Overview

Summary

This position is located in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Invasive Plant Research Laboratory, Fort Lauderdale, FL.

In this position, you will lead a team of scientists doing research aimed at classical biological control of invasive plants, understanding of the ecology and vulnerabilities of invasive plants, and integrated management of unwanted plant growth.

Duties

Assess the phylogenetic status of target weeds from literature sources, expert consultations, and molecular analysis. Monitor agent establishment by developing methods to detect low populations and assess limiting factors by monitoring the effects of predators, host quality, and weather. Conduct life history studies by investigating biotic and abiotic requisites using controlled environmental regimes and manipulating host quality. Evaluate the ability of agents to reduce weed infestations by experimentally manipulating agent densities using exclusion techniques and conducting comparative “before-and-after” studies. Develop demographic and ecological information by monitoring agent and weed populations after release as agent populations change. Elucidate insect/plant interactions that compromise or enhance agent performance.

Qualifications

Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement including specialized experience and/or education, as defined below.

Basic Requirements:

408 Series (Ecology):

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.

414 Series (Entomology):

Degree: entomology; or a related discipline of the biological or physical sciences that included at least 16 semester hours in entomology.

OR

Combination of education and experience: courses equivalent to a major that included course work as shown above for the 414 series, plus appropriate experience, or additional education.

0434 Series (Plant Pathologist):

Degree: plant pathology; or a related scientific discipline that included at least 20 semester hours in basic botany or plant science, and 10 semester hours in plant pathology.

Graduate Education: must have been in plant pathology, or in one of the recognized subject-matter fields of plant pathology, or have followed a curriculum or pattern of training that placed major emphasis on plant pathology or one of the recognized subject-matter fields of plant pathology, such as those dealing with particular types of pathogens, diseases of particular kinds of crops, or chemical or biological controls. Graduate study in related fields such as microbiology, entomology, plant physiology, genetics, agronomy, horticulture, forestry, or chemistry may also be qualifying, provided it placed a sufficient amount of emphasis on plant pathology.

Evaluation of Education: courses in botany, plant physiology, plant taxonomy, plant pathology, agronomy, forestry, horticulture, or similar subjects may be used to meet the 20-semester-hour requirement in basic botany or plant science. To meet the specific 10-semester-hour requirement in plant pathology, the courses must have been in plant pathology, or have dealt with specific subject matter areas of plant pathology such as those concerned with viruses, fungal or bacterial diseases, host-plant relationships, biotic or chemical controls, environmental or physiological diseases, parasitic diseases, etc.

Additional Requirements

In addition to meeting the basic requirements described above, applicants must also meet additional qualification requirements as stated below.

GS-14: Applicants must demonstrate at least one full year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-13 grade level in the Federal service. Specialized experience is experience directly related to the position to be filled. The specialized experience requirements for the GS-14 level of this position are: conducting studies on the classical biological control of invasive plants and integrated pest management of unwanted plant growth; conceiving and formulating research ideas that advance the field of science or are used as a reference by other scientists; communicating with stakeholder organizations and translating industry needs into researchable objectives; AND managing a research project, including personnel, equipment, and fiscal resources.

GS-15: Applicants must demonstrate at least one full year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-14 grade level in the Federal service. Specialized experience is experience directly related to the position to be filled. The specialized experience requirements for the GS-15 level of this position are: conducting studies on classical biological control of invasive plants and integrated pest management of unwanted plant growth; supervising a multidisciplinary team, including setting performance standards, monitoring performance and guiding subordinates, and developing written proposals; developing and maintaining relationships with commodity groups or other stakeholders; AND presenting scientific information in both verbal and written modes to officials in government, industry, universities, customers, partners, stakeholders, and support personnel.

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 and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

To further support your qualifications, it is strongly recommended that you submit a one-page abstract of your MS thesis and/or Ph.D. dissertation. Failure to do so could result in loss of your consideration/referral. Also, please 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.

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.