Fish Health and Immunology Lab Support Specialist

Saltwater Inc

Anchorage, Alaska

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details 26-29 / hr
Deadline Jun 22, 2024

At Saltwater Inc. we believe that high-quality data is vital to the health of our fisheries and oceans: our mission is to provide that data. We are a Women-Owned Small Business and are constantly seeking new team members who share our passion for innovation and environmental wellness. We are currently recruiting for a Fish Health Scientist. This individual will work with the Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) Environmental and Fisheries Sciences (EFS) Division to support finfish aquaculture and bolster aquatic animal disease research and expertise.

This work will be conducted on-site only at the NOAA Facility at Newport Research Station, 2032 SE OSU Drive, Newport, Oregon 97365. This is an ongoing contract, so work will begin immediately upon approval and completion of NOAA Security Clearance. This contract is currently in its base year which ends September 29, 2024, and work is likely to continue for an additional four option years.

We are looking for someone who is self-motivated, has experience working in a lab and performing independent research, and is comfortable with performing husbandry of multiple aquatic species.


The contractor shall conduct both basic and applied research in the areas of aquatic animal health and disease to assess the impact of stressors and mitigating treatments on both cultured and wild aquatic species. These topics are important to the Center’s various aquaculture research involving finfish and shellfish, as well as to characterizing environmental interactions between, and among, wild and cultured aquatic species.

Task 1 - Husbandry of Multiple Aquatic Species

  • Perform husbandry for aquatic species (e.g., salmon, sablefish) reared and held at the laboratory facility. Required husbandry practices shall include cleaning tanks and troughs, changing filters, feeding aquatic species, moving and distributing aquatic species, monitoring growth of aquatic species and adjusting feeds and densities as needed, measuring water quality parameters, and monitoring and maintaining system processes in order to produce healthy finfish and shellfish.
  • Deliverable: Rear healthy experimental stocks of aquatic species and maintain and deliver digitized records of the location, growth, feeding, and environmental and water quality conditions of the reared and experimental animals.

Task 2 - Laboratory Organization and Operation

  • Maintain and organize laboratories, which includes the following:
      • Ensure labs are properly maintained with operational laboratory equipment.
      • Ensure labs comply with the Center’s safe chemical hygiene practices, update and maintain the online chemical database, and properly label all chemicals.
      • Ensure all personnel and equipment adhere to laboratory safety practices.
  • Assist property manager and purchasing agent with laboratory and office property inventory, and consumables requests to maintain NOAA property records and ensure that labs are stocked with general and assay-specific consumable supplies.
  • Deliverable: Maintain and deliver a safe, organized, and healthy work environment and be responsive to laboratory supplies consumption and NOAA property assets.

Task 3 - Pathogen Challenge

  • Participate in determining and analyzing pathogen challenges of fish, including culturing pathogens of fish/shellfish in agar and broth media, characterizing the pathogen using multiple techniques and properly store frozen bacterial stock for later experiments.
  • Expose fish/shellfish to pathogens, collect samples by necropsy, collect mortalities, record data, and analyze results using established laboratory protocols in R Studio.
  • Monitor mortalities over time.
  • Autoclave waste at the end of experiments.
  • Deliverable: Deliver data and analyses in digitized formats obtained from the various techniques.

Task 4 - Assistance with Laboratory Experiments

  • Assist in method optimization and utilization of various assays to evaluate factors that may alter aquatic species health.
  • Determine/Obtain experimental baselines for positive and negative controls, and range.
  • Apply assays in larger scale experiments using live aquatic species, tissues, and/or factors that may affect their health, e.g., stressors, pathogens, vaccines, feed additives. Assays can include the use of specialized equipment, such as spectrophotometer, video cameras, distillation glassware apparatus, microplate readers, etc.
  • Construct graphs and tables of associated data for use in reports, presentations at meetings, and conferences, and for preparation of peer reviewed publications.
  • Conduct scientific writing and editing of sections of annual reports and peer-reviewed publications with staff scientists.
  • Deliverable: Deliver detailed information on assay methods and materials and provide literature support for assay development and/or interpretation. Methods and results shall be explicitly described to enable protocol, report, and/or manuscript generation.

Minimum Qualifications:

The proposed candidate must have the following minimum qualifications:

  • Master’s degree, or higher, from an accredited college or university with a major directly related in a field of study as related to the requirements of this PWS with emphasis in fisheries.

Additional preferred qualifications shall include:

  • Experience in working with diseases that affect aquatic species.
  • Experience in fish husbandry practices of aquatic species, and knowledge of water quality issues that may affect aquatic species.
  • Experience in applying microbiological, chemical, and behavioral techniques that are applied to research questions on fish health.
  • Seven (7) years or more experience working in a laboratory setting.

Salary range is $26 - $29 per hour.

Saltwater Inc. is proud to be an equal opportunity employer and a VEVRAA Federal Contractor and does not discriminate based on race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, parental status, veteran status, or disability status. We strive to create an inclusive workplace culture to attract the best talent and allow each member of our team to achieve their full potential and maximum productivity. Furthermore, Saltwater Inc. highly encourages qualified individuals with disabilities and protected veterans to apply for positions for which they are qualified and to notify us if there are any needs for accommodation throughout the application process and/or upon hire.

We will honor all requests for application confidentiality.

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Category Ecology, Fisheries, Marine Biology