Trainee Aquarium Technician vacancy

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The Marine Biological Association (MBA) carries out leading-edge research in fundamental and strategic areas of marine biology with a focus on coastal and shelf ecosystems. We are seeking to appoint a Trainee Aquarium Technician based at the MBA’s Citadel Hill Laboratory inPlymouth.

The MBA maintains a half-million litre research aquarium fed by pipeline from the sea in support of diverse marine biological research. To help the MBA progress this nationally important capability we are particularly keen to hear from highly motivated early career scientists with a strong interest and aptitude for marine biology and animal husbandry.

The postholder will be responsible for varied duties including animal husbandry and feeding to relevant ethical standards, maintaining and testing aquaria systems, maintaining records of systems and stocks, and communication to outside groups about the work undertaken.

Applicants must have a minimum qualification of a second class Honours degree in marine biology or a relevant biological science. The successful applicant will have demonstrable practical experience in aquatic husbandry including filtration systems, animal care and welfare and record keeping. Experience of maintaining fish and cephalopods would be desirable. An ability to cooperate with the head aquarist, engineer and scientific staff will be essential.

The appointment will be for one year in the first instance. Salary will be in the range £16,846 to £19,411 per annum.

Application details and further information are available from the MBA website ( Informal enquiries can be made to Professor David Sims (Tel: 01752 633227. E-mail:

Applications should be addressed to the MBA Director and sent via email to the Director’s Secretary (E-mail: Closing date for applications is the 30th April 2012.

Application for the post should be by cover letter and a detailed up-to-date curriculum vitae including the names, postal and email addresses of two Referees that we may approach for personal references. The cover letter should summarise your experience and expertise specifically relevant to the post and should include a personal statement giving reasons why you feel you are best suited to the position. In addition, please provide reasons why you wish to work at the Citadel Hill Laboratory of the Marine Biological Association (MBA) inPlymouth.

Further Information – Job description

Role within MBA

The role of the trainee Seawater Hall Technician (ST) is to work with and be trained by the head aquarist and Named Animal Care and Welfare Officer (NACWO) to maintain the seawater and aquaria systems to the highest possible standards for promoting the health and welfare of marine organisms in the support of core and strategic MBA science.

Description of Duties

1. The ST will be trained to maintain the Seawater Hall and aquaria room areas to the highest standards of cleanliness and animal care working in close cooperation with the head aquarist and NACWO. Close cooperation with the MBA engineer will also be necessary. Specific duties that comprise the training will include:

(i) Husbandry of organisms including the care and welfare of animals to MBA Ethical Review Committee and UK Home Office standards

(ii) Maintain paper and electronic records of animals held on the MBA systems and their movements (i.e. when returned to sea).

(iii) Prepare the food and undertake the feeding of the animals in the Laboratory

(iv) Ensure aquaria systems are running correctly including the cleaning of seawater areas

(v) Test seawater systems for temperature, salinity, pH, nitrite, nitrate and ammonia and record these parameters. Ensure main TMC filtration system is working properly.

(vi) Breeding of various aquatic animals and the design of the aquaria systems required for this purpose

(vii) Responsibility for design and set up of new aquaria systems, open or closed, for new research projects. Work with the head aquarist and the engineer to provide advice to scientific staff on aquaria systems required for research

2. The ST will ensure where needed that all students, visitors and new staff complete an induction to the Seawater Hall best practice guidelines and the necessary Health and Safety procedures. The ST will be trained to prepare and keep updated the risk assessments relevant to the Seawater Hall and aquaria rooms.

3. The ST will work closely with the NACWO to maintain the highest standards of animal welfare and the ethical treatment of animals, including liaison with the Home Office Inspector and the MBA’s Named Veterinary Surgeon. It is also expected that the ST will become a member of the MBA animal Ethical Review Committee.

4. The ST will be supported by appropriate training to deliver ad hoc lectures to visiting students and scientists on the MBA aquarium systems and the breeding of various aquatic animals. The ST will provide guided tours of the Seawater Hall facilities where needed. The ST may also be needed to engage with the public by telephone or email to answer various questions about aquaria and/or marine animals that are received by the MBA.

5. The ST will coordinate the sale of marine specimens to universities where needed. Deputising for the head aquarist at certain times will be necessary following an appropriate period of training. Liaising and cooperating with scientific staff responsible for maintaining algal cultures will also be needed.

Line Management

The ST will be managed on a day-to-day basis by the head aquarist. The ST will report for appraisal to Professor David Sims (Deputy Director Research/Senior Fellow) who is the coordinator of the Seawater Hall and its team.

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