USFS Impacts of Wildfire and Fuel Management Strategies on Bats

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Albany, California

Job Type Paid Internship
Salary Details TBD
Deadline Jul 07, 2023

*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.

USFS Office/Lab and LocationA fellowship opportunity is available with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (USFS) within the Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW) located in Albany, California. This is a remote position.

At the heart of the U.S. Forest Service's mission is their purpose. Everything they do is intended to help sustain forests and grasslands for present and future generations. Why? Because their stewardship work supports nature in sustaining life. This is the purpose that drives the agency’s mission and motivates their work across the agency. It’s been there from the agency’s very beginning, and it still drives them. To advance the mission and serve their purpose, the U.S. Forest Service balances the short and long-term needs of people and nature by working in collaboration with communities and our partners; providing access to resources and experiences that promote economic, ecological, and social vitality; connecting people to the land and one another; and delivering world-class science, technology and land management.

The Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW) conducts the research to support this mission and stewardship in California, Hawaii, and beyond. In particular, PSW studies how interacting environmental stressors and disturbances threaten the productivity and sustainability of forest ecosystems including wildlife.

Research ProjectThe Forest Service Wildfire Crisis Strategy is designed to implement strategic fuels management projects that reduce wildfire impacts not only on homes and communities but also on air quality, municipal watersheds, and wildlife habitat. The ability to sustain habitat for wildlife in landscapes impacted by, or at risk of, wildfire is one of the primary tenets of the strategy. This project evaluates the impacts of fuel management strategies on bats, a taxonomic group of increasing importance to the Forest Service as their populations are decimated by disease and wind energy development. Work to date has suggested that bats should benefit from forest thinning and prescribed fire, as well as low- to medium-intensity wildfire, but this has not been comprehensively evaluated across the wide variety of forest types and species assemblages that occur in the West. This project leverages the North American Bat Monitoring Program sample scheme to monitor bat presence and activity in priority landscapes using echolocation detectors.  Sites have been selected on National Forests throughout the western US and will be sampled during summer 2023 by a combination of USFS biologists, partners, and the ORISE fellow. The fellow will assist in co-developing a data management and archiving schema, employ auto-identification algorithms, verify species identifications, produce data summaries relevant to the research and partners and participate in preparation of reports, manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals and presentations.

Travel to field locations is anticipated and there may also be opportunities to be involved in bat capture depending on location, experience, and desires of the fellow. Residence in the western US would facilitate participation in field data collection. Proximity to, or willingness to travel to northern California would enhance opportunities to meet in person with mentor.  Some travel for training and meetings will be required.

Learning ObjectivesSpecific learning opportunities include: enhancing collaborative skills as a member of a scientific team by helping to plan data collection and analysis and identify other potential questions for which existing data can be used; expanding experience in translating raw results from field data collection into information useful to researchers and managers;  gaining or expanding experience in identification of bat species the western U.S. via analysis of recordings of echolocation sequences; extending natural resource information-sharing capabilities via preparation of data in formats accessible to both internal and external databases

MentorThe mentor for this opportunity is Theodore Weller (Theodore.weller@usda.gov). If you have questions about the nature of the research, please contact the mentor.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: June 13, 2023.  Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment Length: The appointment will initially be for eleven months but may be extended upon recommendation of USFS and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of Participation: The appointment is full-time.

Participant Stipend: The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. The current monthly stipend for this opportunity is $4,333. A health insurance supplement of $562.68 per month will also be provided.

Citizenship RequirementsThis opportunity is available to U.S. citizens only.

ORISE Information: This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and USFS. Participants do not become employees of USDA, USFS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email USForestService@orise.orau.gov and include the reference code for this opportunity.


The qualified candidate should have received a bachelor's or master's degree in one of the relevant fields or be currently pursuing one of the degrees with completion by June 20, 2024. Degree must have been received within the past 15 months.

Preferred Skills:

  • Demonstrated experience in data management and statistical analysis of ecological datasets.
  • Demonstrated experience in identification of bat species from their echolocation calls.
  • Familiarity with automated identification algorithms used for bat species identification.
  • Experience conducting ecological field research in forested ecosystems.
  • Ability to prioritize multiple projects and activities.
  • Interest in science applied to management questions.

Please apply at this link: https://www.zintellect.com/Opportunity/Details/USDA-USFS-2023-0192

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

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

Category Forestry, Wildlife