Aquatic Invertebrate Technician

Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: 20 Jun 2023

This position is a part of the Non-Academic Staff Association (NASA).

This position has a term length of one year plus a day and offers a comprehensive benefits package which can be viewed at: Faculty & Staff Benefits .

Location - North campus. This role is hybrid with a mix of remote and in person

Working for the University of Alberta

The University of Alberta acknowledges that we are located on Treaty 6 territory, and respects the histories, languages and cultures of First Nations, Métis, Inuit and all First Peoples of Canada, whose presence continues to enrich our vibrant community.

The University of Alberta is teeming with change makers, community builders, and world shapers who lead with purpose each and every day. We are home to more than 40,000 students in 200+ undergraduate and 500+ graduate programs, over 13,000 faculty and staff, 260,000 alumni worldwide and have been recognized as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for over a decade.

Your work will have a meaningful influence on a fascinating cross section of people—from our students and stakeholders, to our renowned researchers and innovators who are quite literally curing diseases, making discoveries and generating solutions that make the world healthier, safer, stronger, and more just.

Position summary

The Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) is dedicated to tracking changes in biodiversity across the entirety of Alberta for the next 100 years, and this resultant information provides Albertans the ability to make informed decisions about the state of their environment in ways never before possible. Reporting to the Aquatic Invertebrate Coordinator, the Aquatic Invertebrate Technician’s core responsibilities are: identification of aquatic invertebrate specimens, preparation of aquatic invertebrates for research, data entry and quality assurance for aquatic invertebrate-related data, managing assets related to field and laboratory work, assisting with training and supervision of temporary members of the Aquatic Invertebrate Unit such as field technicians and volunteers, and participation in field and laboratory research.


Taxonomic Technical Support:

Participates in development of aquatic invertebrate taxonomy and ecological knowledge in support of the ABMI Business Plan.

  • Supporting logging, organizing, labeling, and temporary storage of high volumes of aquatic invertebrate specimens;
  • Assisting with detailed taxonomic identification for aquatic invertebrate species collected by ABMI;
  • Assisting with aquatic invertebrate data management including data entry, enumeration of specimens, data management through the ABMI portal and Taxonomic Workbench, and assisting with statistical analysis and summary reports;
  • Ensuring compliance with protocols for the back-up of all specimen data;
  • Assisting with the maintenance of nomenclature currency, accuracy and consistency;
  • Preparing selected ABMI aquatic invertebrate vouchers and related data for confirmation with other experts and/or gifting to museums or in support of research collaborations;
  • Coordinating, conducting and documenting aquatic invertebrates to aid in their identification, as well as the management, proper care, short-term storage and disposal of specimens.

Trains and Manages:

In cooperation with the Aquatic Invertebrate Coordinator, provides training related to the creation and delivery of aquatic invertebrate taxonomy and monitoring, supports in safety and asset management for the Aquatic Invertebrate Unit, and assists in the management of seasonal ABMI technicians or volunteers working in the ABMI Aquatic Invertebrate Unit.

  • Leads in ensuring laboratory and field activities follow all applicable safety regulations and are conducted to high safety standards;
  • Assists with aquatic invertebrate-specific training, management and assessments of ABMI summer staff, field crews and volunteers to ensure quality of specimen sorting and preparation in the field and in the laboratory;
  • Assists with periodic updates to training materials and software;
  • Develops reference materials of taxa to support training of laboratory and field technicians, and other interested parties;
  • Supports the Aquatic Invertebrate Coordinator through participation in hiring and training of new staff;
  • Coordinating acquisition, organization and maintenance of field and laboratory equipment and supplies.

Assists in and Undertakes Project Work:

Working with the Aquatic Invertebrate Coordinator, ABMI staff and collaborators, the Aquatic Invertebrate Technician will conduct project-specific work.

  • Assists with the exploration of new technologies (e.g., DNA barcoding) and resources to support the study of aquatic invertebrates;
  • Assists or leads in the description of new species and/or validation of scientific names;
  • Assists or leads in the preparation of scientific manuscripts for submission to peer-reviewed journals;
  • Accurate, high-quality documentation of aquatic invertebrates, which may include scanning electron microscopy and high-resolution macro or micro-photography;
  • Participates in field or laboratory research projects as needs and opportunities arise;
  • In support of the above, maintains currency in research advances in aquatic invertebrate ecology.

Supports Knowledge Dissemination and Stakeholder Engagement:

Facilitates direct and indirect understanding of ABMI data with scientists, the public, and ABMI stakeholders.

  • Assists or leads in outreach activities, such as presentations (scientific and non-scientific) and handling of public enquiries (e.g., specimen identification on ABMI’s NatureLynx smartphone application);
  • Attends and/or presents at meetings of professional societies;
  • Supports ABMI Communications Officer in development of communication material as described in the ABMI Communication Plan;
  • Delivers workshops on ABMI-related aquatic invertebrate projects;
  • Participates in publishing research findings in peer reviewed journals, technical reports, popular literature, and/or websites.

Minimum Qualifications

  • B.Sc. in biology with a minimum 2 years experience in Alberta based aquatic invertebrate taxonomy (sorting and identification)
  • Certification from the Society for Fresh Water Science in EPT and General Arthropods
  • Experience supervising an aquatic invertebrate sorting lab (minimum 5 sorting technicians)

Preferred Qualifications

Preference given to those with:

  • Knowledge and skills associated with standard taxonomic practices, collection and preparation of aquatic invertebrate specimens;
  • Knowledge of aquatic invertebrate ecology, taxonomy and systematics;
  • Specific experience with aquatic invertebrate sorting, identification to the species level;
  • Experience with the use of taxonomic keys;
  • Microscopic dissection and photography;
  • Experience with specimen data management systems;
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills;
  • Demonstrated ability to work cooperatively in a team environment;
  • Valid Alberta Driver’s license;
  • Valid First Aid Certificate.

Note: Online applications are accepted until midnight Mountain Standard Time of the closing date.

We thank all applicants for their interest; however, only those individuals selected for an interview will be contacted.

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