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Environmental Quality and Life Support System Biologist

Fort Worth Zoo
Fort Worth, United States Posted: July 03, 2024


This position is responsible for supervising and coordinating all operations related to life support systems and environmental monitoring for Fort Worth Zoo collection animals. Additionally, this position will liaise with the construction and maintenance department regarding construction and daily operation, maintenance, repair of life support systems and equipment.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities: 
  • Collaborate with animal programs department curators to develop, implement, and maintain protocols and procedures to ensure optimal water quality, environmental parameters, and wellbeing for all Fort Worth Zoo collection species with a primary focus on aquatic systems
  • Maintain direct responsibility and accountability for the performance of water quality testing and results including notification of vested parties should concerns arise 
  • Work with the construction and maintenance department in the design and sourcing for life support systems (LSS) and equipment that pertain to collection species
  • Work in tandem with the animal programs department area managers (supervisors/curators) to troubleshoot problems with water quality and LSS functionality 
  • Serve as primary liaison with construction and maintenance department related to environmental safety and health for collection animals; ensure seamless coordination between departments 
  • Maintain meticulous records for water quality, routine maintenance and cleaning, and any treatments or alterations made within assigned areas; develop, implement and supervise training to ensure staff compliance with recordkeeping policies procedures
  • Exhibit leadership within the animal programs department through development and implementation of goals, objectives, policies, and priorities related to safe animal environments
  • Monitor and evaluate for quality and efficiency of the Zoo’s LSS systems and recommend prioritized improvements as appropriate 
  • Participate in approved research projects, as applicable 
  • Coordinate, lead, and participate in regular meetings with animal program managers and construction and maintenance staff related to environmental systems 
  • Develop and maintain an inventory of environmental systems related to animal exhibits and holding areas for long-term management and optimization of resources
  • Provide interpretation and recommendations for water chemistry parameters pertinent to environmental systems that ensures meeting or exceeding AZA, USDA, and Fort Worth Zoo standards
  • Remain current on regulations and laws relating to life support and water quality standards and communicate as needed
  • Share and maintain expertise related to environmental quality in a zoological facility 
  • Attend and participate in professional group meetings; stay abreast of new trends and innovations in the field of zoo environmental management and water quality monitoring 
  • Coordinate assigned activities and operations with other departments, divisions, outside agencies, and the public
  • Assist where needed in inter-departmental projects and functions
  • Perform other duties and responsibilities as assigned
Supervisory Responsibilities:
  • Develop and implement basic training for animal programs department staff related to water quality monitoring and recording as well as interventions to address aberrations 
  • Develop and maintain a system to ensure records and policies remain up-to-date 
  • Supervise and participate in the research, planning, construction, installation, and maintenance of environmental systems (e.g. LSS, air handing/filtration, etc.) related to animal exhibits and holding spaces
  • Develop and implement proper emergency procedures related to LSS and facilitate appropriate maintenance of emergency equipment and supplies
  • Monitor work environment to ensure adherence to all safety protocols and procedures
  • Use independent judgment and critical thinking skills to problem solve, collaborate and provide necessary direction to staff members at all levels
  • Demonstrate leadership of employees through ongoing training to include applicable laws, Zoo policies, business conduct and ethics and the provision of quality services to guests and employees supporting the highest level of program integrity
Qualifications:
  • To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.
  • Aquatic Animal Life Support Operator (AALSO) Level I (or higher) Water Quality Certification preferred
  • Proficiency in regulations concerning marine animal housing, Life Support Systems (LSS), and Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) for accreditation standards
  • Proficiency in automated controls and monitoring equipment, water chemistry principles, and related maintenance and repair tasks
  • Knowledge of occupational hazards and appropriate safety precautions
  • Knowledge of zoonotic diseases and prevention
  • Knowledge of ozone systems with both fresh and saltwater applications
  • Knowledge of chlorine dosing/monitoring systems
  • Understanding of Nitrogen cycle and how it affects various animals and water parameters
  • Ability to troubleshoot problems associated with animal-related environmental systems including complex water treatment and filtration systems 
  • Sound judgment and ability to use critical thinking for effective decision-making
  • Ability to communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing
  • Ability to develop and sustain effective working relationships
  • Ability to effectively collaborate with multiple departments while maintaining tact and diplomacy 
  • Valid driver license with acceptable motor vehicle record to maintain Zoo standards of insurability 
  • SCUBA certification preferred
Education and/or Experience: 
  • Bachelor’s degree in wildlife management, zoology, biology, ecology, chemistry, or related field
  • Minimum of 5 years increasingly responsible experience in the development, implementation, and maintenance of life support systems for a variety of zoological taxa, or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Direct experience with aquatic life support management required 
  • Experience operating automated life support systems with demonstrated ability to work with various computer programs and software related to essential functions of the position
  • Supervisory experience within an AZA or closely related animal care facility desirable
Physical Demands: 
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to stand, walk, sit, and talk or hear. 
  • The employee must regularly lift and/or move up to 50 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 75 pounds.
Work Environment:
  • The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. 
  • Team oriented environment
  • Ability to work irregular hours (holidays and weekends)
  • Exposure to a variety of domestic and wild or potentially dangerous animals; animal odors and animal body fluids
  • Exposure to all types of inclement weather conditions
  • Exposure to chemicals (cleaning, water chemicals, additives, etc.)
  • Ability to work special events and functions as required
Disclaimer
  • The above job description is meant to describe the general nature and level of work being performed; it is not intended to be construed as a complete inventory of all responsibilities, duties and skills required for the position. 
  • This job description in no way states or implies that these are the only duties to be performed by the employee occupying this position. Employees will be required to follow any other job-related instructions and to perform other job-related duties requested by their supervisor.
  • Requirements are representative of minimum levels of knowledge, skills and/or abilities. To perform this job successfully, the employee must possess the abilities or aptitudes to perform each duty proficiently. Continued employment remains on an at-will basis.
  • Benefits 
This is a full-time position and offers the following benefits: 
  • Medical and Prescription Drug (Employee Coverage 90% Employer Paid, Dependent Coverage 55% Employer Paid)
  • Vision
  • Dental
  • Basic Life AD&D (100% Employer Paid)
  • Short Term Disability (100% Employer Paid)
  • Long Term Disability (100% Employer Paid)
  • Supplemental Life
  • Flexible Spending Account
  • 401k
  • Paid Time Off (Accrual Equivalent to 5 Weeks Per Year)
  • PTO Rollover
  • PTO Sell Back
  • Free Zoo Membership
  • Free Guest Passes
  • Discounts on Food, Merchandise, Attractions, Admission and Programs

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