Research Ecologist

District of Columbia, D.C
Sep 13, 2021
Sep 15, 2021
Analyst, Research
Full Time


This position is located in the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI), National Zoological Park (NZP), Washington, DC. The incumbent will formulate, develop, and execute independent research projects that investigate basic and applied questions about the ecology of birds in coffee and other agroforestry systems.

Learn more about this agency


As a Research Ecologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's Migratory Bird Center, your specific duties will include:
  • Designing and implementing basic and applied ecological studies of birds in coffee and other agroforestry systems and analyzing datasets collected from this work.
  • Developing and supporting collaborative scientific research projects as part of the Smithsonian's Bird Friendly agroforestry programs.
  • Publishing the results of scholarly research in the peer-reviewed literature.
  • Obtaining competitive research funding as a principal investigator.
  • Providing scientific service to the Smithsonian Institution and the broader scholarly community, particularly expert information and advice on technical matters about ecological crop certification standards and the ecology and conservation of birds in agroforestry systems.
  • Maintaining professional competence through continuing education, membership in professional societies, attendance at conferences and seminars, and keeping abreast of current publications in relevant ecological and agroforestry disciplines.
  • Mentoring graduate students and postdocs, and providing professional training and outreach in the ecology and conservation of birds in agroforestry systems.

Travel Required

Occasional travel - You will be expected to travel for this position.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • Pass Pre-employment Background Investigation
  • May need to complete a Probationary Period
  • Maintain a Bank Account for Direct Deposit/Electronic Transfer
  • Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with Selective Service.
  • U.S. Citizenship

Qualification requirements must be met within 30 days of the job announcement closing date.

For information on qualification requirements, see Qualification Standards Handbook for General Schedule Positions viewable on the web at


Basic Requirements:

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 have included at least 9 semester hours in ecology, and 12 semester hours in physical and mathematical sciences. (You must submit unofficial transcripts in order to receive further consideration).

In addition to the Basic Requirement listed above, you must meet the required specialized experience below:

Specialized Experience:
Applicants must possess one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-11 level in the Federal Service or comparable pay band system. For this position specialized experience is defined as Conducting field research on the ecology of birds in agroforestry systems; Publishing multiple papers in these areas in the peer-reviewed literature, including at least one as lead author; Obtaining extramural funding for projects in these areas; Experience working with ecological certification programs and farmers in agroforestry systems; Experience training students or postdocs in avian ecology and presentation of multiple talks about the ecology of birds in agroforestry systems at scientific conferences.


Possess a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral in a directly related field of study appropriate for this position.

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

Part-time and/or unpaid experience related to this position will be considered to determine the total number of years and months of experience. Be sure to note the number of paid or unpaid hours worked each week.


This job does not have an education qualification requirement.

Additional information

Flexible Spending Accounts -
Health Insurance -
Leave -
Life Insurance -
Long Term Care Insurance -
Retirement Program -

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

Your application will be evaluated first for the basic qualifications described above. The applications that meet the basic qualifications will be evaluated further against the following criteria:
  • Ability to conduct independent research on the ecology and conservation of agroforestry systems.
  • Ability to design and implement field-based, ecological certification programs with farmers in agroforestry programs.
  • Ability with ecological certification programs and experience developing agroforestry research.
  • Ability with professional training, education, and scientific outreach.

Applicants who meet or exceed minimum qualifications will be assigned to one of three category groups based on job-related criteria:

Best Category - Meets the minimum qualification requirements and excels in most of the job related competencies above.

Better Category - Meets the minimum qualification requirements and satisfies most of the job related competencies above.

Good Category - Meets the minimum qualification requirements, but does not satisfy most of the job related competencies above to a substantive degree.

This category rating process does not add veterans' preference points or apply the "rule of three", but protects the rights of veterans by placing them ahead of non-preference eligibles within each category. A selecting official may make selections from the highest quality category (Best Category) provided no preference eligible in that category is passed over to select a non-preference eligible in that category unless the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 3317(b) or 3318(b) are satisfied. Preference eligibles who meet minimum qualification requirements and who have a compensable service-connected disability of at least 10 percent must be listed in the highest quality category, except when the position being filled is scientific or professional at the GS-9 grade level or higher. Applicants who have not submitted a resume in the USAjobs system and/or have not answered all of the vacancy questions will not be considered for this position.

Important Note:

The review of your resume will determine your final rating and should provide sufficient information regarding how your education and experience relate to this position, including the major duties and qualifications criteria listed.

To preview questions please click here .

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance

Drug test required

Position sensitivity and risk
Non-sensitive (NS)/Low Risk

Trust determination process

Required Documents

Your application package should include the following documents:
  • Resume - Your resume can be uploaded and attached to your application or created using the USA Jobs on-line resume builder. If you want to receive full credit for relevant experience your resume MUST contain the job title (including the occupational series and grade if it is Federal), duties, starting and ending dates (month and year), hours worked per week, and salary.

    USAJOBS has guidance on how to ensure that you submit a complete resume: If you have not written a Federal resume before, you may watch this Resume Writing Tutorial video on the USAJOBS YouTube channel , or read through a helpful Resume Writing FAQ article on the USAJOBS Help Site to learn what details you should, and should not, include in your resume. If any of the above information is not included in your resume we may not be able to fully credit you for your experience.
  • Proof of Veteran's Preference - DD214 (Member 4 Copy), if you are a veteran. Additionally, applicants claiming 10-point preference must complete Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference, as well as additional documentation required by the SF-15, such as a VA letter.
  • Unofficial school transcripts, if the position has an education requirement or if you are using education to qualify. If selected for the position, you must provide an official transcript before appointment.
  • Proof of U.S. accreditation for foreign study, if applicable.
  • Proof of severe disability if you are requesting special placement consideration.
  • Proof of eligibility for a military spouse appointment, such as a permanent change station military order.
  • Proof of eligibility for any other special appointing authority not specifically mentioned here.

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