Fish & Wildlife Research Scientist 1, Non-permanent *05753-18

$4,623.00 – $6,062.00 Monthly
Thurston County – Olympia, WA
Job Type
Full Time – Non-Permanent
Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
Job Number
6/18/2018 11:59 PM Pacific
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The Department of Fish and Wildlife has some of the most talented people in the natural resource field.  We celebrate and value diversity, appreciating that a workforce composed of those from different backgrounds and experiences creates an inclusive environment, strengthens positive relationships with the local community, and brings new perspectives and approaches to fulfilling the agency’s mission.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish,  wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable  recreational and commercial opportunities dependent on viable fish and wildlife populations.  Each day, WDFW employees facilitate fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities for millions of residents and visitors.  WDFW’s employees–field and laboratory biologists, geneticists, research scientists, hatchery professionals, policy experts, fully commissioned law enforcement officers, land stewards, lab technicians, property acquisition specialists, customer service representatives and others work throughout the state.  WDFW employees protect and restore critical habitat, strive to facilitate species recovery when necessary, and manage hundreds of fish and wildlife species.  WDFW employees maintain nearly a million acres of public wildlife lands. They interpret, apply and enforce state and federal laws and collaborate with stakeholders to protect fish and wildlife resources.  Find out more about us and the important work we are a part of at

This recruitment is for a 12-month Non-permanent Fish & Wildlife Research Scientist 1 in the Fish Program, Fish Management, Marine Resources.  The duty station the Natural Resource Building, Olympia, WA and NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, WA.

This position supports the Agency’s goals of protecting, restoring and enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitats, and providing sustainable and wildlife-related recreational and commercial opportunities by ensuring Agency data to support these goals are recognized and supported as indicators of the health of Puget Sound.  This work also supports the mission of the Puget Sound Partnership and its Action Agenda, as part of the Recovery of Puget Sound 2020 Initiative by completing work required as part of the Vital Signs for Puget Sound Recovery. The objective of the work assigned to this position is to develop and employ highly specialized molecular analyses and techniques to measure toxicopathic dieases and reproductive impairment in indicator species, to support the mission and goals of WDFW’s Toxics-focused Biological Observation System (TBiOS).

Serve as principal research advisor and TBiOS lead consultant for developing and conducting highly specialized molecular techniques including transcriptomics, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, and enzyme linked immunosorbent assays to evaluate the impact of chemical contaminants on the health of English sole, a primary TBiOS indicator species.
Tasks include:

  • Design, conduct, and manage studies to evaluate exposure of English sole to xenoestrogenic chemicals. Adapt current TBiOS methods to measure the induction of genes coding for the synthesis of vitellogenin.
  • Develop methods to compare and evaluate results of the gene expression with the presence of the vitellogenin protein in archived English sole plasma samples.
  • Plan, direct and coordinate lab studies to collect and purify vitellogenin standards from live English sole.

Determine and help prioritize research and analytical needs to address TBiOS status and trends monitoring goals related to currently unmeasured toxicopathic disease or other impairments in all TBiOS species.
Tasks include:

  • Design, conduct and manage research studies to develop biomarkers of toxicopathic fish health impairments in other TBiOS indicator species, including Pacific herring, Chinook salmon, English sole, and bay mussels.
  • Test the use of RNA sequencing to compare the condition of herring embryos incubated in contaminated habitats with embryos incubated in uncontaminated habitats.
  • Test RNA sequencing and other molecular tools to explore toxicopathic responses in other TBiOS indicator species.

Communicate and report research findings and consult with decision makers to advance new TBiOS tools and techniques aimed at facilitating Puget Sound ecosystem recovery.
Tasks include:

  • Publish results in peer reviewed journals and present results at conferences and symposia.
  • Advise and consult on committees, activities, and processes focused on the recovery Puget Sound ecosystem.
  • Advise and consult with scientists and managers to apply results from this work to the Puget Sound Partnership’s Toxics in Fish Vital Sign
  • Work with other WDFW staff to determine the degree to which these developed techniques can be incorporated into WDFW efforts to measure and manage fish health.

Working conditions
The workweek is 40 hours a week, Monday – Friday, 8:00 – 4:30.  Work is primarily conducted in an NRB office and lab (Olympia, WA), and at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, WA.  Travel is required to attend meetings.  The incumbent may drive long distances throughout western Washington.

This position is covered by a collective bargaining agreement between the State of Washington, Department of Fish & Wildlife, and the Washington Association of Fish and Wildlife Professionals (WAFWP).  As a condition of employment, you must either join the union and pay union dues, or pay the union a representational or other fee within 30 days of the date you are put into pay status.

  • PhD in Ecotoxicology (or related field) with direct experience and knowledge of techniques to measure effects of endocrine disrupting compounds on the health of fish.

Preferred work experience:

  • Ability to measure vitellogenin induction in English sole liver by quantifying vitellogenin messenger RNA levels in liver using reverse-transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction.
  • Ability to compare enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay measures of vitellogenin protein in fish serum to genomic measures of vitellogenin gene expression
  • Detailed knowledge of scientific literature regarding endocrine disruption in fish exposed to xenoestrogenic compounds
  • Ability to write peer-reviewed scientific papers efficiently
  • Ability to communicate complex scientific information to a wide range of users

Required job knowledge
Job knowledge (to perform the essential activities of this position, the employee must know or understand the following):

  1. Detailed knowledge of fish physiology and their reproductive axis, related to exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals
  2. Familiarity with molecular techniques for isolating RNA, and conducting reverse-transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction in fish.
  3. Detailed understanding of the ecotoxicological principles pertinent to the activities of this project.
  4. Experience with designing experiments using high throughput RNA sequencing to evaluate health effects of toxic contaminants on Puget Sound fish, including Pacific salmon, English sole and Pacific herring.
Supplemental Information
To apply for this position you MUST complete your profile at and attach the following to your profile before completing the online application:

A cover letter describing how you meet the qualifications and the required job knowledge for this position (generic cover letter will not be accepted)
A current resume (please make it succinct)
Three professional references (personal references do not count as professional)

Please note:  Failure to follow the above application instructions will lead to disqualification.  E-mailed documents will not be accepted in lieu of attaching your documents to the online profile.  Upon submission of your online application, you will immediately receive a confirming e-mail.  You will then be notified via e-mail of your status during the process.  In addition to the e-mail notifications, you can check the status of your application at any time by visiting your online profile at  Due to the high volume of applications that we receive, we ask your understanding and encourage you to use the online process and avoid calling for information.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife is an equal opportunity employer.  We strive to create a working environment that includes and respects cultural, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation and gender identity diversity.  Women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons of disability, persons over 40 years of age, disabled and Vietnam era veterans and people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are encouraged to apply.  Persons needing accommodation in the application process or this announcement in an alternative format may call (360) 902-2276 or the Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) at (800) 833-6388.

More than Just a Paycheck!
Employee benefits are not just about the kind of services you get, they are also about how much you may have to pay out of pocket. Washington State offers one of the most competitive benefits packages in the nation.

We understand that your life revolves around more than just your career and that your priority is making sure that you and your family will maintain health and financial security. That’s why choice is a key component of our benefits package. We have a selection of health and retirement plans, paid leave, staff training and other compensation benefits that you can mix and match to meet your current and future needs.

Read about our benefits:
The following information describes typical benefits available for full-time employees who are expected to work more than six months. Actual benefits may vary by appointment type or be prorated for other than full-time work. Check with the agency human resource office for specific benefit information.
Insurance Benefits
Employees and families are covered by medical (including vision), dental and basic life insurance.  There are multiple medical plans with affordable monthly premiums that offer coverage throughout the state.  Staff are eligible to enroll each year in a medical flexible spending account which enables them to use tax-deferred dollars toward their health care expenses.  Employees are also covered by basic life and long term disability insurance, with the option to purchase additional coverage amounts.  To view premium rates, coverage choice in your area and how to enroll, please visit the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) website.
Retirement and Deferred Compensation
State Employees are members of the Washington Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS).  New employees have the option of two employer contributed retirement programs.  For additional information, check out the Department of Retirement Systems‘ web site.
Employees also have the ability to participate in the Deferred Compensation Program (DCP).  This is a supplemental retirement savings program (similar to an IRA) that allows you control over the amount of pre-tax salary dollars you defer as well as the flexibility to choose between multiple investment options.
Vacation (Annual Leave)
You begin accruing vacation starting your first month of employment. Since we value your loyalty, the amount of vacation you can accrue increases the longer you work with us. Washington State supports members of the armed forces with 21 days paid military leave per year. Vacation accrues for full-time employees per WAC 357-31-165.


Full-time employees are entitled to eleven* paid holidays:

New Year’s Day
January 1
Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday
Third Monday in January
Presidents’ Day
Third Monday in February
Memorial Day
Last Monday in May
Independence Day
July 4
Labor Day
First Monday in September
Veterans’ Day
November 11
Thanksgiving Day
Fourth Thursday in November & Friday after
Christmas Day
December 25
Personal Holiday
Employee’s selection each calendar year

*Employees who are members of certain Unions are entitled to an additional personal leave day of their choice. Please refer to specific Collective Bargaining Agreements for more information.

Social Security
All state employees are covered by the federal Social Security and Medicare systems. The state and the employee pay an equal amount into the system.
Sick Leave
Full-time employees earn eight hours of sick leave per month. Paid sick leave may be used for reasons included in WAC 357-31-130.
Please visit the State HR Website for more detailed information.
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