Scientific Illustrator

The University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute (BI), on the Lawrence campus, is one of the premier research and education institutes in the U.S. in biodiversity science, biodiversity informatics, paleobiology, biogeography, and evolutionary biology. The BI, one of the University’s designated research centers, reports to the Office of Research at KU and comprises three units: the Natural History Museum (NHM), Research and Collections, and the Paleontological Institute. The BI and its three units are housed in seven buildings on Main and West Campus. The BI is home to 55 staff members and 60+ graduate and undergraduate students who work in its 18 divisions and departments.

Staff members and students are engaged in scientific research, education and service in archaeology and in the faunistics, floristics, biogeography, history, paleobiology, ecology, phylogenetics, systematics, genomics, behavior, and morphology of the world’s plants and animals. Taxonomic foci include mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish, insects, corals, sea anemones, parasites, and plants, as well as fossil vertebrates, invertebrates and plants.

The BI acquires, manages, and stewards collections of recent and extinct plants and animals, and of past cultural objects, along with their associated data. The BI serves the worldwide biodiversity science and archaeology communities through extensive loans of specimens and tissues of animals and plants and cultural objects. In addition to graduate and undergraduate educational opportunities, the BI provides informal science education programs to approximately 50,000 visitors and 10,000 schoolchildren annually. The BI has an annual state operating budget approaching $3 million, which is approximately doubled or tripled through extramural grants and contracts.

The Division of Vertebrate Paleontology (DVP) at BI maintains a research collection of roughly 150,000 fossil vertebrate specimens and their associated data. Members of the DVP research staff conduct field and laboratory research aimed at enhancing our knowledge of the world’s prehistoric vertebrates (including their global diversity, phylogeny, macroevolutionary patterns, historical biogeography, morphology, paleoecology and behavior). Current foci of research in the DVP include international and domestic research on early Cenozoic mammals, Late Cretaceous dinosaurs, and Paleozoic and Cenozoic fishes.

The Scientific Illustrator for the DVP at the Biodiversity Institute supports the research and educational goals of the Division by: (1) providing high quality graphics and artwork for publications, presentations, and educational outreach programs, (2) teaching a course on scientific illustration through KU’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and (3) depending upon personal goals, experience, and expertise, collaborating on DVP research projects in the field and/or lab. Included in the duties of the Scientific Illustrator are:
• composition of original artwork and digital graphics necessary to illustrate and interpret fossil vertebrate specimens and their context;
• acquisition and digital editing of photographic and microphotographic images of fossil specimens;
• digital editing of micro-CT data to interpret the anatomy of fossil vertebrates;
• advising KU students and faculty-curators regarding relevant aspects of scientific illustration; and
• maintenance and management of equipment and research infrastructure related to the position.

A complete application will include a letter of application addressing qualifications and experience; a CV highlighting previous experience as a natural science illustrator; a sample portfolio (containing originals or facsimiles at 100%) showing examples of line, stipple, and tone drawings along with publications showing reproductions of these drawings; and names of three professional references. Review of applications will begin September 20, 2019 and continue until a pool of qualified applicants is obtained. Apply online at KU is an EO/AAE, full policy at