Biologist I – Water Chemistry Technician

Biologist I – Water Chemistry Technician

California Academy of Sciences- Steinhart Aquarium //
San Francisco, California //
Apply by: April 22, 2024
Application Information: Please upload your resume, cover letter, and complete the brief online application.

Reporting to a departmental lead the position provides support for the Water Quality laboratory through physical and chemical analyses of freshwater and saltwater samples for water quality monitoring for the health and wellbeing of the Steinhart Aquarium’s living collection. The position is primarily responsible for daily water sample collection, chemistry testing, quality control, data entry, troubleshooting, and laboratory maintenance. The Water Quality Laboratory oversees the following Aquarium operating systems: water quality monitoring for all habitats, salt water management, chemical inventory, and instrument maintenance.

About the Water Quality Team:
The Water Quality Team is integral to the living aquatic collections of the Academy’s work. The team is responsible for the daily water testing and monitoring for the aquarium department, which is essential for the aquatic living collection’s health. The Water Quality Team is one of the teams within the Steinhart Aquarium. The Aquarium is a collaborative, supportive and innovative department that promotes a culture of trust, accountability and respect.

Functions & Responsibilities

Essential Functions

-Performs water quality testing and analysis of all habitats in the aquarium, including physical chemistry parameters (ex. salinity, temperature, pH, and dissolved oxygen), nutrients (ex. nitrogen, iron, and phosphates) and biological analysis
-Assists with data entry and maintenance of the water quality database.
-Assists in maintenance of the analytical and laboratory equipment such as calibration, preventative maintenance, and minor repairs. Assists in maintaining pH and ORP probes.
-Maintains departments chemical inventory database and Safety Data Sheet binders.
-Mix reagents and standards and be accountable for proper quality controls.
-Handles hazardous materials properly and distributes commonly used chemicals to the Aquarium staff.
-Effectively communicates with the Aquarium management and staff regarding water quality parameters.
-Maintains the lab in a clean and orderly manner in compliance with Association of Zoo and Aquarium (AZA) standards and OSHA.
-Follows all established protocols to prevent cross contamination.
-Actively participates in a culture promoting trust, respect, and accountability.
-Follows all Academy and Aquarium safety regulations.
-Performs other job-related duties as assigned.

Skills & Experience

Knowledge & Skills

-Basic knowledge of standard aquarium life support systems, water quality testing methods, and parameters for maintaining aquatic habitats.
-Basic understanding of the chemical and nutrient components and processes of seawater, including pH, alkalinity, and the nitrogen cycle.
-Practical skills in handling lab equipment, pipettes, instruments, and glassware.
-Excellent observation skills.
-Effective verbal and written communication skills.
-Effective organizational and problem solving skills.
-Ability to utilize web-based communication and collaboration applications.
-Ability to multitask, adapt, and prioritize.
-Ability to read and interpret documents such as departmental protocols, safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals.
-Ability to present programs and effectively convey information to guests, the general public, the media, colleagues, and in professional meetings.
-Ability to work as a member of a team and engage in a culture that promotes trust, respect and accountability and also work independently.
-Willingness to seek further training in laboratory techniques.
-Ability to complete CPR/AED/First Aid certification.
-Ability to work weekends and holidays on a routine basis.

Education & Experience

-Previous work experience (paid or unpaid) in analytical chemistry, water quality, or related position(s) in a laboratory, public aquarium or comparable institution.
-Previous experience with spectrophotometry, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), colorimetry, gravimetry, titration, pH meter, oxygen meter, and other standardized water testing equipment.
-Experienced Analytical Laboratory Technician preferred.
-Water Quality Certification Level 1 from Aquatic Animal Life Support Operator (AALSO) preferred.
-Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, Biology, Zoology, Marine or Aquatic Biology, or a related field of study preferred.

Job Requirements

Physical Requirements

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential job duty satisfactorily. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform essential job functions.

-Ability to transport 50 lbs.
-Ability to perform repetitive motions 75% of the time.
-Must be able to differentiate between colors.
-Must be willing to work with hazardous materials.
-Requires the ability to stand, sit, walk, and reach with hands and arms, and talk or hear.
-Must be able to work a computer.
-Must be able to climb stairs and ladders.
-Must be able to swim.
-Must be able to use extension poles, long-handled nets and shepherd’s hooks.
-Must be able to work with, or adjacent to, venomous and dangerous animals.

Salary & Benefits
Salary: $27.07 an hour
Full-time,40 hours per week - Sunday-Thursday Starting salary will vary based on experience, skills/knowledge set, and internal equity. The Academy offers a total compensation package that emphasizes both base salary and comprehensive benefits based on the hours per week worked.