Lichen Technician

Posted Date: Nov 25, 2021
Application Deadline: Dec 9, 2021

Status: Open

This competition is open to all applicants however internal candidates and applicants who were former employees of the University of Alberta in the past 18 months will be given priority consideration before external candidates. Please indicate your internal status using the "Advertisement" drop down menu when applying.

This one year position with the possibility of renewal offers a comprehensive benefits package which can be viewed at: Faculty & Staff Benefits.

The Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) is dedicated to tracking changes in biodiversity across the entirety of Alberta for the next 100 years, and this resultant information provides Albertans' the ability to make informed decisions about the state of their environment in ways never before possible. Reporting to the Lichen Coordinator, the Lichen Technician’s core responsibilities are: identification of lichen specimens; preparation of lichens for research; data entry and quality assurance for lichen-related data; managing assets related to field and laboratory work; assisting with training and supervision of temporary members of the Lichen Unit such as field technicians and volunteers; coordinating and conducting chemotaxonomy (thin layer chromatography and potentially high performance liquid chromatography of lichens); and participation in field and laboratory research.


1. Taxonomic Technical Support

Participates in development of lichen taxonomy and ecological knowledge in support of the ABMI Business Plan.


  • Supporting logging, organizing, labelling, storage, pest management and archival conservation of high volumes of lichen specimens following UofA herbarium standards;
  • Assisting with detailed taxonomic identification for the majority of species collected by ABMI, and using demonstrated expertise to lead that identification for a subset of species;
  • Assisting with lichen data management including data entry, enumeration of specimens, data management through the ABMI portal and Taxonomic Workbench, and assisting with statistical analyses and summary reports;
  • Ensuring compliance with protocols for the back-up of all specimen data;
  • Assisting with the maintenance of nomenclature currency, accuracy and consistency;
  • Preparing selected ABMI lichen vouchers and related data for loans, accessioning and/or gifting to herbaria or in support of research collaborations;
  • Coordinating, conducting and documenting chemotaxonomy (which may include thin layer chromatography and/or high performance liquid chromatography) of lichens to aid in their identification, as well as the management, proper care, storage and disposal of associated chemicals.

2. Trains and Manages

In cooperation with the Lichen Coordinator, provides training related to the creation and delivery of lichen taxonomy and monitoring, leads in coordinating safety and asset management for the Lichen Unit, and assists in the management of seasonal ABMI technicians or volunteers working in the ABMI Lichen Unit.


  • Leads in ensuring laboratory and field activities follow all applicable safety regulations and are conducted to the highest safety standards possible;
  • Assisting with lichen-specific training, management and assessments of ABMI summer staff, field crews and volunteers to ensure quality of specimen sorting and preparation in the field and in the laboratory;
  • Assisting with periodic updates to training materials and software;
  • Developing reference materials of taxa to support training of laboratory and field technicians, and other interested parties;
  • Supports the Lichen Coordinator through participation in hiring and training of new staff;
  • Coordinating acquisition, organization and maintenance of field and laboratory equipment and supplies.

3. Assists in and Undertakes Project Work:

Working with the Lichen Coordinator, ABMI staff and collaborators, the Lichen Technician will conduct project-specific work.


  • Assisting with the exploration of new technologies (e.g., DNA barcoding) and resources to support the study of lichens;
  • Assisting or leading in the description of new species and/or validation of scientific names;
  • Assisting or leading in the preparation of scientific manuscripts for submission to peer-reviewed journals;
  • Accurate, high-quality documentation of lichens, which may include scanning electron microscopy and high-resolution macro or micro-photography;
  • Participating in field or laboratory research projects as needs and opportunities arise;
  • In support of the above, maintains currency in research advances in lichenology.

4. Supports Knowledge Dissemination and Stakeholder Engagement Facilitates direct and indirect understanding of ABMI data with scientists, the public, and ABMI stakeholders.


  • Assisting or leading in outreach activities, such as presentations (scientific and non-scientific) and handling of public enquiries (e.g., specimen identification on ABMI’s NatureLynx smartphone application);
  • Attending and/or presenting at meetings of professional societies;
  • Supports ABMI Communications Officer in development of communication material as described in the ABMI Communication Plan;
  • Delivering workshops on ABMI-related lichen projects; and
  • Participating in publishing research findings in peer reviewed journals, technical reports, popular literature, and/or websites.


  • B.Sc. in Biology majoring in Botany or a related field.
  • Minimum of 2 years experience in identification of Alberta macrolichens in the laboratory, with ability to independently, accurately identify Alberta species in at least 5 genera of lichens.
  • Expertise in coordinating and conducting thin layer chromatography (TLC) for lichen identification, with emphasis on the use of TLC for the identification of species in the genera Cladonia, Tuckermannopsis, Bryoria, and Usnea.
  • Preference given to those with:

  • Knowledge and skills associated with preparation of lichen specimens for herbaria;
  • Proven experience with lichen sorting and taxonomic identification to the species level;
  • Experience with microscopic dissection and microscopic photography and/or macrophotography;
  • Experience with data management systems;
  • Experience with occupational health and safety related tasks related to field work;
  • Experience with biological field work;
  • Experience with databasing including Microsoft Excel;
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills;
  • Excellent time management skills;
  • Excellent organizational skills;
  • Valid Alberta Driver’s license;
  • Valid First Aid Certificate.

COVID-19 Vaccination: Proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 in compliance with the University’s COVID-19 Vaccination Directive. Fully Vaccinated means a status an individual achieves 14 days after having received the recommended number of doses of a COVID-19 vaccine approved by Health Canada or the World Health Organization, and requires the individual to maintain the recommended number and type of vaccine doses as updated and required by Health Canada thereafter.

Note: Online applications are accepted until midnight Mountain Standard Time of the closing date.

We thank all applicants for their interest; however, only those individuals selected for an interview will be contacted.

The University of Alberta is committed to an equitable, diverse, and inclusive workforce. We welcome applications from all qualified persons. We encourage women; First Nations, Métis and Inuit persons; members of visible minority groups; persons with disabilities; persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity and expression; and all those who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas and the University to apply.

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