Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  Interdisciplinary: Research Ecologist/Soil Scientist/Physical Scientist
Department:  Department Of Agriculture
Agency:  Agricultural Research Service
Job Announcement Number:  ARS-X14E-0046

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

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$69,497.00 to $107,434.00 / Per Year
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 to Tuesday, May 06, 2014
Full Time - Permanent
Few vacancies in the following location:
Tifton, GA View Map
US Citizens and Status Candidates and those eligible under Special Hiring Authorities


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

The Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory (SEWRL) in Tifton, GA is looking for a unique scientist to conduct independent and team research to develop and apply remote sensing technologies to elucidate relationships between landscape components, agricultural production practices and the delivery of ecosystem services. 



This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies.


  • Occasional Travel
  • For meetings and conferences


  • No


  • You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this position
  • Suitable for Federal employment, determined by a background investigation
  • Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with Selective Service
  • You must undergo a preemployment fingerprint check


Back to top

You will serve as a Research Ecologist/Soil Scientist/Physical Scientist at the Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory (SEWRL) in Tifton, Georgia.  The mission of the SEWRL is to develop scientific understanding and associated technologies of watershed systems essential to protect and enhance the environmental and natural resource base upon which a viable, sustainable, and productive agricultural economy depends.  The incumbent will conduct independent and team research to develop and apply remote sensing technologies to elucidate relationships between landscape components, agricultural production practices, and the delivery of ecosystem services.  Research will focus on interpretation of spatial and temporal linkages between changes in agricultural management and the delivery and value of ecosystem services in the coastal plain and will be designed to solve problems associated with soil and water quality and to develop conservation practices at multiple scales using diverse approaches. The incumbent's research requires the identification of appropriate scale(s) at which specific signals are most effectively separated from noise.  For certain parameters, this may be an area of thousands of square kilometers; a watershed of a given size; or a small plot.



Back to top

Basic Requirements:  Applicants must meet the following criteria in order to be eligible: 


GS-0408: Research Ecologist:
Degree: A. 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 have included at least 9 semester hours in ecology and 12 semester hours in physical and mathematical sciences.


GS-0470: Research Soil Scientist:
Degree:  A. soil science or a closely related discipline that included 30 semester hours or equivalent in biological, physical or earth science with a minimum of 15 semester hours in such subjects as soil genesis, pedology, soil chemistry, soil physics and soil fertility. OR B. combination of education and experience – courses equivalent to a major in soil science or a related discipline that included at least 30 semester hours in the biological, physical or earth sciences.  At least 15 of these semester hours must have been in the areas specified in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.


GS-1301: Research Physical Scientist:

Degree:  A. physical science, engineering or mathematics that included 24 semester hours in physical science and/or related engineering science such as mechanics, dynamics, properties of materials and electronics.  OR B. combination of education and experience – education equivalent to one of the majors shown in A above that included at least 24 semester hours in physical science and/or related engineering science, plus appropriate experience or additional education.



Applicants for the GS-12 grade level must possess a Ph.D or equivalent doctoral degree or must possess one full year specialized experience equivalent to the GS-11 grade level in the federal service.


Applicants for the GS-13 grade level must possess one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-12 grade level in the federal service.
Specialized Experience is experience directly related to the position to be filled.  The specialized experience requirements for this position are:
1. Knowledge of the principles, theories and practices of agronomy, landscape ecology, soil science or hydrology in order to elucidate relationships between landscape components and the delivery of ecosystem services.
2. Ability to use remote sensing technologies, geospatial statistical techniques and geographic information systems to interface to spatially-explicit watershed modeling platforms.
3. Ability to conceive, plan, conduct and publish research results related to agronomy, landscape ecology, soil science or hydrology.

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 will have to 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/accredited U.S. education programs to be acceptable for Federal employment.  It is your responsibility to provide such evidence when applying.  Please visit the Office of Personnel Management's website for additional information on this topic.

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 the announcement.



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.


Back to top

The Federal government offers a number of exceptional benefits to its employees.  The following link provides an overview of the benefits currently offered to Federal employees:



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 plus 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).


Back to top

Applications may be mailed, faxed, or e-mailed to the appropriate address and/or facsimile number listed below, but they must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, May 06, 2014.  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 5104
Beltsville, MD  20705-5104


Fax:  301-504-1536

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.


Susan Mooring
Phone: (301)504-1360
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.   

Back to top
EEO Policy Statement | Reasonable Accommodation Policy Statement | Veterans Information | Legal and Regulatory Guidance