• Conservation Science
  • Full Time


The Senior Ecologist/Research and Development Manager - Western North America plays a leadership role in the advancement, development and application of ecological information standards, methods and tools to support conservation decision making. The western North America Region includes the western USA, western Canada, and Mexico. This position is responsible for providing regional leadership, new partner cultivation, and project development by fostering and maintaining relationships with agencies and institutions that will benefit from NatureServe's products and services and support NatureServe's conservation priorities. 


  • Work closely with the Chief Ecologist to provide strategic vision for advancing NatureServe's Ecology Department priorities within the region. Provide input to organizational strategic planning and direction.
  • Lead cultivation of new collaborations and maintain key partnerships with funding agencies (federal and state agencies, NGOs, and others) that will benefit from NatureServe's products and services and support NatureServe's conservation priorities within the region. Lead the development of project concepts, proposal writing, and budgeting to support NatureServe priorities.
  • Work with NatureServe Member Program Coordinators (and other staff as appropriate) to advance regional science priorities and help strengthen program participation.
  • Advance the regional development and maintenance of terrestrial and aquatic ecological classifications by working with staff, partners, and users to support this work.
  • Help to develop new methods and tools to advance biodiversity conservation and support the creation and application of new standard ecological data. Examples include ecological integrity assessments, climate change vulnerability assessments, and conservation status assessments.
  • Participate on interdisciplinary teams and oversee the application of ecological methods in support of conservation decision making. Complete project-based tasks including planning and oversight of research, field data collection, spatial and tabular data analysis, and product development.
  • Publish research findings and represent NatureServe by providing training and presentations at conferences and workshops. Oversee the management of ecological data in the region and advance its access through NatureServe websites,, and other online platforms.
  • Recruit, train, and supervise regional Ecology Department staff focused on project management and technical project work.
  • The essential job functions listed above are not meant to be all-inclusive and may be subject to change at any time.


  • Ph.D. or M.S. in Ecology, specifically in the area of Landscape Ecology, Vegetation Science, Terrestrial Ecosystem Science, Quantitative Ecology, Biodiversity Conservation Science, or a closely related field.  Experience in the classification and description of vegetation, including experience with the quantitative analysis of ecological data.  Over six years of practical experience in the application of ecological concepts and information for resource management and conservation.
  • Record of successful program and project development and management.  This includes setting and prioritizing work goals and deadlines, supervision of direct and indirect employees, and the successful management of projects and finances.  Demonstrated ability to raise funds to build and sustain a conservation science program.
  • Knowledge of the distribution, plant species composition, and environmental characteristics of vegetation communities of all or large portions of the region.  Field experience in substantial parts of the region desirable.
  • Experience with spatial modeling, analysis, and map production, field surveys, data analysis, conservation assessment and planning.  Experience with these in the context of Natural Heritage Programs (CDC's) desirable.  Experience with ArcMap and Microsoft Office Suite is required.
  • Demonstrated ability to work as a 'team player' under a variety of situations, including a) independently and b) cooperatively in tightly- and loosely-integrated teams.  Experience in developing and implementing strategic vision and plans for a growing organization.
  • Proven ability for effective oral and written communications (in English) in a wide range of situations and to a wide variety of cooperators and partners, including Natural Heritage Programs, conservation NGOs, federal agencies, and academic researchers.


  • Fluency in written and oral Spanish is preferred.



  • Ability to remain in a stationary position 50% of the time 
  • Ability to move about inside the office to access file cabinets, copiers and storage rooms 
  • Requires frequent communication, verbal and written 
  • Ability to hear well and speak clearly to engage effectively with NatureServe partners, clients, Board members, network members and remote staff 
  • Ability to lift and carry audio/visual equipment, conference and meeting materials up to 25lbs  
  • Requires ability to visually or otherwise identify, observe or assess 
  • Ability to travel independently nationally and internationally to attend meetings and conferences 
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