U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service - Directorate Resource Assistant Fellows Program (DFP)

9-2: Dragonfly Mercury Project Data Collection and Analysis

Region: Headquarters – HQ 9 (DC Metro Area)
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Position Type: In-person (Fellow will be required to report to the duty station regularly to complete the position)
Host site Location: Fort Collins, Colorado, Natural Resource Program Center, National Wildlife Refuge System, Headquarters
Fellowship Dates: June 16-September 6, 2024 (June 16-21 Orientation at NCTC)

Housing Support: Housing stipend up to $5,000 for the entire Fellowship is authorized based on actual expenses incurred.  Fellow will be required to provide documentation to validate reimbursement. 

Housing Description: Fellow will be responsible for locating and securing suitable housing. There are numerous non-governmental rental properties available in Fort Collins, CO, especially in the summertime as it is a college town, and many students are gone for the summer.

Valid Driver’s License: Required

Transportation Support Description: Public transportation is available. Although Fort Collins is not a large city, it has been ranked as the best place to be car free in Colorado and the 7th best place nationwide. Fort Collins is relatively compact with commercial areas containing numerous grocery stores, restaurants, salons, medical centers, etc., within walking distance of residential areas. Additionally, Fort Collins' public transportation system (Transfort) offers 22 regular routes with all day service within the city and less frequent service to neighboring communities (e.g., Loveland). Fort Collins also has an extensive network of bike trails that provide access to all major areas and auto drivers are accustomed to watching out for frequent bikers. Finally, ride share options, such as Uber and Lyft, are widely available and commonly utilized by CSU students.

Position Description: This position is in the Branch of Air and Water Resources for the Natural Resource Program Center (NRPC) in Fort Collins, CO. The NRPC is part of headquarters for the National Wildlife Refuge System, with NRPC staff providing scientific support to wildlife refuges throughout the nation. The Fellow will primarily be involved in data collection and analysis efforts related to the Dragonfly Mercury Project on wildlife refuges. Mercury contamination is a pervasive problem that negatively impacts the well-being of fish, wildlife, and humans. Mercury is released into the atmosphere from multiple human activities (e.g., the burning of fossil fuels), which can then be deposited into remote areas far from the polluting source. The Dragonfly Mercury Project uses dragonfly larvae to measure and monitor mercury concentration in protected areas (e.g., parks, wildlife refuges) throughout North America. The project is a collaborative effort among Department of the Interior agencies (USFWS, NPS, USGS), several universities, and non-profit organizations. Over the last 10 years, more than 100 protected areas have been sampled with data contributing to a better understanding of mercury contamination patterns which helps to identify management options. The selected Fellow will be responsible for:

  • Gaining expertise in aquatic sampling techniques and associated data collection methods by sampling 8-10 National Wildlife Refuges for the Dragonfly Mercury Project,
  • Being able to identify aquatic invertebrates commonly found in multiple eco-regions throughout North America,
  • Investigating the potential influence of climate change on mercury occurrence and levels across the National Wildlife Refuge System by conducting a literature review,
  • Preparing a written report describing findings from the literature review which will contribute to future research designed to inform how water resources are managed on National Wildlife Refuges,
  • Providing 2 to 3 presentations at various outlets such as the Natural Resource Program Center, the All-Hands Meeting for the National Wildlife Refuge System, or the USFWS Climate Change Community of Practice monthly meeting, and
  • Contributing to at least one publication in a peer reviewed journal focused on the Dragonfly Mercury Project in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Minimum Education Level: Open for consideration to undergraduate rising seniors/seniors and graduate students who will not complete their degree requirements before September 22, 2024.

Fields of Study:

  • Biological Sciences
  • Education/Outreach

Working Conditions Requirements: 

  • Written and oral proficiency in English
  • Ability to conduct field work involving hiking, sampling in aquatic areas, and carrying equipment up to 25 pounds
  • Ability and willingness to travel to remote areas.

Desired Characteristics: 

  • Interpersonal communication skills
  • Technical writing skills
  • Experience with literature review and data analysis



Read 91 times
Last modified on 02 October 2023

MANO Project
is an initiative of Hispanic 
Access Foundation.

E: info@hispanicaccess.org
P: (202) 640-4342