Research Assistant: Whole-Lake Fertilization Experiment

Employer: Danny Szydlowski (; he/him), Dr. Grace Wilkinson (; she/her)


We are looking for two enthusiastic undergraduate researchers to join a team this summer conducting a whole-lake experiment at the University of Notre Dame Environmental Research Center (UNDERC) in northern Wisconsin. Housing will be provided at UNDERC for the duration of the field season. We will be fertilizing two lakes (Peter Lake and Tuesday Lake) to create algal blooms and comparing them to an unfertilized reference lake (Paul Lake). We will measure changes in each of the lakes over the course of the summer using a wide array of sensors left in each lake along with daily water chemistry samples. Using cutting edge methods, we will then calculate the resilience of each of these lakes to algal blooms. Resilience of ecosystems is growing increasingly important to understand under climate change, and we aim to test methods for measuring resilience which will better enable managers to prioritize ecosystems that are the most vulnerable. This position involves collecting daily water samples, sample processing in the laboratory, and assisting in adding nutrients to the study lakes. The students in this position will also pursue guided independent research on a topic related to the whole-lake experiment. Work will average ca. 40 hours per week, unevenly distributed over the summer.

Having students with different life experiences and backgrounds is critical to ensure the exchange of diverse ideas that is called for 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.


  • Assist with regular water quality monitoring
  • Collect and process water samples
  • Provide field assistance with related ongoing research projects
  • Assist with lake nutrient additions
  • General lab work and support
  • Basic data processing


  • Comfortable working in lakes and being in small boats
  • Resourceful at problem solving
  • Ability to work individually and under minimal supervision
  • Willing to work in all safe weather conditions and occasional long and irregular hours
  • Some laboratory experience preferred
  • Valid driver’s license which meets UW Risk Management standards is preferred


  • Number of positions2
  • Start date: mid May 2024
  • End date: mid August 2024
  • Pay: $14.50 no experience; $14.75 some experience; $15.00 very experienced


University of Notre Dame Environmental Research Center (UNDERC): The position is based at the University of Notre Dame Environmental Research Center (UNDERC) near Land O’Lakes WI. UNDERC is a pristine, gated property owned by the University of Notre Dame with 7500 acres of land and 30 lakes and bogs. Dormitory style housing (not food) at UNDERC will be provided free of charge. Enjoy swimming, hiking, fishing, biking, and campfires while gaining valuable research experience!

While we will be living at UNDERC, we will also frequently stop by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Trout Lake Station in Boulder Junction, WI. There, we will attend seminars on aquatic science, professional development activities, and campfires and barbecues with other students studying limnology in Wisconsin’s Northwoods. With connections to both field stations, our position offers a unique chance to network with aquatic ecology professionals at both locations while enjoying the fun that both TLS and UNDERC have to offer!

How to Apply:

  • Application link
  • Priority consideration deadline:  February 21, 2024
  • We accept applications until all positions are filled.
  • Indicate preference for Research Assistant: Whole-Lake Fertilization Experiment on your application and contact Danny Szydlowski if you are specifically interested in this position or have any questions.

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