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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Illinois Natural History Survey

The Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) investigates and documents the biological resources of Illinois and other areas and acquires and provides natural history information that can be used to promote the common understanding, conservation, and management of these resources. INHS is part of the Prairie Research Institute (PRI) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which is centrally located between Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis. Learn more at

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The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer that recruits and hires qualified candidates without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, disability, or veteran status. For more information, visit


The Illinois Natural History Survey is seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate to explore and quantitatively assess existing fish length and age data to evaluate various approaches to fish stock assessment and identify/pursue data gaps to characterize reach-specific population demographics of recreational and commercially important sport fishes in Illinois and Mississippi rivers (e.g., Pool 26 of the Mississippi River, La Grange reach of the Illinois River). The results of this evaluation will guide ongoing sampling strategies to obtain an unbiased representative sample for any given sportfish species within a navigation pool and will provide information required for development and evaluation of harvest regulations. This project will be guaranteed for at least 2 years with possible extension for three additional years.  The position duties will require a balance of field sampling, laboratory science, data analysis, and writing.

The associate will work under the direction of Jim Lamer and work closely with the Illinois River Biological Station scientists, other INHS researchers and faculty, and staff from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Division of Fisheries. The position is based in Havana, Illinois, at the Illinois River Biological Station ( where the applicant will join an interdisciplinary community of researchers and graduate students. Funding for the position is guaranteed for at least two years with possible extension for three additional years as project funding allows.

Major Duties and Responsibilities

  • Assimilate and explore fish length and age data from various published and agency sources and identify data needs and develop solutions to fill those data gaps.
  • Compare underutilized length-based estimators to age-based methods to determine species/conditions in which each of these are appropriate.
  • Evaluate current designs, sample sizes, gears, and effort allocations used to sample fish communities in Illinois’ rivers and identify a standard protocol to best meet management objectives.
  • Work closely and coordinate efforts between state, federal, and University partners associated with the project.
  • Analyze data, synthesize results, and write annual technical reports and multiple manuscripts for submission to peer-reviewed scientific journals.
  • Disseminate research findings to management agencies, the scientific community, and general public through presentations at professional meetings, public outreach activities, and in written reports
  • Ensure the safety of staff and equipment.
  • Respond to requests for scientific/technical information and communicate effectively with collaborators.
  • Participate in community outreach and service event, and mentor hourly staff.
  • Keep abreast of developments in this discipline.
  • Perform other duties as needed in order to further the mission and goals of the Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute, and the University of Illinois.


Applicants should have a Ph.D. (within the last 10 years or by the start date) with experience conducting research related to large rivers or other large-freshwater ecosystems. Alternate degree fields in ecology or natural sciences will be considered depending on the nature and depth of the experience as it relates to this position and the strength and experience applying and developing quantitative techniques. Applicant should possess strong analytical skills and strong proficiency with R or SAS statistical software and its application to ecological-based statistics.  Applicants with experience analyzing stock-assessment data or similar analyses and are familiar with implementation of ecological models are preferred.                                       


A minimum of three years of experience applying statistical techniques to ecological data and familiarity or have conducted field and laboratory research on large rivers or other large aquatic systems. Must be able to write clearly and scientifically as demonstrated through prior publications. Must possess excellent organizational, interpersonal, and oral and written communication skills. Ability to apply analytical/scientific thinking to define and solve problems. Ability to work independently, collect and analyze field data, and coherently communicate findings (verbally and in writing) to granting agencies and to scientific and public communities. Experience managing and analyzing large data sets is a bonus.  Skills in effective communication, personal relations, collaboration, organization, teamwork, and leadership are required.  Demonstrated ability to perform effectively in a diverse and fast-paced work environment under stringent deadlines with minimal supervision.  Attention to detail, sound judgment, and strong conflict resolution skills are required.  Proficiency in Microsoft Office, R or comparable platform, GIS, and other commonly used software is required.  Must have valid driver's license and experience driving boats on rivers or other large bodies of water is preferred. 

Salary and Appointment

Funding for the position is guaranteed for two years with possible extension for three additional years as project funding allows, with a salary of $50,000 plus benefits.  Anticipated start date of June or July 2022.


For full consideration, applications should be received by Feb. 28, 2022, but this position will remain open until filled. To be considered for the position, applicants should send a 1) cover letter that clearly articulates your qualifications and experiences that make you a viable candidate for this position and should address the qualifications listed above, 2) a CV, and 3) the names and contact information (including e-mail addresses) of three professional references to Dr. Jim Lamer, Large River Ecologist, at

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