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This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  Interdisciplinary: Research Ecologist/Research Rangeland Management Specialist
Department:  Department Of Agriculture
Agency:  Agricultural Research Service
Job Announcement Number:  ARS-X13W-0040

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$73,848.00 to $134,899.00 / Per Year
Friday, February 15, 2013 to Friday, March 15, 2013
Full Time - Permanent
1 vacancy in the following location:
Fort Collins, CO United StatesView Map
US Citizens and Status Candidates


Find Solutions to Agricultural Problems that Affect Americans Every Day, From Field to Table

Seeking permanent, full-time scientist to develop an innovative research program addressing the ecology and management of large landscapes of semiarid rangeland ecosystems. Objectives include the development of adaptive rangeland management strategies that sustain multiple ecosystem goods and services in the face of increasing climatic variability.


  • You MUST Be A U.S. Citizen To Apply For This Position
  • Suitable For Federal Employment As Determined By A Background Investigation
  • Males Born After 12/31/59 MUST Be Registered With The Selective Service


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Major Duties:
The incumbent's primary research responsibility is the application of ecological theory and knowledge to develop management strategies for large landscapes in semiarid rangelands that balance objectives of improving livestock production and enhancing the provision of other ecosystem goods and services, such as soil resources, greenhouse gas emissions, plant community composition, and wildlife habitat. Conducting sucessful research requires an understanding of applied range management, landscape ecology, plant community/ecosystem ecology, and the role of climate, management, and disturbances in the structure and function of semiarid rangelands. The incumbent is expected to apply quantitative approaches to assess potential trade-offs and synergies associated with livestock production and management for other ecosystem services, and to develop innovative approaches to adapt rangeland management strategies to extreme climatic events, such as drought. The incumbent will lead research in the large landscapes of mixed-grass prairie and sagebrush grasslands of eastern Wyoming including the Thunder Basin National Grassland, and contribute to team research in the shortgrass steppe of eastern Colorado.

Working Conditions and Other Considerations:

Field work will be conducted in prevailing weather conditions and may require extensive walking and/or bending and stooping. Domestic travel is required. Work conducted in a research laboratory has inherent risks and requires use of appropriate personal protective equipment. 



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Basic Qualifications


GS-0408 - Research Ecologist - Degree: biology, or a related field of science underlying ecological research that included at least 30 semester hours in basic and applied biological sciences. These hours must include at least 9 semester hours in ecology, and 12 semester hours in physical and mathematical sciences.


GS-0454 - Research Rangeland Management Specialist - Degree: range management; or a related discipline that included at least 42 semester hours in a combination of the plant, animal, and soil sciences, and natural resources management, as follows:

Range Management - At least 18 semester hours of course work in range management, including courses in such areas as basic principles of range management, range plants, range ecology, range inventories and studies, range improvements, and ranch or range planning.

Directly Related Plant, Animal, and Soil Sciences - At least 15 semester hours of directly related courses in the plant, animal, and soil sciences including at least one course in each of these three scientific areas, i.e., plant, animal, and soil sciences. Courses in such areas as plant taxonomy, plant physiology, plant ecology, animal nutrition, livestock production, and soil morphology or soil classification are acceptable.

Related Resource Management Studies: At least 9 semester hours of course work in related resource management subjects, including sources in such areas as wildlife management, watershed management, natural resources or agricultural economics, forestry, agronomy, forages, and outdoor recreation management OR

A Combination of Education and Experience - at least 42 semester hours of course work in the combination of plant, animal, soil sciences, and natural resources management shown above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.


Additional Qualifications


GS-12: In order to qualify, applicants MUST have a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree OR one year specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-11 grade level in the Federal Service.


GS-13: In order to qualify, applicants MUST demonstrate one year of Specialized Experience equivalent to at least the GS-12 grade level in the Federal Service.


GS-14: In order to qualify, applicants MUST demonstrate one year of Specialized Experience equivalent to at least the GS-13 grade level in the Federal Service.


Graduate education MUST BE DIRECTLY RELATED to the work of the position and MUST HAVE EQUIPPED you with the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities to do the work.

Specialized Experience is experience directly related to the position to be filled.  The Specialized Experience requirements for this position are:

1. Knowledge of range science or ecology in order to support on-going research on adaptive rangeland management strategies.

2. Skill in using and evaluating state-and-transition models.

3. Ability to use remote sensing and/or quantitative field based measurements to evaluate the influence of management and climate variability on large landscapes of rangeland ecosystems.


4. Ability to understand complex interactions between livestock and other aspects of rangeland ecosystems in order to provide management strategies to a variety of land users.


5. Ability to conceive, plan, conduct, and report research results in peer-reviewed, scientific journals.

Applicants MUST address the Specialized Experience requirements in their resume or application documents.  Applications that do not reflect the Specialized Experience requirements will not be deemed qualified.

To be considered for a research scientist position, you must submit a one-page abstract of your MS thesis and/or Ph.D. dissertation.  Also, submit a list of names, addresses, and phone numbers of persons familiar with your stature, contributions, recognition; any honors or awards received; memberships in professional or honor societies; invitations to make presentations at scientific/technical meetings; scientific society office and committee assignments; presentations (other than invitation); and publications.

Vacant research positions may be filled at one of several grade levels depending upon the scientific impact of the person selected.  A peer review may be required to determine the appropriate grade level of the position and supplemental materials may be required from the selectee.

esearch scientists have open-ended promotion potential.  Research accomplishments and their impact on the duties and responsibilities of positions are evaluated periodically.  The grade level is limited only by the individual's demonstrated ability to perform research of recognized importance to science and technology.  *Final grade level may be determined by a peer review panel.

This position has a positive education requirement.  You MUST submit a copy of your academic transcripts OR a list of college courses with credit hours, dates completed, and grade point average or class ranking to verify education when applying for this position.  If this information is not provided, your education may not be appropriately evaluated and you may lose consideration for this position.  If you are selected for this position, you MUST provide an official copy of your transcripts prior to entering on duty.

Graduate education must be directly related to the work of the position and must have equipped you with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work.

Education completed outside of the United States must be deemed equivalent to that gained in conventional and/or accredited U.S. education programs to be acceptable for Federal employment.  It is your responsibility to provide such evidence when applying; for more information go to the Office of Personnel Management's website.

Time-in-Grade restrictions apply for ALL candidates considered under Alternative Merit Promotion.

ALL qualification requirements MUST be met by the Closing Date of this Vacancy Announcement.

Applicants must be available to report for duty at the time a selection is made.  Selections are typically made within 30 days of the Closing Date of this Vacancy Anouncement.



You will be evaluated to determine if you meet the basic and any additional requirements.  The Agricultural Research Service uses a category rating process.  Based on evaluation of all written materials submitted in application for the position, you will be determined to be Ineligible if you do not meet eligibility and/or minimum qualifications criteria; Eligible if you meet all eligibility and minimum qualifications criteria; OR Quality if you meet quality criteria in addition to eligibility and minimum qualifications criteria.


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The Federal government offers a number of exceptional benefits to its employees; for an overview of benefits currently offered go to:



Displaced/Surplus Employees: Individuals eligible under the USDA Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) or the Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP) must be well qualified for the position to receive consideration for special priority selection.  CTAP and ICTAP eligibles within the local commuting area will be considered well qualified if they meet basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors, and are rated in the Quality Category as described in the How You Will Be Evaluated section.  Employees seeking CTAP/ICTAP eligibility must submit a copy of the agency notice, a copy of their most recent performance rating and a copy of their most recent SF-50 noting current position, grade level and duty location.  Click here for additional information on CTAP and ICTAP.

If you are a veteran with preference eligibility and you are claiming 5-point Veterans' Preference, you MUST attach Member 4 copy of your DD-214. If you are claiming 10-point Veterans' Preference, you MUST attach an SF-15, Application for 10-Point Veterans' Preference and the proof required by that form.

Qualified candidates eligible under the Veterans Employment Opportunities Act (VEOA), a special hiring authority, will be considered.  VEOA eligibles are preference eligibles or veterans who have been separated from the armed forces under honorable conditions after 3 years or more of active service.  Veterans who are released under honorable conditions shortly before completing a 3-year tour are also eligible.

Status candidates who wish to be considered under both alternative merit promotion and non-status competitive examining must submit two complete applications when the position is open to both status and non-status candidates.  When only one application is received, it will be considered under alternative merit promotion procedures.

Financial Disclosure Requirement: Federal employees are subject to prohibitions against officially dealing with outside organizations in which they have a financial interest.  If hired for this position, you may be required to submit a financial disclosure report within 30 days of the effective date of your appointment and annually thereafter.

False statements: If you make a false statement in any part of your application, you may not be hired; may be fired after beginning work; or may be fined or jailed.

Reasonable Accommodation: If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, or have questions regarding reasonable accommodation and/or accessibility for any part of the application and hiring process, please contact the Disability Program Manager on 202-720-6161 or through the DC Relay Service on 202-855-1234 (TDD).


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Applications may be mailed, e-mailed, or faxed to the appropriate address and/or facsimile number listed below, but they MUST be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Friday, March 15, 2013.  Certain individuals are entitled to file a late application and must contact the Agency Contact listed below for details and application instructions.

Department of Agriculture
5601 Sunnyside Avenue, Stop 5106
Beltsville, MD  20705-5106



If sending your application as an attachment to an email, do not send zipped files.  They will be removed in accordance with standard electronic security procedures.  If hand delivered, be sure your application is received in the Human Resources Division on or before closing date.


To ensure your application fully outlines your qualifications and eligibility for this position, please review the application package checklist at:

NOTE:  Applications received in postage paid government envelopes will not be considered.


Catherine Beck
Phone: (301)504-1573
TDD: 202-855-1234
Agency Information:
Agricultural Research Service
5601 Sunnyside Avenue
Beltsville, MD


You will be notified by mail once your application is received.  After a review of your complete application is made, you will be notified or your rating and/or referral to the hiring official.  If further evaluation or interviews are required you will be contacted.   

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