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Burrowing Owl Research Associate I

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
Escondido, United States Posted: March 24, 2024

The Research Associate I performs assigned laboratory, wildlife/plant care, field duties and/or training initiatives in support of a variety of research, endangered species propagation, and/or community initiatives. The position reports to a Supervisor level or higher in the Conservation Science Department. 


  • Perform a variety of laboratory, diagnostic, wildlife care, and/or field duties, depending on the assignment. 
  • Collect, collate, maintain, process, and analyze records relevant to current projects (e.g., data and biological samples). 
  • Collect, record and analyze data utilizing spreadsheet and database systems. 
  • Document, file, and maintain records. 
  • Conduct a variety of assigned research, husbandry, and training activities. 
  • Work with team of administrative assistant to maintain supply inventories and prepare purchase requisitions. 
  • Ensure laboratory, wildlife/plant care, and field equipment are properly maintained and calibrated and coordinates repairs and maintenance of equipment and facilities with administrative assistant. 
  • The successful candidate will work with site leads to monitor two newly established burrowing owl breeding nodes in addition to other key burrowing owl sites in San Diego County.
  • The candidate will be responsible for monitoring resident and translocated owls along with associated movements, and reproduction.
  • The candidate will work with the team and land managers to implement and assess the efficacy of new methods to document site occupancy and to quantify important site covariates including vegetation conditions, prey base, and relative abundance of burrows and the ecosystem engineers that create burrows.
  • The ideal candidate will have experience with avian monitoring in southern California, particularly burrowing owls, and the ability to identify important species within the grassland community and their sign. Avian handling experience to include trapping and banding, maintaining wildlife cameras, field data collection, photo processing, and photo review, and experience with passive acoustic monitoring devices such as Song Meters or AudioMoths is highly desirable. Interest in or experience contributing to the development of machine learning models to detect burrowing owls and other grassland species in wildlife camera photos and acoustic recordings is also desirable.
  • Timely data entry and proofing, participation in team meetings, and working as a team to ensure that project objectives, milestones, and research goals are met are essential.
  • The new team member will play an essential role in our Burrowing Owl Recovery Program and increase our capacity for burrowing owl conservation in San Diego County.
  • This position requires successful completion of a physical ability test.
  • This position involves work with susceptible species; you will be required to show proof of Measles vaccine as a condition of employment. 
  • One year of experience and/or certification in conducting laboratory or field-based research required.  
  • Experience with science communication or interpretation of scientific concepts preferred. 
  • Bachelor’s Degree in biological sciences or a specialized field specific to the position is required.  
  • Trained in methodology and equipment used in the assigned area of biological research, animal care, diagnostics, social science or science communication  
  • Proficient in data and record keeping.  
  • Able to operate moderately complex computer software programs.  
  • Able to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.  
  • Able to work effectively with others in a diverse environment 
  • Able to attend to the needs of assigned research collections and/or community members.  
  • Free admission to the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park
  • Family Passes
  • Complimentary Tickets
  • Local and In-House Discounts
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Wellness Program
  • Hourly Range: $25.77 - $28.48

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