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The Florida Aquarium

Senior Biologist

Position Summary

The Senior Biologist is responsible for all aspects of husbandry for the area(s) to which they are assigned.  This position is expected to lead the team in caring for and managing The Florida Aquarium’s fish and invertebrate collections.  This includes the design, set-up, care and maintenance of live exhibits, disease recognition and treatment, life support system construction and operation, field collecting and species identification and knowledge.  Asserts animal wellbeing and mentors less experienced staff in their respective job responsibilities.         

Essential Position Functions

  • Performs general daily husbandry functions including the maintenance of live exhibits, holding systems and quarantine facilities at a high level of quality and does so without direct supervision
  • Routinely demonstrate expertise in universally accepted aquarium husbandry skill areas including:
    1. Marine organism collecting, handling, transport, acclimation and care
    2. Animal quarantine, clinical treatments and marine animal health
    3. Aquarium Life Support Systems (LSS) design, construction, operation and maintenance
    4. Live exhibit aesthetic design, construction and maintenance
  • Lead team in upholding the highest level of animal care and wellbeing
  • Serves as a resource and mentor for other Biologists, Interns and Volunteers in the development of job skills relating to general husbandry functions, exhibit and life support systems design, construction and maintenance, aquatic organism (marine & freshwater fishes, invertebrates and plants) disease recognition and treatment, electronic record keeping, collecting techniques and species identification
  • Assure behavior meets the FLAQ values of Respect, Trust and Excellence and counsel staff to do the same
  • Interacts with aquarium guests, donors and team members in a positive and professional manner
  • Develop and execute operant conditioning plans for aquatic and terrestrial animals
  • Maintain AZA inspection readiness for exhibit, service, holding, and backup areas
  • Assists management team in coordination of animal handling for medical care and transport
  • Develop, execute, and participate in husbandry projects, animal acquisition and transport

Secondary Functions

  • Assist in developing, maintaining, and revising 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
  • Conduct, assist, and oversee ongoing research projects that are relevant, goal-specific and in direct support of the aquarium’s mission; ensure that internal research using living organisms is conducted in a professionally competent and ethical manner

Education, Requirements, and Technical Skills

  • A minimum of 3 years’ experience as a Biologist/Aquarist II or equivalent experience
  • Previous experience at a Senior level or above preferred but not required
  • Four-year degree in biology or related field; equivalent professional experience may be considered
  • Thorough understanding of habitat requirements for terrestrial species, life support systems and water quality parameters for aquatic species 
  • Knowledge of the mechanical, electrical and chemical engineering aspects of maintaining biological systems
  • Experience in the acquisition, collection and transport of live animals
  • Knowledge of electronic animal record keeping systems (ZIMS/ISIS and/or Tracks) 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 toward 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


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How to Apply

The Florida Aquarium
701 Channelside Drive
Tampa, FL 33602
Phone: 8132734000

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