Thursday, June 8, 2017

Aquarium Biologist/Life Support Systems Technician

Aquarium Biologist/Life Support Systems Technician
 Florida Keys

This is a unique position that requires someone that is highly independent and self motivated with a background in animal husbandry, life support systems and public outreach. The Aquarium Biologist/Life Support Systems Technician will split up their time between two locations serving as an animal care taker responsible for the health, appearance, maintenance and cleanliness of aquariums and animals at the Eco Discovery Center in Key West as well as a Life Support Systems Technician maintaining LSS equipment in Summerland Key at Mote’s International Center for Coral Reef Research and Restoration. This position requires a sensible knowledge of animal behavior, including coral husbandry, through education or commensurate experience. An Aquarium Biologist/Life Support Systems Technician is expected to maintain all animals under his or her care, noting unusual behavior and health, and reporting these observations to their supervisor.  In addition to animal care an Aquarium Biologist/Life Support Systems Technician must possess the ability to trouble-shoot life support system problems, and perform any basic repairs that may be required. An Aquarium Biologist/Life Support Systems Technician will be expected to participate in the design, installation and maintenance of closed and open seawater systems, seawater heater/chiller equipment, filtrations systems, pumps and associated equipment. He/she will also be responsible for guest interaction and educating visitors while simultaneously performing daily husbandry tasks. This includes promoting current Mote research and highlighting these efforts through the exhibits on display at the Eco Discovery Center.

General Duties:

Animal maintenance tasks may include, but are not limited to, preparation of food (including medicated and special diets), performing water quality tests and evaluation of these tests with corrective measures if necessary, collection of specimens, preparation of chemicals, cleaning of filters and aquarium glass, cleaning of food preparation room, performing water changes, and gravel vacuuming. Other tasks not directly related to animal care may include daily record keeping, maintenance of life support equipment, set up and breakdown of exhibit aquariums, participation in the exhibit development process, keeping work areas clean and equipment organized. Life Support Systems tasks may include cutting and gluing of PVC pipe, pump repair/installation, filter maintenance, water chemistry testing and repair/maintenance of other mechanical systems as necessary.  An Aquarium Biologist/Life Support Technician is expected to hold all Eco Discovery Center Exhibits to the same high standards of care and maintenance as exhibits on display at The Aquarium. This position may require participation in continuing education which would involve travel to out of town locations. All employees must comply with the requirements outlined in the Mote Employee Policy Manual.

Driver’s License: Valid Florida Driver’s License or ability to obtain one within 30 days of hire

Rescue SCUBA Diver certification or the ability to attain it in 12 months


Bachelor’s degree in Marine Science or related field, or an equivalent combination of education and experience


Employment, internship, or a substantial amount of volunteer hours in a public aquarium, zoo or related institution is required.


  • Perform routine tasks accurately and efficiently
  • Communicate clearly both verbally and in writing
  • Artistic approach to decor construction and design
  • Knowledge of aquarium biological processes         
  • Knowledge of aquarium fish husbandry and health
  • Ability to recognize fish diseases and parasites
  • Understanding of life support systems
  • Comfortable working independently and speaking with the public
  • Ability to troubleshoot life support systems and make necessary repairs
  • Posses time management skills
  • Ability to work with PVC pipe, fittings, solvent cement, epoxy and resins


  • Precise hand-eye coordination is required for the gentle capture and handling of animals from aquatic environments
  • Ability to work outside in hot and humid Florida weather conditions
  • Ability to spend the majority of workday walking, standing, bending and lifting
  • Capable of climbing and working from ladders
  • Tolerance to work in the proximity of noisy machinery & equipment
  • Ability to work in confined spaces
  • Tolerance for the smell of fish and animal feces
  • Ability to lift and carry 60 lbs
  • Ability to lift 25lbs overhead
  • Tolerance working with wet hands, feet and clothes daily
  • Capable of working around bleach and other sanitizing chemicals
  • Strength to lift a net holding 10 lbs with one arm
  • Tolerance working with wet hands, feet and clothes every day
  • Visual sharpness is required including the ability to distinguish color variations
  • The job may require under water SCUBA assisted maintenance of exhibits

Interested applicants should submit as a single electronic file, 1) a cover letter, 2) resume, and 3) the names and contact information for three references, before 5pm June 16, 2017 to  Alternatively, a single package of all requested elements may be submitted to Mote Marine Laboratory, Attn: Human Resources, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236. 

Peter Dickinson
Independent International Zoo Consultant

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