Research Associate 1, EEB

Connecticut, United States
10 Dec 2020
End of advertisement period
10 Feb 2021
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Biological Sciences
Contract Type
Full Time

Position Focus:

Reporting to the Program Manager, the Research Associate will work with a team of researchers and informaticians to build, manage, and analyze biodiversity datasets. The candidate will be responsible for maintaining rigorous data standards and retaining the scientific integrities of data being uploaded to the Map of Life database. The candidate will generate new data products, prepare and upload data from different sources, liaise with data partners and experts, and work with the data mobilization team to oversee the digitization of spatial biodiversity information. They will work closely with the other team members to make sure that data products are being delivered in a timely and efficient manner. They will document procedures and communicate progress in an organized and logical manner.

Tasks specific to this role include:

  • Tracking and executing all project tasks that relate to and are completed using ESRI products such as ArcOnline and the Living Atlas and working closely with project partners at ESRI to ensure timely completion of deliverables.
  • Supporting the visualization and analysis of spatial biodiversity data using Esri’s ArcGIS suite of software (ArcMap, ArcGIS Online, ArcPro). This includes the use of desktop programs and web development.
  • Using the ArcGIS software suite, including its extensions (ArcMap: Geostatistical Analyst, Spatial Analyst. ArcPro: Raster Functions, Geostatistical Wizard) in raster and vector data processing workflows.
  • Using GIS and technical programming with Python, and various other languages (Arcade, R, SQL). Creating workflows using model builder and python scripts (including Jupyter notebooks and the ArcPro Python Interface).
  • Managing and manipulating data and data products for the Half Earth website; working closely with researchers and other team members to ensure timely publication of layers using ArcOnline and other tools.
  • Working closely with researchers and team members to prepare and publish data in ESRI’s Living Atlas.
  • Preparing metadata and maintaining tracking sheets and managing the ArcOnline account.
  • Using and combining knowledge from geography, ecology, biodiversity and environmental science to spport the mission of Map of Life and the Half Earth Project.
  • Using different coding platforms and languages (such as R, SQL, and Python) to perform analyses, clean and manipulate data, prepare data for uploading, and upload data to databases.
  • Quality controlling datasets ready for upload to the database.
  • Instructing and supporting student assistants and post grad associates with their regular tasks and providing technical and data support to researchers.

Map of Life aims to support effective global biodiversity education, monitoring, research and decision-making by assembling and integrating a wide range of knowledge about species distributions and their dynamics over time. Built on a scalable web platform geared for large biodiversity and environmental data, MOL provides the best-possible species distribution information together with a range of information and biodiversity indicator products. MOL leads the data integration and mapping efforts of the Half-Earth Project that aims to identify and prioritize target areas for global biodiversity conservation.

Essential Duties

  1. Determine best methodology for achieving goals efficiently and in a scientifically robust way.
  2. Assess the data quality of datasets prepared by technicians and other data contributors to first evaluate whether any additional work is required in order to meet data standards. 
  3. Perform a series of data manipulation tasks using automated approaches utilizing knowledge of ecology and environmental sciences as well as programming knowledge and skills.
  4. Prepare spatial biodiversity datasets to match complete phylogenies. Perform comprehensive literature review of new taxonomic descriptions to identify changes to species distributions and delineating the spatial coverage of new and updated species ranges based on published locality information.
  5. Oversee the daily activities of the data mobilization team, made up of Yale student research assistants. Ensure standards and protocols are being updated and executed.
  6. Analyze and summarize data from various projects for use in scientific papers, grant reporting, and web visualizations. Identify data gaps to drive priorities for data mobilization team.
  7. Determine the most efficient and scientifically rigorous approach for analyzing and summarizing data. Provide recommendations to the full team to change protocols and advise strategic changes to data collection, processing, visualizations, and/or provisioning.
  8. Ensure and maintain the integrity of biodiversity information for scientific analysis and meeting data contributor expectations for any data interpretation and visualization.
  9. Performs additional duties as assigned.

Required Education and Experience

  1. Master’s Degree in a scientific discipline and one year of experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

Required Skill/Ability 1

Familiarity with field surveys with the ability to interpret different types of data using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), ideally the ESRI products ArcOnline, ArcPro, and Living Atlas.

Required Skill/Ability 2:

Proficient with at least one programming language with the ability acquire new programming languages and techniques.

Required Skill/Ability 3:

Strong critical thinking, problem-solving and organizational skills with the ability to manage multiple projects and processes simultaneously.

Required Skill/Ability 4:

Demonstrated understanding of spatial analytical tools and methods.

Preferred Education, Experience and Skills:

Familiarity with Open Source GIS applications and tools such as QGIS, GDAL, and OGR. Some knowledge of geo-statistical and data mining techniques, and statistical software packages. Knowledge of and a passion for conservation and biodiversity.

Preferred Licenses or Certifications:

GISP or ESRI Certification.

Drug Screen


Health Screening


Background Check Requirements

All candidates for employment will be subject to pre-employment background screening for this position, which may include motor vehicle, DOT certification, drug testing and credit checks based on the position description and job requirements. All offers are contingent upon the successful completion of the background check. Please visit for additional information on the background check requirements and process.

Posting Disclaimer

The intent of this job description is to provide a representative summary of the essential functions that will be required of the position and should not be construed as a declaration of specific duties and responsibilities of the particular position. Employees will be assigned specific job-related duties through their hiring departments.

Affirmative Action Statement:

Yale University considers applicants for employment without regard to, and does not discriminate on the basis of, an individual’s sex, race, color, religion, age, disability, status as a veteran, or national or ethnic origin; nor does Yale discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protects people from sex discrimination in educational programs and activities at institutions that receive federal financial assistance. Questions regarding Title IX may be referred to the University’s Title IX Coordinator, at, or to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, 8th Floor, Five Post Office Square, Boston MA 02109-3921. Telephone: 617.289.0111, Fax: 617.289.0150, TDD: 800.877.8339, or Email:


Yale University is a tobacco-free campus

Similar jobs

Similar jobs