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National Aquarium

Senior Biologist

The National Aquarium is looking for a Senior Biologist to provide assigned specimens with excellent day-to-day care through approved husbandry practices; keep exhibits, reserve tanks, support equipment, and workspaces well maintained to National Aquarium standards; participate in the acquisition/disposition, transport and acclimation of specimens; participate in the design, construction and maintenance of exhibits and reserve tanks, including life support material and equipment, as assigned. Fully accountable for animals and systems under care in assigned areas. Will be responsible for providing coverage for other areas as assigned. Will be primary contact for assigned areas. Participates, taking a lead role, in planning and implementation of special projects (i.e., new exhibits, renovations of existing exhibits, exhibit enhancements, collection of animals, propagation of animals). Serves as an advisor and mentor to staff on all aspects of husbandry procedures and protocols. Trains staff and supervises volunteers, interns and team projects and acts as a leader and role model for other staff members.

Essential Functions

  • Organizes the acclimation, care and feeding of plants and animals in their assigned area. Provides husbandry coverage to other galleries as needs arise.

    • Prepares food and feeds assigned fish and invertebrate collection as well as some reptiles and amphibians in accordance with dietary needs. Cleans and provides daily maintenance to food preparation areas, food preparation equipment and utensils.

    • Completes inspection rounds of specimens, exhibits and reserve tanks twice daily to check status and identify and report potential problems. Resolves problems independently where possible.

    • Prepares diets and diet supplements according to established protocols to ensure nutrition and vitamin content are maintained to keep specimens at peak health.

    • Follows established feeding schedules and feeds appropriate amounts to maintain specimens at a healthy weight. Develops strategies to get inappetent specimens to feed. Monitors weights of specimens.

    • Utilizes various feeding techniques and develops new strategies to overcome the challenges of getting the correct diet to all specimens in exhibits and reserve tanks housing multiple specimens and species.

    • Maintains live food holding tanks and cultures, as assigned.

    • Observes and recognizes medical conditions that may require attention and reports observations. Discusses best course of therapy with Medical and Curatorial staffs.

    • Administers medications and implements routine quarantine procedures as needed.

    • Maintains detailed, daily husbandry records and reviews records regularly to identify important trends.

    • Orders hardware, life-support supplies, aquarium supplies, and live specimens as needed with Curatorial approval.

    • Maintains current knowledge of all specimens under their care and their natural history (biology and environmental needs) and husbandry requirements through hands-on experience, upkeep with current literature, keeper exchange programs, and symposium participation (as approved).

    • Researches species to determine established or new husbandry techniques.

    • Conducts literature review or hands on research.

    • Assists with annual physicals of specimens as needed.

    • Ability to problem solve and troubleshoot problems.

    • Able to work well with supervisors and staff.

  • Organizes and participates in the acquisition and transport of plants and animals. 

    • Arranges the acquisition of plants and animals from professional collectors, other institutions and wholesalers, as assigned.

    • Participates in field collection trips using appropriate equipment (scuba gear, nets, traps). Lead and manage national and international collection trips, as assigned, including securing location, travel, and other logistics and developing budget and plan proposals.

    • Executing collection trip while being fully accountable for finances and safety of staff participating. Ensures adequate animal holding facilities in accordance with biological requirements of the specimens are available prior to collection of specimens.

    • Maintains acquisition and disposition database.

  • Prepares and maintains a gallery manual with up-to-date information on all assigned exhibits, reserve tanks, and their associated life-support systems and specimens. Maintains weekly coverage notes for specific husbandry instructions. 

  • Participates, taking a lead role, in the design and construction of new and renovated exhibits, maintenance, and appearance of existing exhibits and tanks, including life support materials and equipment.

    • Maintains cleanliness and artistic quality of the displays through cleaning glass and decor, scrubbing algae and removing debris to meet established NA standards.

    • Performs hydrocleaning, water changes, backwashing and other procedures necessary to care for pumps, filters, and maintain water quality standards, and determines appropriate schedules for maintenance and trouble-shooting guides.

    • Cleans back-up areas including scrubbing, mopping, vacuuming water and pest control.

    • Maintains current knowledge of all pumps, valves, filters, and chillers dealing with life support for the building.

    • Participates in system design and fabrication in keeping with animal behavior and biological needs.


Qualifications/Position Requirements:

  •  Bachelor’s degree in Biology, Oceanography, or related major, or equivalent experience, is required.

  •  Minimum of three years experience in aquarium or zoological field with emphasis on closed aquatic systems required.

  •  Open water scuba certification required.

  •  Previous supervisory experience preferred.

  •  Ability to develop and maintain professional business relationships with co-workers, volunteer staff, interns, colleagues at other facilities and outside plant vendors.

  •  Intermediate computer skills and the ability to accurately utilize all NAIB software programs.

  •  Capacity to decide when to act independently and when to seek consultation of curatorial staff.

  •  Possess an affinity for animals, education orientation and conservation ethics.

  •  Must have keen observation skills and be highly detail-oriented and adept at problem solving.

  •  Ability to mentor and train new interns, volunteers and staff.

  •  Ability to supervise staff, volunteers and contractors assigned to horticultural duties and projects.

  •  Ability to oversee section, as assigned, in the absence of Curators and Assistant Curators.

  •  Competence in research components including publications and research

How to Apply

National Aquarium
Baltimore, MD

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