Ocean Career: Marine Biotoxin Monitoring and Modelling Specialist at AIS

A.I.S., Inc. (AIS) is a national scientific services firm supporting maritime activities requiring certification of compliance with environmental regulations as well as collecting data for use by Federal, State, Municipal, and other government agencies along the US coastline.

AIS is looking for a Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Specialist to support NOAA’s Environmental and Fisheries Science (EFS) Division.

Primary Function:

Research activities within the EFS division include monitoring the presence of environmental biotoxins in food webs and exposure risks to marine wildlife, ecosystems, and fisheries, enhancing seafood safety by developing improved detection methods for biotoxins and other environmental contaminants, and developing models for exposure risk and health impacts. These activities primarily support NOAA Fisheries objectives for Protected Resources, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, Fisheries Ecosystem-based Management, and for advancement of Science and Technology.


Task 1: Develop Coupled Biological and Physical Models for trophic transfer of algal toxins in food webs

  • Use environmental data (physical ocean conditions, algal cell densities and toxicity, toxin concentrations in multiple layers of the food web (zooplankton, clams, worms, fish) and behavioral and health data for marine mammals collected over five years in Arctic and subarctic regions to develop toxin - trophic transfer models for toxin accumulation, biotransformation, and adverse health impacts in specific food webs under multiple bloom scenarios and for prediction of future animal mortality events. The model developed will be coupled with a physical oceanographic model in collaboration with physical scientists at other institutions.

Task 2: Sample Collection & Analyses

  • Execute tissue and environmental sample collection, both in the lab and in the field including on multiple research cruises (up to 2 cruises per year);
  • Conduct analysis and quantification of biotoxins after training on HPLC and ELISA methods for algal toxin quantification.
  • Collaborate with NOAA/project personnel for sample collection, shipment, sample login and packing for cruises.
  • Process and prepare samples for analyses.
  • Record metadata and individual sample data and maintain/update master data spreadsheets on a weekly basis.

Task 3: Record Data & Assay Results

  • Perform data entry into prescribed databases, appropriate data quality checking, documentation of location & accessibility of data & assay results to project lead & shall assist in preparation of reports & manuscripts on a weekly basis.

Task 4: Maintain and Organize Laboratory

  • Monitor laboratory supply levels & notify the project lead when supplies need to be ordered.
  • Maintain lab equipment to working order; maintain safe chemical hygiene practices; & adhere to laboratory safe practices.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’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 specific task order with emphasis in quantitative science, biological and physical modeling, trophic transfer of toxins in food webs, oceanography, and ecosystem function.
  • Master’s Degree in a related field or Ph.D. may be substituted for experience.
  • Four (4) years of experience in related field or combination of such totaling eight (8) years combined education/experience.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop quantitative biological models for movement of compounds through food webs (i.e. an understanding of; uptake and depuration of toxins in living organisms, ecosystem trophic levels and function, and programming of mathematical formulas for model development).
  • Demonstrated experience working with large long term data sets including but not limited to biological data, oceanographic data, and climate and environmental conditions data.
  • Demonstrated ability to generate pictorial figures and GIS maps.
  • Demonstrated experience using existing models and software such as Ecopath with Ecosim and Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS).
  • At least 3 years of experience in model development with a documented product such as authorship of a peer-reviewed publication, report, and/or master’s or PhD thesis.
  • Demonstrated ability to give oral presentations such as conference presentations (oral and/or poster) or other public presentations.
  • At least two (2) years of laboratory experience.
  • Must be able to participate in research cruises of multiple days at sea.
  • Must be able to drive a government vehicle.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • At least one (1) year of experience working with High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) for toxin analyses.
  • At least one (1) year of experience running ELISAs for toxin detection.
  • At least one (1) year of experience generating standard curves and quantifying toxin levels via Prism Software


  • Travel to port locations such as, but not limited to, Nome, Juneau, Kodiak and/or Anchorage, Alaska for research cruises each summer (actual dates are not determined yet).
  • May also attend research planning or report meetings one (1) to three (3) times each year (actual dates are not determined yet).

Location: Seattle, Washington


If you would like to apply for this exciting new opening, please click here to submit the required information:

  • Resume
  • Cover letter detailing marine biotoxin experience.
  • 3 professional references (name, email address and phone number)

All documents must be submitted for your application to be considered. If you have any questions pertaining to this opening please feel free to call William Byrd at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 774-762-7019.

The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant.

An Equal Opportunity Employer

It is the policy of A.I.S. to recruit, hire, train, promote, transfer and compensate our employees and provide all other conditions of employment including Company sponsored events without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, age, sex, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, lawful alien status, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, citizenship status, veteran status or any other status protected by applicable law.

Must be able to work in the U.S. • VEVRAA Federal Contractor • Request Priority Protected Veteran Referrals • Equal Opportunity Employer

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