Ocean Career: Protected Species Observer 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 recruiting protected species observers to monitor the monitoring and exclusion zones around pile driving operations and implement protective measures when necessary. The PSOs will work in teams during operations which will be conducted during daylight hours. This position is expected to start as early as mid-April and is anticipated to will run into August. Duties include, but are not limited to: identification of protected species; documenting location, documenting behavior and other essential data; documenting data on logs in an organized manner. Candidates will be selected based on their past experience identifying protected species.

Duties Include:

  • Monitor the Level A Shutdown Zone and Level B ZOI identified in the Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA).
  • Determine distances by using a range finder, scope, hand-held global positioning system (GPS) device or landmarks with known distances from the monitoring positions
  • Accurately record sightings and data on standardized forms associated with daily sighting activities, as well as self audit data prior to submission
  • Call for shut downs in the event that a marine mammal crosses into the designated ZOIs for that species
  • Operate and maintain field equipment including Garmin GPS, binoculars with reticles, range finder, and high resolution digital camera with video capabilities;


  • A minimum BSc degree from an accredited college or university with a major in one of the natural sciences and a minimum of 30 semester hours or equivalent in the biological sciences (may be waved if demonstrates good performance in previous PSO duties);
  • Ability to work well with a team;
  • Experience working long days in the field - applicants must be in good health, physically fit and capable of standing for up to 12 hours, focus continuously alternating with the naked eye and binoculars and to safely perform other field duties (climbing and descending ladders as needed, embarking and disembarking transfer vessels, etc). The chosen applicant will be required to provide evidence of clearance for field duty in the form of a physical.
  • Knowledge of computer software applications including: Microsoft Office Suite, with experience completing Excel data forms in the field and compiling data in tabular and graphical form;
  • Candidates must be able to communicate clearly and concisely in English, both verbally and written.


  • Flexibility! This job will require work on weekends and holidays, and some longer/earlier/later than normal work days.
  • Professional, personable and positive! It is essential that they be well mannered and proud to represent A.I.S. Inc.
  • Ability to work in remote locations and outdoors in adverse weather conditions including rainy and windy conditions, as well as extreme heat and cold.

To Apply: Please submit a resume, a cover letter detailing your PSO experience, 5 professional references (name, e-mail address and phone number), and a PSO Training Certification, Offshore Safety Training Certification and any other applicable credentials/certificates. Click here to complete our online application and submit the required documents.

Location: Chesapeake Bay, VA
Duration: Temporary/Seasonal April – August 2021
Salary: $18-22/hour; travel expenses to and from the staging location will be reimbursed.

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