Mendota Invasives Research Technician

Employer: Tyler Butts ( he/him/they/them, Jacqueline Lemaire ( she/her/hers, Jake Vander Zanden ( he/him/his, Trina McMahon ( she/her/hers


The Vander Zanden Lab at the Center for Limnology is looking for one to two dedicated and inquisitive undergraduate students for the Mendota Invasives Research Technician. This position is based at the CFL’s Hasler Lab in Madison, WI and will involve collecting water and biological samples in both Lake Mendota and in experimental tanks in the Water Science and Engineering Lab. The student or students will assist in data collection and data management while having the opportunity to develop an independent research project. Species invasions have significantly affected Lake Mendota, specifically spiny water flea in 2009 and zebra mussels in 2016. Yet, spiny water flea densities are low and zebra mussels are far less prevalent compared to the height of their invasion. Research technicians will support the project team in understanding how Lake Mendota has responded to the successive species invasions, and the current state of the invasions, with a combination of sampling out on Lake Mendota and experimental work in small tanks with zebra mussels assessing their effects on nutrients, zooplankton, and even microbes. Independent projects will be developed in collaboration with mentors based on student’s interest within the field of invasion ecology, microbiology, and ecosystem ecology.

Having students with different life experiences and backgrounds is critical to ensure the exchange of diverse ideas which is necessary in training tomorrow’s scientists. Because we are actively working to increase diversity and inclusivity in our discipline, underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply.


  • Conduct field work and data collection on Lake Mendota and in experimental tanks with supervisor or peer researcher (training will be provided)
  • Count zebra mussel veligers and common zooplankton taxa on a microscope (training provided)
  • Launch and drive a boat from Hasler Lab basement (training will be provided)
  • Collect regular samples from multiple tanks including water samples, biological samples, and microbial samples
  • Assist in processing microbial samples for DNA and other analyses with supervisor or peer researcher
  • Enter data


  • Comfortable working outside and on motorized boats
  • Willing to work under variable weather conditions and occasional irregular hours
  • Experience working in a laboratory setting (coursework experience acceptable)
  • Ability to collaborate and communicate effectively and respectfully with team members
  • Flexible with problem solving and in-the-field decision making
  • Attention to detail and interest in biology
  • Good organizational skills
  • Valid driver’s license which meets UW Risk Management standards is required.


  • Number of positions: 1-2 
  • Start date: mid to late May 2024
  • End date: mid/late August 2024
  • Pay:  $14.50 no experience; $14.75 some experience; $15.00 very experienced


This position is based full-time at Hasler Lab at the Center for Limnology in Madison, WI.

How to apply:

  • Application link
  • Priority consideration deadline:  February 21, 2024
  • We accept applications until all positions are filled.
  • Indicate preference for Mendota Invasives research Technician on your application and contact Tyler Butts if you have any questions.

The CFL is an equal opportunity employer and is dedicated to an inclusive and positive working environment for all.