Biologist III / Marine Mammals (Senior)
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Position Description

Position Title: Biologist III / Marine Mammals (Senior)

Department: Animal Care and Conservation

Direct Report: Curator of Marine Mammals / Director of Animal Care and Conservation

Position Summary

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

Position Attributes

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.


  • A four-year degree in aquatic sciences, zoology, biology, psychology or related field
  • Five or more years of full-time animal care experience from an accredited AZA institution or equivalent aquarium/zoo
  • Successful completion of pre-employment drug screening and SCUBA dive physical
  • Detailed knowledge of the biology, behavior, and natural history of marine mammals, especially cetaceans, and other major 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 and collection experience or the ability to obtain certification within one year from hire date
  • 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 collecting and other 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


  • Provides care for all specimens in assigned area through proper husbandry protocols involving daily observations, feedings, behavioral enrichment, environmental enrichment, water quality monitoring, and life support system (LSS) operations, administering treatments as directed by Animal Health Services and conducting daily animal welfare assessments and observations of animals.
  • 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
  • Assures that appropriate daily records are kept on all husbandry, training and water testing activities including daily care, animal health and welfare, acquisition/disposition and moralities
  • Conducts advanced animal care activities when needed, including collection, transport, acclimation, and quarantine
  • Research and suggest upgrades, enhancements and changes to habitat systems to supervisors
  • At the direction of the supervisor, interacts with and responds to public/media requests for information. Participates in Aquarium related education, public relations and membership programs including facility tours and lectures
  • 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
  • Identifies and resolves problems with minimal assistance
  • Mentors and supervises animal care interns and volunteers
  • Plans and implements habitat and LSS modifications, repairs and fabrication as directed
  • Secures additional responsibilities and development opportunities through participation in AZA Animal Programs
  • Manages assigned aspects of daily animal care operations under the guidance of the Curator of Marine Mammals and Director of Animal Care and Conservation
  • Provides leadership, demonstrates motivation and exhibits the values of the Mississippi Aquarium on a daily basis
  • Organizes interactive programs and educational presentations in assigned areas
  • Serves as a liaison to the Curator of Marine Mammals and Director of Animal Care and Conservation
  • Undertakes special projects as assigned by manager(s)

Team Requirements

  • 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.