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2003-2013 Biological Sciences Technician/Research Associate 

My position is a Biological Sciences Technician working for Chris Servheen, USFWS Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator (Grizzly Bear Recovery Program) at the University of Montana. I'm detailed to Katherine Kendall at the USGS Glacier Field Station (Glacier National Park) as a Research Associate.

Grizzly Bear Projects
The function of this projects is to conduct research that provides information needed by various agencies for immediate and long-term management of the grizzly bear population in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) and Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem (CYE). The projects are large, multi-agency studies applying non-invasive hair collection and genetic techniques to estimate the population of grizzly bears, a threatened species. The using non-invasive methods. 
  • Northern Divide Grizzly Bear Rub Project (2009-2013): USGS webpage with detailed information
    • main objective: to evaluate the efficacy of monitoring grizzly and black bear population trends for the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (study area 9 million acres) using noninvasive hair sampling at bear rubs ; estimating population growth rate, abundance, distribution and relative density, gene flow and genetic structure, apparent survival rates.
  • Cabinet-Yaak Grizzly Bear DNA Project (2011-2013): USGS webpage with detailed information
    • main objective: to obtain a grizzly bear population estimate for the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem (study area 2.5 million acres) using noninvasive hair sampling at bear hair traps and bear rubs
  • Northern Divide Grizzly Bear Project (2003-2008): USGS webpage with detailed information
    • main objective: to obtain a grizzly bear population estimate for the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (study area 8 million acres) using noninvasive hair sampling at bear hair traps and bear rubs


As part of these project's core staff (and as Project Manager for the Rub Project) I am involved with all facets from design and field work to manuscript prep.
  • Communication with many federal, state, and tribal agencies
  • Present project information and results at professional conferences (International Bear Association, The Wildlife Society, Carnivores)
  • Office
    • Assist with logistics of field crews – housing, vehicles, scheduling, training, trip planning, etc
    • Determine necessary field gear items, coordinate purchase agreements, and maintain a tracking system for all supplies to ensure their distribution meets the needs of crewmembers and field coordinators (~200 field personnel)
    • Assist with developing data forms and field protocols
    • Arrange, acquire, and write reports for permits and compliance permissions (e.g. CITES, ESA, tribal permits, etc.)
    • Co-create and maintain a tracking system for thousands of samples (30,000+ samples), enter data into multiple databases
    • Assist in the site selection for grizzly bear hair traps
    • Write project safety plan and job hazard analysis report
    • Find and write grant proposals for research
    • Conduct web page design and maintenance
    • Design and update printed materials such as project summaries and brochures to be distributed at meetings, track and report products generated from research
    • Work with a relational database (MS Access) to obtain data necessary for web page and project summaries
    • Create, maintain, and error check budget spreadsheets for PI (>$8 million over 10 years) including credit card purchase reporting, management
    • Conduct literature searches and provide summaries on a wide range of topics related to the project, including conservation genetics, non-invasive sampling techniques, and bear research in general to assist in journal and book chapter manuscript preparation
    • Catalog new items (journal articles, reports, etc) and maintain research library of PI
    • Catalog and create metadata for a large library of photos (digital and print) and video
    • Create maps for presentations and reports using GIS
  • Office/Field
    • Assist with developing and conducting training programs for field crew and office personnel (~200 field personnel) including accurately explaining genetic and field techniques
  • Field
    • Accurately identify bear rubbing behavior and other bear signs
    • Conduct trail surveys that include 15-18 miles/day over rough terrain under extreme weather conditions
    • Hike and camp in remote wilderness settings
    • Hair trap and bear rub object setup and data/sample collection
    • Remote camera setup and collection
  • Other
    • designed and created the logo for the project (top right of this page)
    • designed part of and created logo for Whitebark Pine Foundation 2007 Meeting and created new logo (as of 2009) for Whitebark Pine Foundation
    • Black Bear Project: The methods used for the NDGBP also obtained black bear hair samples which was a unique opportunity to obtain information on the black bear population in the ecosystem. I wrote the study plan, wrote or assisted in writing grants we received to analyze the black bear samples ($100K), involved in analysis of the resulting data, manuscript preparation, and presentation of the results
    • Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem Grizzly Bear Database: Instrumental in the design and implementation of the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem Grizzly Bear Database. Obtained 30+ years of data (capture, mortality, marked bears, etc) and biological samples, created a comprehensive relational database and sample repository, entered most of the data, created required queries and reports in order to error check data and provide interface for users. The database is a cooperative effort between multiple agencies: USGS, USFWS, MTFWP, NPS, CKST, BFW, USFS, AB Sustainable Resource Development, BC Ministry of Environment, and Parks Canada.