Vector Ecologist

(Series Specification)


Class Code:  TC7

Analyst: CC

Date Originated: 11/14



Under direction, plans, organizes, coordinates and performs: biological and entomological evaluation, surveillance and identification, census and control of vertebrate vectors, invertebrate vectors & vector-borne diseases; serves as a technical and educational advisor to staff and the general public; and performs other work as required.

Distinguishing Characteristics

The position is responsible for detection and surveillance leading to identification, eradication and/or management of pests; assists in training staff; directs the work of seasonal laboratory aides; participates in community education events and presentations; produces and/or reviews public information materials; tests birds, mosquitoes and ticks for disease; is responsible for scheduling surveys and studies to effectively cover assigned duties and for exercising judgment in evaluating mosquito and vector producing conditions and in choosing the most effective control method for any given situation.

This class is distinguished from the lower level Vector Control Specialist in that the Vector Ecologist performs complex, technical, and scientific testing and investigative assignments, which carry significant consequence of error. The Vector Ecologist possesses specialized technical knowledge in the areas of entomology, taxonomy, ecology, medical parasitology, principles of scientific research, and environmental and pesticide regulations. This classification must interpret and apply advanced scientific concepts, methods and techniques to perform a full range of activities relating to operational research, investigation and the evaluation of safe vector control practices, to effectively manage and control vectors, such as mosquitoes, rodents, other arthropods and related diseases, and to better understand complex public health issues. The Vector Ecologist is expected to develop methods and procedures to solve most technical problems in their assigned program areas. Due to the seasonal nature of the work performed by this position, this classification has a one-year probationary period.

Typical Tasks

Maintains sentinel chicken flocks and collects dead wild birds and rodents; assists with planning and coordination of field surveys for vectors (such as mosquitoes, ticks, wasps, bed bugs, rodents, flies, mites and fleas) and vector-borne diseases; processes arthropods and vertebrate fluids and tissue samples for virus testing; performs laboratory and field identification of vector specimens; sets out traps and maintains surveillance databases; performs insect identification, sorting, sample preparation; produces and maintains weekly surveillance data charts, maps, reports, and graphics; may provide ecological population studies; evaluates scientific data; conducts laboratory assays, diagnostic tests and lab analyses; participates in applied research projects; uses/builds/repairs/maintains laboratory and field surveillance equipment; recommends purchases of equipment and supplies; participates in inspection and/or investigation of major sources of vector problems; evaluates and tracks pest reduction following treatments and recommends selection of pesticides and dosages; recommends intervention thresholds for integrated vector management; recommends source reduction projects to support the work of operational staff; monitors and recommends procedures and methods for abating and/or mitigating major vector nuisances; evaluates new and currently used pesticides and monitors resistance; may comment on development plans, safety and emergency planning, pesticide permitting and wildlife regulatory issues and interact with other agencies and their technical or scientific staff; maintains invertebrate collections and insectary, reference books and materials

Employment Standards


Thorough knowledge of:

·         Investigation procedures and methods used to isolate, identify, evaluate and classify pests such as mosquitoes, vertebrate vectors, and invertebrate vectors

·         Principles and practices of integrated pest management, biological control, vector-borne disease biology and control, and vector prevention for water and land use development

·         Aquatic ecology, entomology and taxonomy

·         Fundamental medical and urban entomology

·         Standard research methods and techniques of scientific investigation and bio-safety principles

·         Pesticide chemistry, safety, toxicology, field applications and their environmental effects

·         Record keeping, map reading, correct spelling, grammar, punctuation and principles of composition and report writing

·         Appropriate safety practices and procedures

Working knowledge of:

·         Laws, regulations, policies and procedures pertaining to pesticides

·         Public health pest regulations and enforcement, government and regulatory structure

·         Fundamental mathematics, algebra and biostatistics

·         Microsoft Windows-based PC system and MS Office software, mapping programs


Ability To:

·         Read, understand, interpret, evaluate and apply laws, policies, rules, regulations, contracts, guidelines, and literature of the profession

·          Gather, analyze, interpret and present data effectively, and prepare clear and concise reports

·         Assist staff in the proper implementation of vector surveillance methods

·         Apply biological and ecological principles to survey and monitor vector populations

·         Use pesticides according to label specifications and established standards

·         Use microscope, chemical testing equipment and other scientific instruments

·         Plan and conduct surveys

·          Interpret program objectives and work independently and within a team structure

·          Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, with individuals and groups

·         Speak effectively in front of groups and diverse audiences

·         Establish and maintain good working relationships with those contacted in the course of business

·         Demonstrate good organizational skills

·         Perform assigned tasks according to prescribed procedures

·          Meet  timelines and handle multiple and changing priorities, projects, and schedules

·         Understand and carry out oral and written instructions

·         Work in a safe and prudent manner

Education and Experience/Training:

Any combination of education and experience which would provide the required knowledge and abilities is qualifying, unless otherwise specified.


A typical way to obtain the knowledge and abilities would be:

Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Bachelor’s Degree in entomology, medical entomology, or a biological science in a closely related field with some course work in general or medical entomology, AND  two (2) years of full time experience working in a laboratory specializing in processing entomological samples, and performing assays for vector-borne disease including immunological and molecular methods; A Master’s or PhD degree in entomology, medical entomology or epidemiology may be substituted for one year of professional lab experience


Must obtain and maintain the three Vector Control Technician certifications as specified under Title 17, California Code of Regulations issued by the California Department of Health Services in the areas of: mosquito control, vertebrate vector control, and invertebrate vector control, within one year of employment.


Desired Qualifications:

·         Extensive experience processing entomological samples, and performing assays for vector-borne disease including immunological and molecular methods, is highly desirable.



Special Requirements/Conditions:

·         Physical Ability:  Tasks require the ability to lift up to 40 pounds on a regular basis; mobility to reach and stoop, stand, bend and to walk on uneven terrain such as vegetated stream drainages or pond banks and wade in shallow ponds; ability to swim

·         Sensory Requirements:  Requires the ability to recognize and identify similarities and differences between shade, degree or value of colors, shapes, sounds, forms, textures or physical appearance associated with job-related objects, materials, tasks or people; visual acuity or corrected visual acuity to use a microscope. Use chemical testing equipment and other scientific instruments

·         Environmental Factors:  Exposure to variable temperatures; wetness, such as while walking through creeks, ponds and sloughs; non-ionizing radiation, such as sunburn; toxic conditions, such as spraying oil on water; odors, such as from marshes and ripe water; infections, such as tick-borne or mosquito-borne illnesses; vicious animals, poisonous plants and animals; irate or hostile individuals; inclement weather conditions; pesticides, insect bites, stings, poison oak and other toxic and hazardous substances, gases, and chemicals

·         Hours:  May be required to work flexible hours, shifts, weekends and holidays, be subject to holdover and callback duty; travel within and out of the county; and to provide a telephone number or means by which employee can be reached



Bargaining Unit: 41

EEOC Category: 02

Occupational Grouping: 73

Worker's Comp Code: 0285