Marine Mammal Science Job Openings

North Atlantic Right Whale Aerial Survey Observer (OPS Biological Scientist I)

Job Category: Paid Staff Position
Date Posted:

Agency: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Working Title: OPS BIOLOGICAL SCIENTIST I – FWC – 77907312
Position Number: 77907312
Salary: $16 per hour
Posting Closing Date: 09/05/2020
North Atlantic Right Whale Aerial Observer (Seasonal)
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)
Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI)
Section: Wildlife Research – Marine Mammals
Job Location: St. Augustine, FL (St. Johns County)
Rate of Pay: $16.00/hr; 40 hrs/week including weekends and holidays

Observer positions are temporary/seasonal, contingent upon funding, and will not be eligible for participation in State Group insurance benefits. Anticipated end date for this position is 4/2/2021.

FWC’s FWRI conducts research and monitoring activities for right whales in the southeastern United States. Projects focus on vessel-strike mitigation and data collection for federal assessment of the status and recovery of the North Atlantic right whale population. Aerial surveys are flown daily, weather permitting, from December 1st through March 31st. Observers collect in-flight survey data and right whale photo-documentation and assist with data entry, processing, and archival tasks as well as photo-identification. Observers also provide ground support for the aerial survey crew and must communicate effectively with partner state and federal agencies and NGO representatives, as well as the general public. Observers may assist with vessel surveys and photo-identification, multi-agency genetic sampling effort, field necropsies of right whales, large whale disentanglement, and documentation of large whale reports from the public. Prior to the start of surveys on December 1st (dates TBA), applicants will be required to attend and satisfactorily complete aircraft and marine safety and survival training as well as training to introduce the skills and responsibilities of an observer with FWC’s North Atlantic right whale program. Applicants must be willing to regularly work weekends, holidays, and evenings. Observer positions are temporary/seasonal and contingent upon funding.

A bachelor’s degree in one of the biological sciences from an accredited college or university is required.

**Preference may be given to candidates with previous aerial and/or marine mammal survey experience and practical knowledge of photo-identification techniques. Preference may also be given to candidates who demonstrate experience in database entry and hands-on experience with digital SLR cameras and lenses.

Applicant must be able to: thrive in a small team environment and maintain successful working relationships; apply basic methods of data collection and field research; utilize problem solving techniques and work independently; carry-out daily manual labor (able to vertically lift at least 50 lbs.); excel under adverse field conditions including a full day seated in a small aircraft or aboard a small vessel; swim sufficiently to save oneself; and understand and correctly utilize applicable rules, regulations, and procedures.

Direct link for job posting:
Applicants are required to apply by completing a State of Florida Employment Profile online in People First ( by midnight on the closing date stated. Additionally, in order to be considered for this position, applicants must include a cover letter highlighting their relevant qualifications for this position, a resume or CV, and contact information for at least three professional references. If you experience technical difficulties during the application process, please call People First at 1-877-562-7287. (TTY applicants call 1-866-221-0268).