The Exequiel Ezcurra Director of Conservation Biology (DCB) at the San Diego Natural History Museum (Nat/Museum) is a newly created, endowed position intended to transform the Museum’s ability to have direct conservation impacts in our mission region of Southern California and Baja California. The DCB will play a leadership role in using an evidence-based, scientific approach to conduct research, inspire, and steer the conservation strategies of the Nat. As part of the Museum’s Biodiversity Research Center of the Californias, the DCB will work with its curators to strategically integrate collections-based research into the Museum’s conservation portfolio and actively collaborate with the region’s conservation biologists in both Southern California and Baja California. The DCB is expected to have their own research program that generates data to inform conservation efforts and lead to direct conservation actions. In addition to serving as the intellectual leader of our conservation research strategy, the DCB will serve as the Museum’s face for conservation and environmental justice. In this capacity, the DCB will act as a strong representative of the Museum within the local, regional, and global conservation communities. The DCB should be a skilled and creative science communicator, generating and co-creating conservation-inspired outreach, and functioning as a content expert for internal and external stakeholders.

We seek a creative, engaged researcher to holistically approach our region’s conservation needs, set priorities, and engage the Museum’s community throughout our mission area and beyond. Ideal candidates should be actively publishing scientists with a Ph.D. and have a record of applying conservation science and human dimensions of conservation to on-the-ground conservation efforts. Candidates with experience in collaborative efforts are preferred. The DCB is expected to engage the Museum’s various research departments to focus multidisciplinary datasets to address conservation challenges. As such, candidates with experience in data synthesis, project management, and use of community science platforms are desired. Through the Museum’s education programs and exhibitions, as well our publications and social media outlets, the DCB is expected to promote a conservation ethos rooted in environmental justice and centered on the scientific work generated by our staff and conservation partners. This leadership role requires a successful track record of securing external funding, superb communication skills, team building, and a passion for biodiversity and its protection. As the Exequiel Ezcurra Director of Conservation Biology, you will report directly to the Vice President of Science and Conservation. Depending on experience, starting salary will range from $63,000 to $85,000 with a benefits package included.

About the Museum’s Conservation Programs: The Nat has a long history of conservation actions, from petitioning for the creation of Torrey Pines State Reserve to documenting our region’s rich biodiversity. Binational expeditions, 100-year resurveys, and multi-disciplinary rapid assessments have drawn focus to diverse areas needing protection and documented the changes we’ve seen over our nearly 150 year-long history. Species-specific conservation research has discovered lost plant species presumed extinct, returned extirpated frogs to southern California, removed invasive species from sensitive habitats, and provided detailed insights into habitat use and development. Our biodiversity collections and their associated data are shared through numerous portals and receive millions of queries per year, contributing to our understanding of plant and animal communities across time, including our many Atlas programs (e.g., sdplantatlas.org, herpatlas.sdnhm.org) that bring focus to our important regional biodiversity.

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • A doctorate (Ph.D.) in biology, conservation, environmental studies, or geography (or similar field) from an accredited university degree program;
  • Leadership skills to inspire and steer the conservation research strategy at the Museum;
  • A self-generated research program that includes the full lifecycle of the scientific process, and demonstrated results in the form of peer-reviewed articles and other published works;
  • Organizational skills to guide and support the Museum’s research departments to integrate collections-based research into conservation actions;
  • Demonstrated success in garnering external funding;
  • Organizing and/or participating in collaborative programs to demonstrate the ability to holistically interact with researchers, science communicators, land managers, educators, and the general public;
  • Communication skills across diverse platforms, including public speaking and experience communicating science to audiences of various skill levels;
  • Demonstrated commitment to social diversity and ability to effectively work with a diverse range of people;
  • Two years of experience working in a conservation field, but recent graduates with demonstrable experience will be considered;
  • Experience garnering consensus from diverse internal and external stakeholders: builds and maintains relationships, distills and shares pertinent information, and collaboratively problem solves;
  • Research and conservation experience in the Museum’s mission region of Southern California and Baja California, or similar experience from other regions of the world (please explicitly call-out and link the relevance of experience from outside of our region);
  • In compliance with the San Diego Natural History Museum’s mandatory vaccination policy, the Museum requires proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 as a condition of employment. Accommodations based on medical and religious exemptions will be considered.
  • Bilingual in English/Spanish is a plus.

This is a full-time, regular position with benefits such as health insurance, vacation, 14 paid holidays, free admission into all of Balboa Park’s museums as well as free admission to the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park. Applicants should submit a CV and cover letter that highlights your relevant experience and accomplishments, as well as the transferable skills you would bring to Human Resources (igarcia@sdnhm.org). Please include a writing sample of both professional and popular level writing.