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Mississippi Aquarium

Biologist I – Marine Mammals

Biologist I – Marine Mammals Job Description

Position Title:                    Biologist I / Marine Mammals
Animal Care and Conservation
                     Full-time, Hourly, Non-exempt
Direct Report:                    
Curator of Marine Mammals

Position Summary:

The position requires a highly motivated individual who will take direction from the Curators, Managers, Area Supervisors and/or VP of Animal Care and Conservation in carrying out the animal care routine and maintenance for an assigned set of habitats and/or holding tanks. The position will also be responsible for maintaining organized written records pertaining to health, feeding, water quality, animal welfare and behavioral observations. This position is responsible for adhering to all aquarium safety, protocols, standard operating procedures (SOPs) and Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accreditation standards.   

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Provides care for bottlenose dolphins, North American river otters, and all other species in assigned areas, through proper husbandry protocols involving daily observations, feedings, behavioral enrichment, environmental enrichment, water quality monitoring, and life support system (LSS) operations.  

  • Ensures guest satisfaction by maintaining exhibits through daily maintenance. Keeps support areas clean, organized and safe

  • Complies with all SOPs pertaining to daily operations and safety

  • Maintains records in accordance with protocols or as directed

  • Provides coverage of other biologists and areas as assigned

  • Cross-trains with other staff within the department

  • Promotes conservation, animal welfare, and good stewardship in daily tasks

  • Supports interactive programs and educational presentations in assigned areas

  • Performs other related duties as assigned


  • A four-year degree in aquatic sciences, zoology, biology, psychology or related field (3 – 4 years of professional animal care experience may be considered in lieu of degree) Course work should include zoology, mammalogy, ethology, ecology, psychology, physiology and animal care.  

  • A minimum of 1 year of advanced animal care experience is required.  This may be in the form of jobs or internships at public aquariums or zoos.  Preferred animal care experience from an accredited AZA institution or equivalent.  

  • Successful completion of pre-employment drug screening and SCUBA dive physical

  • Detailed knowledge of the biology, behavior, and natural history of marine mammals, with an emphasis on cetaceans, mustelids, and other taxa as needed

  • Detailed knowledge of operant conditioning and positive reinforcement animal behavioral conditioning techniques.

  • Record-keeping, collection management experience.

  • Familiarity with basic medications and vaccination programs.

  • Knowledge of proper animal conformation & body conditions, gestation/incubation periods and nutrition.

  • Demonstrated mechanical skills, basic LSS plumbing, and understanding of LSS theory and operation

  • Excellent observation and communication skills

  • Strong interpersonal skills and ethics that generate and sustain a positive team atmosphere and professional environment

  • A valid driver’s license and the ability to travel if necessary

  • Valid SCUBA certification

  • Strong swimming skills

  • Ability to successfully complete area swim test

  • Ability to work weekends, holidays, days closed due to inclement weather, and to travel for extended periods of time to perform necessary duties.

  • Experience in preparing and conducting public educational programs.

  • Able to lift a minimum of sixty (60) pounds.

  • Strong command of the English language, both written and verbal.

Note:  Position will involve exposure to inclement weather, dust, potentially dangerous and unpredictable animal species, and potentially dangerous machinery, restraint devices and toxic chemicals and/or drugs.  Occasional use of protective clothing or equipment is required e.g. goggles, mask, gloves, and gowns. 

This job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties responsibilities and activities may change at any time with or without notice.


  • Safety & Security - All Team Members are required to adhere to all Mississippi Aquarium safety and security standards.  

  • Attendance & Appearance - To maximize the guest’s experience, all Team Members are required to adhere to Mississippi Aquarium standard operating procedures regarding attendance and dress code policies as it relates to individual job functionality. Tattoos and piercings must be appropriate and in keeping with a professional image. Depending on the work area, management reserves the right to determine that tattoos will need to be covered during your shift.

  • Sales & Guest Services - Our forward-thinking business model requires listening and understanding the needs of our guests both internal and external.  To that end, we must always be focused on the guest experience which is the key driver for return guest visitation and increased sales.  

  • Team Partnership - All Team Members are focused on supporting each other to complete the guest experience.  Therefore, supporting, facilitating, and participating in activities that promote team effectiveness is vital to our Organization.  

Physical Demands & Work Environment:

The physical demands and work environment 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. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools or controls; reach with hands and arms; climb stairs; balance; stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl; talk or hear; taste or smell. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 60 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision, distance vision, color and peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is exposed to weather conditions prevalent at the time. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.

How to Apply

To apply for this position, please send resume or CV and cover letter to 

Mississippi Aquarium
Gulfport, MS

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