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Mosaics in Science Program - Position Description

Public Land Name: Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Position Title: Paleontology Technician
Agency: NPS
Position ID Number: 2012046
Location: Salt Flat, TX
Position Description: The GeoCorps participant will be responsible for developing 2 products: 1) a trail monitoring guide for trails with sensitive paleontological resources and 2) a taxonomic identification guide for a fossil taxa. Monitoring Guide: This effort will follow a prescribed format developed for monitoring efforts by park staff. Participant will make several single day field traverses of target areas to validate the monitoring guide efficacy. Some portion of the effort (up to 10% of the time) will consist of using a GPS unit to map additional monitoring points. Participant will use Excel spreadsheets to organize and prepare field data as well as download and organize photographs for entry into the park’s paleontological database. Taxonomic Guide: This effort will follow a prescribed format for development of a dichotomous key for a single taxonomic group. Participant will review primary literature and construct a dichotomous key for identification of fossil material. Additional Duties: Participant may also assist the park geologist regarding outside researcher efforts or performing fossil salvage operations during trail maintenance work. Additional assignments may include in-office management of collected specimens and related databases. PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Prepare and print Paleontological Resource Monitoring Guides for trails with critical paleontological resources in Guadalupe Mountains National Park from baseline data maintained in park resource files and assist in the development of taxonomic guides for paleontological taxa for educational purposes. PROJECT JUSTIFICATION: Guadalupe Mountains National Park was established because of the exquisite geological and paleontological resources. The enabling legislation was intended to protect, preserve, and interpret the Middle Permian geology of West Texas for the American public and international scientific communities. The park contains the IUGS Global Stratotype Section and Point for the Middle Permian (Guadalupian) series as well as GSSP’s for the Roadian, Wordian, and Capitanian Stage boundaries. Hiking trails traverse a nearly continuous sequence of near-shore and deep marine litho- and biofacies providing opportunities for visitors and scientists to view fossil marine environments and backreef, reef, foreslope, and deep basin ecological associations. PROJECT BACKGROUND: Guadalupe Mountains National Park has completed an intensive paleontological inventory of fossil resources adjacent to hiking trails. The completed inventory was used to identify locations of unique or unusual fossils or extremely well-preserved fossil associations. During the inventory, GPS coordinates were logged and photo-documentation of existing physical conditions established. The next phase of the inventory effort, using the baseline data gathered, will produce a series of Monitoring Trail Guides for use by Law Enforcement, Interpretive, and Resource Management staff. This position is offered through the Geological Society of America's GeoCorps America Program in partnership with the National Park Service’s Geoscientists-in-the-Parks Program.
Materials to be produced by participant: ANTICIPATED RESULTS: A template for the Monitoring Guide has been developed. Guadalupe Mountains National Park anticipates the construction and field-validation of 2-3 additional guides per year until 9 monitoring guides have been completed. MONITORING GOALS: These monitoring guides and supporting documentation will enable Guadalupe Mountains National Park to monitor and document short-term effects and long-term trends of human and natural events on critical fossil resources. The supporting monitoring documentation will enable park management to address and monitor the efficacy of current protection measures.
Qualifications: Preferably upper-level undergraduate geoscience student with required course work in historical geology, paleontology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, and field methods & mapping. Additional course work in GIS applications to geological problems and experience using GPS units and post-processing software would make the candidate more competitive. Person with M.S. or Ph.D. in a geoscience field is equally acceptable. The participant should be able to work well independently, both in the office and in the field with little supervision, have good map reading and GPS orientation skills. Computer skills in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word are required. Applicant must have a valid driver’s license and good driving record.
Position Dates: Mid-May through mid-August, with flexible start/end dates.
Position Duration: 12 weeks
Stipend: $2,750
Travel Allowance:
(For non-local candidates)
Housing Allowance: $0
Housing Details: Housing will be provided at no cost. Housing is furnished as a dormitory situation (with generally 4-6 fellow roommates) with stove, refrigerator, sink & cupboards, cookware and dishes, hot and cold running water, and shower. Laundry facilities and recreation hall with satellite TV, DVD, and pool table are available. Field work might involve remote site camping, therefore applicants must also be prepared to backpack in rugged terrain. Backpack camping gear (backpack, tent, sleeping bag, stove, cooking pots, etc.) can be supplied by the park, or personal gear can be used at applicant’s option. Most people like to have their own sleeping bag.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park contains 86,416 acres of which nearly 80% consists of bedrock outcrops of Early and Middle Permian limestone, dolostone, and siliciclastic units. The park lies at the faulted western end of the Guadalupe Mountains and includes the type area of the Capitan Reef system. Exposures in the park encompass all of the depositional facies of the Capitan system including shelf, reef, fore-reef, and basin sediments. Total relief in the park exceeds one mile and includes the highest point in Texas at 8749 feet above MSL. The park contains the IUGS Global Stratotype Section and Point for the Middle Permian (Guadalupian) series as well as GSSP’s for the Roadian, Wordian, and Capitanian Stage boundaries. The terrain is extremely rugged and steep with some canyons abruptly plunging 2000 feet.
Work Environment: Field work will be performed in a park environment where the terrain is moderately sloped to steep, uneven, and rocky. Field assignments involve tasks that include moderate to strenuous physical exertion (long periods of standing, hiking, or climbing). Weather is moderate, but early summers are usually hot, sunny, and dry with relatively clear conditions, while mid- to late summers may be slightly cooler with intervals of late afternoon monsoonal precipitation. Sturdy footwear is a must and good raingear is recommended. Much of the inventory area is on exposed ridges and slopes where weather can change rapidly. Park Headquarters are at Pine Springs, TX, 110 miles east of El Paso, and 65 miles north of Van Horn. The closest supply town is Carlsbad, NM, 55 miles away. While not necessary, it is recommended that participant drive a personal vehicle.
# of current Applicants: 11

If you have questions about the application and selection process, please contact Matthew Dawson.  If you have questions about any aspect of the position — description, qualifications, housing, dates — please contact the primary or secondary contact below. The Primary and Secondary Contacts will not accept application materials sent to them via e-mail, mail, fax, etc. See the full Mosaic program details at the Mosaics in Science home-page.

Contact Name: Jonena Hearst
Title: Physical Scientist/GIS Specialist
Street Address: Guadalupe Mountains National Park 400 Pine Canyon Dr
City/State/Zip: Salt Flat, TX 79847
Phone: (915) 828-3251
Contact Name: TBD
Title: TBD
Street Address: Guadalupe Mountains National Park 400 Pine Canyon Dr
City/State/Zip: Salt Flat, TX 79847
Phone: (915) 828-3251
Email: TBD