Life Support Biologist

Life Support Biologist

Ocean Institute //
Dana Point, CA //
Posted on: December 17, 2017 //

Working under the Director of Living Collections, the Life Support Biologist coordinates the daily care and all activities related to displaying a diverse living collection of temperate water, Eastern Pacific Ocean animals. The Life Support Biologist will work in conjunction with the Director of Living Collections in operation, maintenance, and repair of all aquatic life support systems, will be involved in the training of interns and volunteers, and work on the implementation and maintenance of exhibits and research projects.

Located on the waterfront in Dana Point Harbor, the Ocean Institute is a federally recognized 501c3 nonprofit. Working at the Ocean Institute offers a unique educational environment and ability to show your appreciation for the ocean. Its enviable location creates the opportunity to build meaningful bonds within the community, as well as inspire and influence future stewards of the ocean. The Ocean Institute’s mission “Using the ocean as our classroom, we inspire children to learn,” allows anyone with a passion for the ocean to utilize their skills in a positive, productive environment.

Functions & Responsibilities

Essential Functions

The position will be involved with all aspects of the Institute’s animal husbandry program. This includes, but not limited to:

• Manage the maintenance of a life support system of approximately 22,000 gallons, consisting of approximately 90 tanks of various sizes housing a collection of southern California invertebrates and vertebrates to create a consistent message and appearance.
• Implement installation, preventive maintenance, and repair tasks on aquatic life support systems and related components; assist with repairs, installation, and maintenance of life support controls and monitoring systems to ensure proper operation and to prevent equipment failure. Manage others who may be involved in maintenance operations.
• Helps train new interns and volunteers to assure compliance with established standards and protocols. Develop and maintain curriculum related to same.
• Maintaining aquarium tanks and exhibits according to set standards directing others as needed.
• Monitoring and maintaining water quality levels including filtration and water chemistry. Managing corrective measures when required.
• Creating and conducting educational feeding presentations.
• Anticipating changes based on equipment needs, animal needs, weather and other unforeseen factors, and effectively communicating and implementing these changes.
• Provide direct support to the Director of Living Collections as needed or requested.
• Functions as a leader in the Living Collections Department at all times.
• Manages supplies and equipment inventories.
• Provide on-call coverage as needed, to ensure the well-being of the collection inclusive of coverage during vacations, holidays, and weekends.

Skills & Experience

Knowledge & Skills

• Possess a strong knowledge and understanding of the specimens’ (fish and invertebrates) natural history, biology, behavior, and dietary requirements.
• Ability to work effectively as a team member, and willingness to learn.
• A demonstrated passion and knowledge for the ocean and the natural environment.
• Ability to respond quickly to changing priorities.
• Up to date with current husbandry methods.
• Demonstrated excellence in communication skills, both written and oral.
• Utilizes creative problem-solving skills.
• A keen sense of observation and a willingness to innovate.
• Must possess mechanical aptitude and be proficient in the use of proper testing equipment, hand tools and shop equipment.
• Ability to anticipate issues and implement preventative measures to avoid larger problems.
• Understand role as a representative of the organization at all times
• Prioritizes spending or spending requests and sources tools and resources to ensure best pricing opportunities.
• Knowledge of and ability to use computers and Microsoft’s Office Suite.
• Ability to work under limited supervision, both independently and in a team environment is required.
• Required to work on some holidays, weekends, and evening hours.
• Attention to detail and great overall workplace cleanliness is mandatory.
• Prefer current SCUBA diving certification, AALSO Certification, and Certified Pool Operator Certification.

Education & Experience

• Bachelor’s Degree in Marine Science, engineering, commercial water treatment or equivalent experience required.
• 3 years experience in aquatic life support systems, a municipal water treatment plant, or a waste water treatment plant and of the safe and proper operation including repair and maintenance of biological, mechanical, and chemical aquatic/animal life support water filtration systems, such as: ozone generation equipment, building/temperature control systems, biological filters, rapid sand filters, plumbing, electrical and the ability to trouble shoot these types of specialized systems.

Job Requirements

Physical Requirements

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

• Ability to climb ladders and accomplish tasks on suspended platforms.
• Must be able to lift 50lbs alone, 75 lbs assisted.
• Employee must be able to walk across rocky and rough terrain.
• This position requires working in a variety of physically demanding and potentially hazardous environments, both on land and at sea
• While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand for extended periods. The employee may also be required to bend, crouch, kneel, stoop, crawl, twist, reach above head, balance, pull, sit, climb stairs and ladders.
• This job requires the use of hands to handle, control, manipulate, or feel objects or tools.
• Specific vision abilities required by this position are perception and the ability to adjust focus.

Working Conditions

• Must be able to safely work in and around cold saltwater
• Must be able to safely work in and around electrical equipment
• Employee must be able to walk across rocky and rough terrain.
• This position requires working in a variety of physically demanding and potentially hazardous environments, both on land and at sea
• This position requires the employee to work outdoors, exposed to all weather conditions, as well as dust, pollen, plant life, insects and wildlife.

Salary & Benefits