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Aquarium Biologist III – Mammals and Reptiles

Mote Marine Laboratory And Aquarium
Sarasota, United States Posted: June 28, 2024


An Aquarium Biologist III- Mammals and Reptiles should have a demonstrated background in advancing their career in animal husbandry in a public aquarium. The Aquarium Biologist III strives to support the team dynamic as well as ensuring the overall health, care, training, and enrichment of the program’s animal collection, along with the maintenance and quality appearance of all exhibits. A higher emphasis is placed on this position to prioritize guest interaction and aquarium experience. This position will require acceptance of other assigned responsibilities overseeing exhibits and assigned species, and may handle the supervision and training of program interns, volunteers, and newer staff.


  • An Aquarium Biologist III is expected to have applied knowledge of animal behavior and training through years of experience working in a public aquarium as well as demonstration of advanced organization and multitasking skills.
  • They should maintain excellent communication with senior staff- noting unusual behavior and health, and reporting these observations to their supervisor.
  • Aquarium Biologist III will possess the ability to trouble-shoot more complex problems that may arise and serve as the point person for the team in absence of senior staff.
  • Management of assigned roles and projects is likely. As a minimum, the Aquarium Biologist III must demonstrate people handling skills as well as wide-ranging animal husbandry skills. 
  • This position will report directly to the Curator of Mammals and Reptiles and will require regular communication with all staff and work in close cooperation and support Senior Aquarium Biologists to maintain; effective group leadership, a positive and team oriented work environment, open communication, and support of the progression and advancements of the Mammals and Reptiles program by maintaining a growth minded approach to work.
General Duties:
  • Assists in facilitation of all aspects of animal care and research within the Mammals and Reptiles Program including but not limited to; preparation of food (including medicated and special diets), cleaning of staff and animal areas, performing water quality tests and evaluation of these tests with corrective measures if necessary, participating in regular SCUBA diving for exhibit maintenance and cleaning, conducting animal training sessions, providing enrichment, and performing public presentations and enhancing guest interactions.
  •   Other tasks not directly related to animal care include daily record keeping, monitoring and maintenance of life support equipment, participation in the program development process, keeping work areas clean and equipment organized, and other duties as assigned.
  • Other tasks include but not limited to; assist in monitoring daily operations and maintaining a high level of animal husbandry and care, identifying and developing process for needed changes alongside senior staff and supporting the implementation of changes, seeking to improve all practices relating to guest experience and AZA related requirements, facilitating progression of animal training and enrichment programs, oversight of lower level staff as it relates to assigned exhibit and animal training assignments, assists in the application review and interviewing of interns and provides review feedback of Assistant Aquarium Biologist-Temporary staff.
  • This position may require; attendance at development and planning meetings and other professional meetings or conferences, and participation in Mote working-groups or committees and continuing education programs.
  • Any of these may involve travel to out of town locations.
Other:
  • All animal training and research related activities must be performed with the animals' health and well-being as a priority, and also adhere to the standards set forth by governing authorities, AZA, and IACUC. All employees must comply with the requirements outlined in the Mote Employee Policy Manual.
Labor Category:
  • Non Exempt (Federal Fair Labor Standards Act)
  • The normal work week for a full time employee should not exceed forty hours.
  • Any overtime must be pre-approved by the supervisor.
Working Hours:
  • Normal operational hours are 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with one hour for lunch and will include weekend and holiday shifts.
  • This normal work schedule may vary to meet the needs of the animals and or program demands. 
  • Occasional longer daily hours or evening hours may be required to complete specific tasks.
Supervises:
  • Mammal and Reptile interns and volunteers
Experience Required
  • Minimum Requirements: License / Certifications – Valid Florida Driver’s License or ability to obtain one within 30 days of hire First Aid and CPR certification or the ability to attain it in 6 months Rescue Diver SCUBA certification or the ability to attain it in 6 months Education: Bachelor’s degree in Marine Science or related field, or an equivalent combination of education and experience Experience – Applicants must have a minimum of three years of experience working in a public aquarium, zoo, or related institution as an animal keeper/trainer/or aquarium biologist with an established expertise in aquatic animal husbandry and training.
  • Experience supervising interns/volunteers is a plus, but if not must demonstrate an interest and ability to perform supervisory duties and assist the senior staff in managing daily operations of the department. Individuals with experience working with species in our mammals and reptiles collection preferred (Our animal collection includes; manatees, river otters, sea turtles, alligator, spoonbills, ibis, small reptiles, and a variety of fish and sharks. Penguin experience (future exhibit) also preferred.
Knowledge and Skills
  • Advanced knowledge of animal husbandry, training and enrichment techniques and practices with a variety of taxa
  • Ability to recognize, report, and monitor animal health issues for variety of taxa
  • Utilize independent judgment to address advanced husbandry issues
  • Established time management and organizational skills
  • Ability to multi task and operate in a fast paced working environment while performing tasks accurately and efficiently
  • Possess people skills and work well with others in a team environment
  • Maintain effective inter and intra departmental communication, working within established chain of command
  • Maintain excellent communication (verbal and written)
  • Ability to perform presentations and news interviews upon request
  • Ability to administer CPR, First Aid and DAN O2
  • Advanced knowledge of and ability to troubleshoot life support systems
  • Capable of working with PVC pipe, fittings, solvent cement, epoxy and resins
  • Ability to use a variety of hand and power tools
  • Ability to navigate and utilize ZIMS for record keeping
  • Proficient in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel
  • Knowledge of and ability to conduct and analyze animal observations and baseline animal data. Physical
  • Precise hand-eye coordination is required for the gentle capture/restraint of animals in an aquatic environment.
  • Ability to work outside in hot and humid Florida weather conditions
  • Ability to spend the majority of the workday walking, standing, bending and lifting.
  • Capable of climbing and working from ladders
  • Tolerance to work around noisy machinery & equipment
  • Ability to work in confined spaces
  • Tolerance for the smell of fish and animal feces
  • Ability to lift and carry 60 pounds occasionally
  • Ability to lift 25 lbs. overhead occasionally
  • Capable of working with bleach and other sanitizing chemicals
  • Strength to lift a net holding 10 lbs. with one hand, daily
  • Tolerance working with wet hands, feet and clothes every day
  • Visual acuity is required including the ability to distinguish color variations
  • Ability to receive rabies inoculations and participation in annual tuberculin skin testing will be required- Mote’s policy for working with the North American River otters.

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