San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research
Job Code
Average Hours per Week
Employment Status
With Benefits

Researcher / Recovery Ecology - Hawaii


Job Description:


It all began with a ROAR over 100 years ago!

San Diego Zoo Global is a conservation organization dedicated to the science of saving endangered species worldwide. San Diego Zoo Global operates three world-class facilities: the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. Our organization’s vision - we will lead the fight against extinction. 

Help us to make a difference for wildlife and begin your adventure with a career at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. Join the dedicated crew who are passionate about what they do and strive to create unforgettable experiences for our guests. 

Share your knowledge, skills and commitment to conservation, strive to save species from extinction and be a part of the ROAR with San Diego Zoo Global! 

Put your Passion for Wildlife to Work?  

Location - Recovery Ecology Group - Hawaii /San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research
The San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research is the largest zoo-based multi-disciplinary research effort in the world. Based at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for Conservation Research adjacent to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, more than 200 dedicated scientists carry out research vital to the conservation of animals, plants, and habitats, locally and internationally.  It is located adjacent to the  San Diego Zoo Safari Park is located in San Pasqual Valley near Escondido, California.  This adventure offers ZOO Perks which include discounts on food/premium products, free and discounted admission to local attractions, and accrual of vacation and sick time (exception for some grants and Summer Fellowships). 

Excellent benefits package including medical, dental, prescription drugs, vision, life insurance, annual leave, sick leave, retirement, as well as other optional insurance.

Positions available - 1 Exempt position with benefits

Attire  - San Diego Zoo Global has a very conservative grooming policy. Tattoos may not be visible or must be appropriately covered while on duty. Jewelry may be worn if it does not detract from a well-groomed look or create a safety hazard. No facial or tongue piercing.

(Exempt Position)  Wages commensurate with experience

Current Union employees considering a Non-Union poition are advised to familiarize themselves with all the differences includeing Health Benefits and Pension. See HR for details.

Job Requirements Include:

The San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research’s Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program has an immediate opening for a Researcher to conduct and lead database management and statistical analyses focused on conservation breeding of endangered Hawaiian birds.

The Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program conducts conservation breeding and reintroduction activities for endemic passerine species. This program has led efforts to bring the ‘Alalā or Hawaiian Crow back from the brink of extinction, and conducts the reintroduction of this previously “extinct in the wild” species.

The successful candidate will have a strong and demonstrated background in database management and biostatistics (i.e. applied statistics), preferably in a zoological or conservation context. The successful candidate will: (1) work with staff to refine the existing database and develop methods for electronic data collection; (2) analyze existing data to answer research questions related to the husbandry and aviculture of passerines; (3) train staff and interns in basic data collection, entry, and analysis techniques; (4) prepare manuscripts for publication; (5) share results with the wider community at conferences and workshops.

The Researcher will be part of the Recovery Ecology Division of the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research (for details see, and is expected to build on existing internal and external collaborations. This position will be based at the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center in Volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, under the supervision of the Conservation Program Manager.

A Ph.D. in Statistics, Biostatistics, Ecology, Zoology, Conservation Biology, Wildlife Management, or related discipline is required, along with demonstrated experience in data management, quantitative/statistical analyses, and scientific writing, as demonstrated in peer-reviewed publications. Desirable experience includes the development of ecological and behavioral research methodology; bioinformatics; oral communication; teamwork and mentoring abilities; fluency in English language.

The position will be for 24 months, with the potential for extension, contingent upon funding and performance.

Start date for this position is March 2018 (negotiable). Scheduled hours will be approximately a minimum of 40 hours/week.

All newly hired animal care staff and educators with responsibility for regularly caring for collection animals are REQUIRED to complete and pass (4) on-line prerequisite classes  prior to reporting to their department. Human Resources will schedule this training as part of the on-boarding program. For current employees transferring into an animal care department, these classes MUST be completed and passed prior to the transfer.

Pre-requisite courses include:

  • Zoonotic Disease Prevention and Bio-Security      

  • Working Safely With Dangerous Animals

  • Government Regulations and Compliance (USDA/OSH

  • The Fundamentals of Animal Learning

 **Passing grade for classes is 90%

One essential function for this position is the ability to drive a SDZ Global vehicle. If you are offered employment, you will be asked to authorize SDZ Global to access your current driving report through the DMV’s Employer Pull Notice Program. Your hiring for this position will be contingent on SDZ Global receiving an acceptable driving report for you. In addition, your continued employment in the position will depend on you maintaining an acceptable driving report from you. You may obtain a list of conditions that disqualify a person from driving an SDZ Global vehicle from a Human Resources Representative.
(POST 2/9/18)

Deadline to submit application:

Applications must be submitted online by 9:30pm Pacific Standard Time

**San Diego Zoo Global is a smoke-free workplace**


Job Requirements:


The Researcher performs all job assignments with a positive attitude that reflects San Diego Zoo Global’s mission and vision of connecting people to wildlife and conservation, and pursues green/conservation practices when feasible. The Researcher conducts independent, collaborative, and/or directed research in a specialized area of biological science; oversees assigned research operations and facilities.  This position reports to the Associate Director of Conservation Research / Recovery Ecology.


  • May provide lead guidance to assigned staff
  • Plans, designs, organizes, and supervises, and
  • Conducts independent, collaborative, and/or directed research projects
  • Determines study subjects, research parameters and methodology, and cost requirements
  • Keeps abreast of relevant research and technology developments
  • Collaborates with Organization staff and scientific colleagues in other locations
  • Develops, administers, and monitors assigned budgets
  • Prepares progress reports and other documentation as required
  • Administers related procedures
  • Assures necessary supplies and equipment are purchased
  • Oversees assigned area(s) and supervises assigned staff
  • Maintains applicable records
  • Teaches/trains students, volunteers, and others
  • Maintains a variety of contacts in order to respond to inquiries and requests
  • Effectively coordinate activities.


  • Oversees and conducts data collection, updates research parameters, reviews draft summaries, oversees documentation of research methodology and results, may publish papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals and popular literature, and makes presentations to professional groups and others
  • Coordinates with collections and animal health staff regarding sample collection, protocols, and management implications
  • Coordinates collection of biological samples for research, maintains inventories, and provides samples to collaborative researchers
  • Serves on committees
  • Serves as a media contact for related research activities


Performs related duties and responsibilities as required.


A Bachelor's degree in Biology, Zoology, Botany, or a related field with equivalent specialized training; considerable laboratory, diagnostic, animal care, or field experience in a specialized field of research; some assignments require certification and/or licensure; may require valid California driver license.
Knowledge of:

  • Relevant research and technology developments
  • Scientific related procedures
  • Research operations and facilities

Ability to:

  • Use word processing, spreadsheet, database, graphics, and desktop publishing systems
  • Supervise staff
  • Prepare papers for publication
  • Prepare grant applications and administer grants
  • Develop, administer, and monitor budgets
  • Prepare and make presentations
  • Work with teams and effectively with others
  • Communicate effectively  (verbal and written)


Work involves possible exposure to radiation, zoonotic diseases, and potentially hazardous chemicals and materials; some assignments involve working outdoors with wild animals in varying weather conditions; some assignments are located in the field.


Working with sharp instruments; some assignments require the ability to move moderately heavy objects 25-35 pounds; may require ability to travel.