Research Assistant (Fisheries)

IISD Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA)

Kenora, ON, CA

IISD Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA) is one of the world’s most influential freshwater research facilities. It features a collection of 58 small lakes and their watersheds in northwestern Ontario, Canada. For over 50 years, scientists at IISD-ELA have conducted whole-ecosystem experiments and made significant scientific discoveries related to issues such as acid rain, mercury from air pollution, algal blooms and pharmaceutical chemicals in water. The facility is operated by the International Institute for Sustainable Development—an independent think tank headquartered in Winnipeg. 


IISD-ELA acknowledges that our research facility is located on Treaty Three lands and the care of these lands during experimentation and restoration to original state is implicit in its mission. Many local schools in the region come to the facility to learn more about the science of aquatic ecosystems and how humans serve a role in sharing and working with one another to protect these resources. 


The unique nature of IISD-ELA facility and our whole-ecosystem approach to freshwater science provides an opportunity to deliver a different kind of educational programming and community outreach for a wide variety of audiences. IISD-ELA aims to inspire and train the general public and the next generation of research scientists, providing a platform for science education and innovation.  


Full room and board will be provided at IISD-ELA facility, as well as travel to and from the facility (to Winnipeg or Kenora) on weekends.  The Research Assistant (Fisheries) will be involved in data collection for whole-ecosystem experiments and for our long-term ecological monitoring program. The fish crew monitors populations of small- and large-bodied fish species in numerous research lakes at IISD-ELA. The incumbent will participate in field activities related to fish mark-recapture, telemetry, contaminants, habitat characterization and biochemical parameters, among other projects.  



  • Collect, identify, measure and mark small- and large-bodied fish species.  

  • Download data from various data logging devices.  

  • Perform laboratory tasks, including fish dissections, tissue sampling and sample preservation.  

  • Perform profiles of lakes using multi-parameter field instruments.  

  • Record and enter data into databases (including Microsoft Excel and Access).  

  • Use a variety of watercraft, including boats with outboard motors and canoes.  

  • Construct/install/maintain field equipment as needed.  

  • Operate field vehicles (all-terrain vehicles, trucks, vans) on highways and gravel roads.  

  • Assist other field crews on occasion (fish toxicology, lake sampling, zooplankton, autotrophic ecology, etc.).  

  • Other duties as assigned.  

 Required Skills & Qualifications:  

  • Enrollment in a university or college program leading to a degree in biology or environmental sciences, or recent completion (December 2019–April 2020) of such a degree.  

  • Keen and hard-working individual who can work as part of a team.  

  • Ability to work safely in a remote field environment for long hours in diverse conditions (rain, snow, bugs, etc.).  

  • Ability to do field work involving manual labour such as hiking and lifting heavy objects (up to 50 lbs).  

  • Interest / willingness to live in a remote location for up to six months in shared accommodations.  

  • Possession or willing to obtain certifications that are valid for the duration of the work term: standard first aid with CPR, Pleasure Craft Operator’s Card and driver’s license.  

  • IISD-ELA will require the completion of a criminal record and child abuse registry check.  

  Asset Skills & Qualifications:  

  • Work experience in aquatic and/or environmental sciences.  

  • Knowledge of field sampling and/or fish identification.  

  • Experience operating small motorized vessels with an outboard motor and all-terrain vehicles.  

  • Proficiency with Microsoft Excel and Access.  

  • Ability to speak French and/or Ojibwa.  

The contract is for a full-time term position of 4 or 6 or 8 months (depending on availability) beginning May 4, 2020.  

To apply for this position, please visit the online posting and submit your application through the online portal:  

All submissions must be in English.  

Closing date: Monday, February 17 at 9:00 a.m. CST  

IISD-ELA is committed to equal opportunity. Candidates must hold appropriate work authorization for Canada.  

Accommodations for job applicants with disabilities are available on request. Please contact 

We thank all candidates for their interest; however, only candidates advancing in the recruitment will be contacted for an interview.We kindly request that further contact not be necessary. 




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