are full-time equivalent years. Full-time equivalent experience means that any experience where working hours were less than 40 hours per week will be prorated in order to meet the equivalency of full-time. We would calculate this by looking at the total hours worked per week, divide this by 40, and then multiply by the total number of months worked. Examples of the proration calculations are:

  • 30 hours worked per week for 20 months: (30/40) x 20 months = 15 months full-time equivalent
  • 20 hours worked per week for 12 months: (20/40) x 12 months = 6 months full-time equivalent

Experience for both required and desired qualifications can be gained through various combinations of formal professional employment, education, and volunteer experience. See below for how you may qualify.

Option 1:
A Bachelor’s degree with major study in Marine Ecology, Marine Benthic Ecology, or Marine Invertebrate Zoology.
Three (3) years of professional research work experience in Marine Ecology, Marine Benthic Ecology, or Marine Invertebrate Zoology.
Option 2:
A Master’s degree with major study in Marine Ecology, Marine Benthic Ecology, or Marine Invertebrate Zoology.
One (1) year of professional research work experience in Marine Ecology, Marine Benthic Ecology, or Marine Invertebrate Zoology
Option 3:
A Ph.D. with major study in Marine Ecology, Marine Benthic Ecology, or Marine Invertebrate Zoology.

Special Requirements/Conditions of Employment: 

  • Must possess and maintain a valid driver’s license. 

Desired Qualifications:
We highly encourage you to apply even if you do not have some (or all) of the desired experience below.

  • Experience in collecting, processing, and analyzing marine sediment and benthic invertebrate samples, including familiarity and experience with marine invertebrate taxonomy. 

Note: Having some (or all) of this desired experience may make your application more competitive in a highly competitive applicant pool.

Supplemental Information

Ecology seeks diverse applicants: We view diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect through a broad lens including race, ethnicity, class, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status, military background, language, education, life experience, physical disability, neurodiversity, and intersectional identities. Qualified candidates from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
Need an Accommodation in the application and/or screening process or this job announcement in an alternative format?

  • Please call: (360) 407-6186 or email: careers@ecy.wa.gov and we will be happy to assist.
  • If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can reach the Washington Relay Service by dialing 7-1-1 or 1-800-833-6388.
  • If you need assistance applying for this job, please e-mail careers@ecy.wa.gov. Please do not send an email to this address to follow-up on the status of your application. You can view the latest status of your application on your profile's main page.
  • If you are reading this announcement in print format, please enter the following URL to your search engine to apply: https://ecology.wa.gov/About-us/Get-to-know-us/Jobs-at-Ecology.   

Application Instructions:
It's in the applicant's best interest to submit all of the documents listed below. Applications without these documents may be declined.

  • A cover letter describing why you are interested in this position.
  • A resume outlining your experience and education (if applicable) as it relates to the minimum qualifications of this position.
  • A list of three professional references.

Note: References will only be contacted during the final steps of the recruitment process for candidates selected as finalists. References will not be contacted without the candidate’s formal authorization.

Please do NOT include your salary history. Wage/salary depends on qualifications or rules of promotion, if applicable.  
For Your Privacy:
When attaching documents to your application (such as Resume, Cover Letter, Transcripts, DD-214, etc.):

  • Please be sure to remove private information such as your social security number, date of birth, etc. 
  • Do not attach documents that are password-protected, as these documents may not be reviewed and may cause errors within your application when downloaded. 

Additional Application Instructions for Current Ecology Employees:
Please make sure to answer the agency-wide questions regarding permanent status as a classified employee within the Washington General Service or Washington Management Service. Do not forget to select Department of Ecology as a response to question 2, and type your personnel ID number for question 3. If you are not sure of your status or do not know your personnel ID number, please contact Human Resources.
Application Attestation:
The act of submitting application materials electronically is considered affirmation that the information is complete and truthful. The state may verify this information and any untruthful or misleading answers are cause for rejection of your application or dismissal if employed.
Other Information:

If you have specific questions about the position, please email Julianne Ruffner at: Julianne.Ruffner@ecy.wa.gov. Please do not contact Julianne to inquire about the status of your application.
To request the full position description: email careers@ecy.wa.gov

Why work for Ecology?
As an agency, our mission is to protect, preserve and enhance Washington's environment for current and future generations. We invest in our employees to create and sustain a working environment that encourages creative leadership, effective resource management, teamwork, professionalism, and accountability.
Joining Ecology means becoming a part of a team committed to protecting and restoring Washington State's environment. A career in public service allows you to help solve some of the most challenging problems facing our state, while keeping your health and financial security a priority. We combine one of the most competitive benefits packages in the nation with a strong commitment to life/work balance.
To learn more about The Department of Ecology, please visit our website at www.ecology.wa.gov and follow, like or visit us on LinkedInTwitterFacebookInstagram or our blog.

Collective Bargaining: This is a position covered by a bargaining unit for which the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) is the exclusive representative.   

Equal Opportunity Employer: The Washington State Department of Ecology is an equal opportunity employer. We strive to create a working environment that includes and respects cultural, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation and gender identity diversity. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons of disability, persons over 40 years of age, veterans, military spouses or people with military status, and people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are encouraged to apply. Persons needing accommodation in the application/testing process or this job announcement in an alternative format may call (360) 407-6186. Applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing may call the Washington Relay Service by dialing 7-1-1 or 1-800-833-6388.

Note: This recruitment may be used to fill other positions of the same job classification across the agency. Once all the position(s) from the recruitment announcement are filled, the recruitment may only be used to fill additional open positions for the next sixty (60) days. 


Apply here:  State of Washington Job Opportunities | Work that Matters (governmentjobs.com)

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.

Category Ecology , Marine Biology