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Exhibits Technician II - Stranding Response and Research Scientist

City Of Virginia Beach - Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
Virginia Beach, United States Posted: March 24, 2024

The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center seeks an Exhibits Technician II - Stranding Response and Research Scientist. This position serves as a working lead within the Stranding Response Program team of staff, volunteers, and interns in assigned areas or during stranding response events involving live and dead stranded sea turtles and marine mammals.

  • Primary areas of responsibility will be assigned based on candidate experience and skill level, as well as programmatic needs, at the time of hire.
  • Primary focus for Tech II staff can include: rehabilitation and live animal care and husbandry; necropsy and post-mortem assessments; sample management and quality control (QC); data assessment and reporting; data curation and quality assurance/quality control (QAQC); field response logistics, coordination and equipment management; research project activities or project design; volunteer management.
  • Regardless of assigned primary responsibilities, all members of the Stranding Response Program team need to have / develop foundational skills and working knowledge in all of these areas due to the rotational coverage to fit programmatic needs and seasonal fluctuations in stranding activities.
  • Participate in stranding response, rehabilitation, and/or necropsy lead roles.
  • Serve as rotating Response Lead during and after hours to answer and field calls from the public regarding stranded animals. Must be able to act as primary staff in determining if calls warrant a response, prioritize and organize resources, and coordinate the initial stranding response activities required. Response planning includes the assessment and logistics for both live and dead stranded animal response and recovery.
  • Complete proper documentation and data collection for each stranding, including case follow through and record completion. Collect, evaluate, and enter/report level A, B, and C stranding data for marine mammals and STSSN data for sea turtles.
  • Lead complicated field responses. Co-manage field response and necropsy logistics for large events with other staff and managers.
  • Participate in live animal stranding events, including field assessments, animal pick up and transport, rehab patient admits and initial health assessment procedures, and/or assist in euthanasia.
  • Serve as rotating and/or primary Rehab Lead (depending on assignment): Provide for the needs of all animals undergoing rehabilitation at the marine animal conservation center; conduct the prescribed medial treatments and diagnostic sampling and testing schedule; prepping and assisting in surgical procedures; regular patient monitoring and critical animal assessment; coordinating feeding and husbandry activities; oversight of the water quality and life support maintenance of the rehab tanks; entry and QC of medical records and rehab case data completion.
  • Serve as rotating and/or primary Necropsy Lead (depending on assignment): Skilled in examining dead marine animals, including external and internal examination (dissection, identification of human interaction, and basic forensic examinations), sample collection and management, data entry and reporting. Generate necropsy reports and assist with review and QC of necropsy reports and QC of reports written by other staff.
  • Participate in research activities (as assigned) and mentor junior staff and/or students. Utilize skill and experience with analyses of raw data to generate meaningful outputs.
  • Creation and implementation of data QAQC protocols.
  • Generate outputs in a relational database to include forms, queries, and reports. Utilize statistical analysis for reporting and research projects.
  • Help select, lead or co-manage and train interns and/or volunteer force and specialty teams (e.g. Pier Partner, Necropsy or Vet Rounds assistants, Nesting, etc.).
  • Co-manage response and necropsy supplies inventory, ordering and expense tracking.
  • Coordinate maintenance/servicing of assigned equipment (e.g. response vehicles, necropsy and response equipment, medical and diagnostic equipment).
  • Develop and implement protocols and methods for operational readiness and rapid deployment to emergencies for a variety of response types.
  • Develop and update protocols and train other staff, interns, fellows, and volunteers in stranding response, rehabilitation, and equipment use.
  • Assist with grant proposals and reports, permit applications and reports, data analyses, and writing for internal and external publications (as assigned).
  • Serve as a Stranding and Research Group representative on synergistic teams and working groups as needed (e.g. Greater Atlantic Region Stranding Consortium, Stranding Network meetings, UME working groups, etc.).
  • Represent the Virginia Aquarium and Stranding Response Program in the field with the general public, at Department events, in Stranding Network meetings, in front of the media, and at scientific meetings.
  • Work Schedule: 40 hours/week. Seasonally may change from five (5) 8-hour days (8:00am-4:30pm), to four (4) 10-hour days (7:00am-5:30pm) in spring-summer, with variable start/stop times.
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher in biological sciences, veterinary science, zoology, conservation biology, or other related field.
  • Two (2) or more years of full-time equivalent experience in a marine mammal and/or sea turtle stranding organization.
  • One (1) or more years of full-time experience coordinating complicated field responses and recovery of live or dead stranded animals: with an emphasis on logistics planning, assessing resources, and coordinating personnel, especially in consideration of large events.
  • In depth understanding of and experience with collecting, evaluating, and managing level A, B, and C stranding data for marine mammals and STSSN data for sea turtles.
  • One (1) or more years of full-time experience with rehabilitation of sea turtles and/or marine mammals: including critical patient monitoring, medical treatments, feeding, assisting with advanced procedures, and medical records and data completion.
  • One (1) or more years of full-time experience with monitoring water quality parameters and life support system maintenance.
  • Practical skill and experience in developing and managing sample management systems to include: inventory, QC, protocol development, data/sample requestion, shipping, and disposition of samples.
  • Experience leading numerous (>20) marine mammal and/or sea turtle necropsies, with a strong working knowledge of gross anatomy and pathology of sea turtles and/or marine mammals, human interaction investigations, necropsy report writing and QC.
  • Experience with designing and implementing data QAQC protocols. Experience creating outputs in a relational database to include forms, queries, reports. Experience with statistical analyses.
  • Working knowledge and experience with research and investigative processes, including project design, data analysis, and project reports.
  • Experience with providing oversight and coordination of volunteers.
  • Experience with public speaking and communicating biological concepts and conservation messaging in formal and informal settings.
  • Experience engaging with and informing members of the public during stranding responses activities.
  • Comfort and experience working in and around water including operating large vehicles around coastal environments; driving on beaches, on bridges, through tunnels; and trailering or driving boats.
  • Operating/working knowledge of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the NOAA and USFWS regulations and permitting requirements involved in wildlife and/or marine animal response, conservation, or rehabilitation activities.
Experience Required
  • Requires any combination of education (above the high school level) and/or experience equivalent to four (4) years in fields utilizing the required knowledge, skills, and abilities and associated with positions such as wildlife biologist, zoologist, stranding technician, or necropsy technician in a similar facility or program (e.g. stranding organization, field conservation station, anatomy or necropsy/pathology laboratory, etc.). Individual positions will have specific requirements regarding subject expertise, skills and training; these will be noted on job requisition at time opening is advertised. Must have, or obtain, a current and valid driver’s license.
Further Comments
  • Must be able to work rotating shifts (days/evenings/midnights) including weekends and holidays and be available to work overtime when required to meet operational needs.
  • This position may require that incumbents wear and maintain appropriate personal protective equipment such as, but not limited to, close toed shoes, hard hats, safety glasses, gloves, respirators or other safety attire and equipment in designated areas of risk.
  • Specific requirements will be determined and communicated by the employee's supervisor based on assigned duties.
  • Upon hire, the selected candidate will be required to receive rabies pre-exposure vaccination provided by the City of Virginia Beach Occupational Health Services.
  • G.19, $41,089.20 - $63,688.26 - DOQ

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