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Senior Biologist (Animal Ambassadors)

The Florida Aquarium
Tampa, United States Posted: January 20, 2024

The Senior Biologist is responsible for all aspects of husbandry in the area to which they are assigned. This position is expected to lead the team in caring for and managing The Florida Aquarium’s Animal Ambassadors collection. This collection includes a variety of mammals, birds, and reptiles. 

  • This position is responsible for managing food preparation, feeding, habitat maintenance, record keeping, behavioral training, environmental enrichment, and public presentations.
  • This position is expected to operate with minimal supervision, assert animal wellbeing and mentor less experienced staff in their respective job responsibilities.
Essential Position Functions
  • Provide care and manage the day-to-day operations for a multi-taxa collection of animals in the Animal Ambassador collection and exhibits
  • Lead team in upholding the highest level of animal care and wellbeing
  • Plan and execute daily behavioral training, environmental enrichment, and interactive programming
  • Participate in public presentations while interacting with guests and animals
  • Serve as a resource and mentor for Biologists, Interns, and Volunteers in the development of job skills relating to general husbandry of animals, exhibit maintenance, behavioral changes, medication administration, record keeping, animal training, and enrichment
  • Ensure accurate animal record keeping through consistent utilization of Tracks
  • Assure behavior meets the FLAQ values of Respect, Trust and Excellence and counsel staff to do the same
  • Interact with aquarium guests, donors and team members in a positive and professional manner
  • Maintain AZA inspection readiness for exhibit, service, holding, and backup areas
  • Communicate ideas for exhibit improvements and modifications independently
  • Mentor staff to develop and execute operant conditioning plans for aquatic and terrestrial animals
  • Identify and solve obstacles with projects and tasks in a team setting
  • Develop, execute, and participate in husbandry projects, animal acquisition, and transport
Secondary Functions
  • Assist in the developing, maintaining, and revising of husbandry SOPs and work processes
  • Supervise the ordering of supplies and equipment
  • Represent the aquarium at selected conferences and speaking engagements; give media interviews, and write and present formal papers
  • Participate in meetings with curators, biologists and other aquarium departments
  • All other duties as required
Education, Requirements, and Technical Skills
  • A minimum of 6 years’ experience in the care and training of animals in a facility working with aquatic and terrestrial animals
  • Four-year degree in biology or related field; equivalent professional experience may be considered
  • Experience in the care of various birds including penguins and birds of prey preferred
  • Experience in the care of various marine and terrestrial mammals preferred
  • Experience in acquisition and transport of live animals
  • Knowledge of animal record keeping systems (ZIMS/ISIS and/or Tracks) preferred
  • Public speaking experience preferred
  • Knowledge of Windows and Microsoft Office software (Word, Excel, Power Point, Outlook)
  • SCUBA certification required
  • Must be willing and able to obtain a valid State of Florida Driver’s License
  • Flexibility in working weekends, evenings, and holidays
  • Available for on-call emergencies
  • Customer Focus – Demonstrates courtesy, cooperation and friendliness with staff, volunteers and customers.
  • Actively listens, anticipates and evaluates the customer’s needs.
  • Ensures that customer satisfaction is a priority in all areas of responsibility.
  • Actively engages our customers while fulfilling job responsibilities.
  • Interpersonal Skills/Teamwork — Support, facilitate, and participate in activities that promote team effectiveness; demonstrate sensitivity for the feelings and needs of team members and support team goals.
  • Professional/Technical Knowledge and Competency — Remains current on developments in the field within and outside the organization; maintains proficiencies
  • Communication (oral and written) — Effectively express ideas verbally and non-verbally and actively listen to individuals and groups; prepare and focus presentations to the characteristics and needs of the audience; express ideas clearly and concisely in written form, through memoranda, letters, reports, and other documents.
  • Coordination — Organize and move a group of individuals and/or activities towards a common goal 
  • Judgment — Decide on and commit to an action on the examination of the facts at hand; find creative solutions to situations and opportunities that arise; take strategic risks when necessary.
Typical Physical Requirements
  • Standing (up to 2 hours per day)
  • Walking (up to 4 hours per day)
  • Bending/Stooping/Squatting/Kneeling/Balancing — Frequently
  • Crouching/Crawling — Occasionally
  • Sitting (up to 2 hours per day)
  • Climbing heights (12’) — Frequently
  • Reaching above shoulders — Frequently
  • Pushing/Pulling — Frequently
  • Carrying (up to 70 lbs.) — Occasionally
  • Lifting (up to 70 lbs.) — Occasionally
  • Using hands for repetitive movements — fine manipulating
  • Exposure to marked changes in temperature and humidity
  • Coping with demands (stresses that are associated with the job and/or the work environment so that acceptable levels of performance and overall contribution are maintained
  • Operating machinery
  • Ability to travel as needed — locally and/or nationally
  • Ability to operate in the field
  • Daily contact with a living collection of plants and animals in a central Florida climate
  • Medical, Dental, Vision, EAP, Memberships, and more!

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