2022 field technician position application period is closed.

A researcher measures an endangered Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog.

Below is the text of our 2022 field crew advertisement. The application period is currently closed. If you have questions about a submitted application, please contact mountainlakesresearchgroup.jobs@gmail.com.

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We seek individuals with passion for conservation and research in challenging conditions, and extensive mountain experience. Follow the links at the bottom of this post for detailed job descriptions and application instructions.

Over the past quarter century, we have documented dramatic, disease-driven declines of mountain yellow-legged frogs across California’s Sierra Nevada. But we have also documented the beginning of their recovery in recent years. In 2022, we will hire up to six field technicians for two projects, described below. These technicians will be critical to sustaining our long-term research of frog declines and recovery in 2022, and to evaluate future recovery opportunities with partners in the National Park Service.

As part of our team, technicians conduct frog population surveys, disease surveys, and frog translocations/reintroductions. Our team studies the amphibians in lakes, ponds, and meadows across the remote, alpine Sierra Nevada landscape. We backpack 10-20+ miles to reach study sites, camp for 3-10 days, and work in all conditions, for 12-14 weeks of the summer. Although there are physical challenges, there are scenic rewards. Furthermore, we are motivated by the positive impact that our research has on frog recovery. If this sounds like the perfect opportunity for you or someone you know, please apply or share!

Inventory focus: Explore the depths of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park or Yosemite National Park. Inventory sites where Rana muscosa and R. sierrae occurred historically.

Disease resilience focus: Dig deep at intensively studied frog populations to evaluate recovery in the presence of the amphibian chytrid fungus. Work in both Parks and nearby National Forests.

These projects are based out of (and crews will live at) the amazing Valentine Eastern Sierra Reserves in Mammoth Lakes, California!

Technology aids conservation: Observing frog behavior in frozen lakes using ROVs.

“What do frogs do in winter?” That is a question we hear frequently. Meters-thick ice covers high elevation Sierra Nevada lakes for about nine months of the year. For an animal that spends summer days lounging on rocks in the sun, winter imposes a radical shift in lifestyle. But historically, we could not document frog winter behavior through direct observation. Although scuba diving allows observation of some taxa, winter ice, elevation, and remoteness prevent us from diving in Sierra lakes.

Enter David Lang and his team, who developed the Trident underwater drone at OpenROV and Sofar Ocean Technologies. Over the past few years, our team used a Trident to search for frogs in a frozen lake. This technology allowed us to find frogs and tadpoles, and to capture video to document their overwintering behavior. David and some of his colleagues joined us at our study lake on two late winter expeditions and experienced our “eureka” moments in which we saw frogs and tadpoles as never before. Through the lens of the Trident and the VR goggles, we finally saw the frog’s eye view of life under the ice.

In his recent OneZero article, David describes how the Trident makes this project possible. More generally, he explores the potential for tech to enhance conservation projects. We are happy to see David’s story published, and honored that he focused on our project. Read his story here.