Biological Science Technician (Plants) GS 0404-07

Vacancy ID: 770532   Announcement Number: AKRO770532DECB   USAJOBS Control Number: 332954300

Occupational/Assessment Questions:

Minimum Qualifications

1. From the descriptions of education required for each series below, select at least one response that best describes how your background meets the minimum qualifications for Biological Science Technician (Plants), GS-0404-07. Read all responses before making your selection.

A. I have at least one year of full-time specialized experience comparable in difficulty and responsibility to the next lower level (GS-06) in the Federal service performing duties such as planning field projects and collecting and summarizing field data; using taxonomic keys to identify vascular and non-vascular (lichens, bryophytes) in the field; using compound and dissecting microscopes and taxonomic keys to identify vascular and non-vascular species in the lab; collecting and preparing large numbers of herbarium-quality specimens of vascular and non-vascular plants; preparing draft project reports; installing, operating, and maintaining equipment (e.g., data loggers, dendrometers) used in vegetation monitoring; using a variety of software to compile, summarize and report information; and providing information to other employees and visitors about the natural resources programs.
B. I have successfully completed one full year of course graduate study from an accredited college or university leading to a Master's degree with major study directly related to the position to be filled.
C. I have a combination of experience and graduate education as described in the qualifications section of the vacancy announcement that, when combined, is equivalent to 100% or more of the qualification requirement.
D. I do not meet the requirements as described above. (If you do not meet one of the above, you do not yet have the education or experience required for this position, and cannot be considered.)

KSA-1. Skill in using differential GPS equipment in the field to map natural resource data and in using GIS software in the office for displaying and analyzing natural resources field data.

The following questions were developed to identify your skill level in the competencies that are needed to perform the duties of this position. Use the A through E scale shown below to describe the level that most closely matches your experience and skill level related to each question. It is essential that your application package, including a resume or application form, clearly shows how you possess the experience and skills levels you claim in this questionnaire. The information you provide will be verified. Any exaggeration of your experience, false statements, or attempts to conceal information may be grounds for rating you ineligible, not hiring you, or for firing you after you begin work.

A- I have not had education, training or experience in performing this task.
B- I have had education or training in performing this task, but I have not yet performed it on the job.
C- I Have performed this task on the job, with close supervision from supervisor or senior employee.
D- I have performed this task as a regular part of a job, independently and usually without supervision from senior employee.
E- I have supervised the performance of this task, and/or am regarded as an expert in performing this task, and/or have trained others (or am consulted by others) on how to do it.

2. Skill in use of GPS data loggers in field to map vegetation features as points, lines, and polygons.

3. Ability to perform differential corrections of field GPS data.

4. Experience in preparing and formatting corrected field GPS data for migration into relational databases and geodatabases used for storing and analyzing vegetation data.

5. Skill in manipulation and analysis of GIS data including performing spatial join procedures, uses spatial analysis tools, and generating new GIS coverages using field-collected data.

6. Prepares GIS materials for use in the field such as satellite imagery, topographic maps, and sets of sampling locations or study sites.

KSA-2. Skill in entry, organization, analysis, of vegetation data using computer software.

7. Performs data entry, backup, and quality control using computer relational database software.

8. Manages relational databases (including Microsoft Access) containing numerous related tables, performs queries, and appends new data.

9. Skill in entering, managing and backing-up large amounts of data in the field using field tablet computers, dataloggers and similar technology.

10. Ability to organize and perform quality-control and quality-assurance procedures for large amounts of vegetation data describing many physical and biological attributes in complex databases.

KSA-3. Knowledge of vascular plant taxonomy (including difficult groups such as grasses, sedges, rushes, and ferns) and skill in the field and laboratory identification of the native vascular plant species of subarctic and arctic.

11. Identifies arctic, subarctic, and boreal vascular plants to the species level in the field based on knowledge of vascular plant taxonomy and familiarity with this particular flora.

12. Uses technical dichotomous keys to identify arctic, subarctic, and boreal vascular plants to the species level in the laboratory using technical characteristics such as leaf pubescence, palea length, spikelet arrangement; familiar with the vocabulary and practices of vascular plant taxonomy including use of dissecting microscopes.

13. Collects herbarium-quality specimens of unknown plants and plants of special interest, processes these specimens for permanent storage in Herbarium collection.

14. Maintains a clear, complete, and detailed collection notebook and records accurate and relevant information about all plant voucher collections made while measuring plots or during reconnaissance collecting within study areas.

KSA-4. Skill in quantitative field measurements of plants and plot characteristics using diverse methodologies.

15. Makes quantitative measurements of plant cover in the field using point transects and quadrat methods.

16. Makes quantitative measurements of trees in the field, including assessing crown characteristics and vigor, measuring diameter and mapping location within a fixed plot. Uses equipment such as transect tapes, quadrats, tree digital measuring devices in accordance with protocols.

17. Accurately records site variables including slope angle, aspect, landforms, soil characteristics, and vegetation utilization by herbivores; uses equipment such as clinometer, compass, and vegetation classification keys.

18. Uses differentially-corrected GPS technology for mapping ecological attributes in the field.

19. Uses a digital SLR camera requiring manual settings for documentation of plot conditions.

20. Uses field computers to record, archive, and back-up data in the field.

KSA-5. Ability to carry out fieldwork safely and effectively in remote backcountry over long duration in inclement weather and physically challenging terrain.

21. Plans, organizes, and packs equipment (including clothing and other personal gear, food, and scientific and safety equipment) for fieldwork of multiple weeks duration in remote wilderness areas.

22. Plans and implements complex wilderness field air transportation logistics including use of boats, helicopters and light fixed wing aircraft.

23. Flies in light aircraft to remote sites lacking developed landing facilities.

24. During the field season (June-August), lives in a tent, cooks out-of-doors, and works in a remote wilderness setting with frequent rain, temperatures of 30 to 80 degrees F, and abundant biting insects.

25. Travels distances of 3 to 5 miles per day on foot carrying a backpack weighing up to 30 lbs. across arctic terrain including steep slopes, wetlands, river crossings, brush, and very uneven ground.

26. Navigates cross-country without trails in a wilderness environment by the use of compass, GPS, and maps.

27. Operates safely in a wilderness setting and applying as needed skill in wilderness first aid, dealing with bears at close range, and traversing potentially dangerous terrain including steep mountains and river crossings.

KSA-6. Skill in communicating the results of scientific fieldwork and natural resource monitoring clearly and concisely both orally and in writing; capable of creating clear and informative reports and presentations for diverse audiences.

28. Writes clear expositional technical and annual reports documenting the results of scientific inquiries and natural resource monitoring field activities.

29. Ability to record detailed notes concerning both the logistical and scientific aspects of field activities, writes detailed trip reports that assist mangers in planning and performing future similar work.

30. Experience in assisting with the preparation of articles for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

31. Skill in giving presentations to technical and non-technical audiences explaining the
purpose and results of scientific activities and natural resources fieldwork.