Wisconsin Projects

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To apply for any position(s), please email the project title and your resume to ansep.web@gmail.com

Validating eDNA markers for Aquatic Invasive Species (Onalaska)

Project Type: Field. This field project will be cancelled if telework or remote work is required by USFWS or DOI leadership.

Location: Legacy Region 3, Midwest, Midwest Fishery Center-Whitney Genetics Lab, Onalaska, WI

Housing: Supported Offsite, $750/month stipend provided

Project Background: The Whitney Genetics Laboratory (WGL) is a state-of-the-art conservation genetics lab located in Onalaska, Wisconsin. Onalaska is in the driftless region of Wisconsin which is characterized by high bluffs along the Mississippi River and deep river valleys and is home to countless outdoor recreation opportunities as well as three colleges and universities. The lab uses advanced technology including qPCR, automated liquid handling robots, and next-generation sequencers to address conservation genetics issues including early monitoring for aquatic invasive species (AIS), species ID of unknown tissue samples, and monitoring of threatened and endangered native aquatic species. Environmental DNA (eDNA) has become an essential tool for the early detection of aquatic invasive species (AIS). Before eDNA tools can be incorporated into AIS monitoring programs, rigorous laboratory testing and validation is required. The objective of this project is to determine a workflow and the resources necessary for validating new eDNA markers in our laboratory and to validate existing eDNA markers for the Northern Snakehead; an emerging AIS threat to the Great Lakes and upper Mississippi River watersheds. 

Project Duties: The Fellow will create the following deliverables for this project: 1) a validated eDNA assay for Northern Snakehead, 2) a written report outlining the marker validation workflow and the required resources, and 3) an oral presentation describing the project results to WGL staff and Regional AIS staff. The Fellow will have the opportunity to visit our Regional Office to meet with AIS and other Fisheries Program staff. The Fellow will also have opportunities to interact with and assist staff from the co-located LaCrosse Fish Health Center and LaCrosse Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office.

Minimum Education Level and Desired Degree Areas: Undergraduate rising seniors and seniors who are pursuing a degree in biological sciences or other closely related field. 

Working Conditions/Requirements: Valid Driver’s License (needed to drive a Government vehicle)

Desired Characteristics: Inter-personal communication, partnership building, teamwork, and experience in a chemistry, microbiology, biochemistry, or genetics laboratory is desired.