Wet lab Upgrade Consulting Services

Ocean Associates

Ocean Associates

Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2024

If you are unable to complete this application due to a disability, contact Ocean Associates at 703-388-9548 to ask for an accommodation or an alternative application process.

Ocean Associates Inc. (OAI) is seeking an applicant to provide Wet Lab Upgrade Consulting Services for the Auke Bay laboratories (ABL) of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in southeast Alaska. OAI is a Virginia corporation established in 2003 that provides consulting and technical services to the U.S. government, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and the private sector. We specialize in scientific program and project management, strategic planning, professional and technical services, and stakeholder engagement, supporting government contracts. We are seeking applicants for this position prospectively, which is dependent on award of contract.


Auke Bay Laboratories aquatic research laboratory facilities is seeking consultation to develop and evaluate options for improving our lab capabilities for studies of aquatic organisms, mainly juvenile marine fish, freshwater- and marine-stage salmon, and shellfish. The facilities are located in Southeast Alaska, with two operations in Juneau (accessible by commercial jet airline service from Seattle and Anchorage) and one in Little Port Walter (accessible by locally-chartered floatplane flights from Juneau or Sitka). As part of the consultation, the candidate will make a site visit to our facilities for assessments and discussions with staff. There are some common features and needs across the three facilities and some that are unique to each.

The current specifications and capacities for the facilities, such as those described below, will be considerations in the development of upgrade options.

Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute (TSMRI) - Main wet lab (juvenile marine fish focus) Current specifications / capacities:

  • ~1200 sq. ft. lab space.
  • Seawater is pumped directly from the ocean at ~25 m depth, at a rate of ~450 gpm (1,703 L/min) to a reservoir / filtration tower, and gravity fed to wet labs. Temperature range 3-10 ℃. Salinity range: 30-33.
  • Sand filtration system.
  • Filtered and unfiltered seawater gravity-fed from reservoir / filter tower to lab.
  • Effluent treated with ozone, not optimally functioning. Plan to acquire, install UV system.
  • Large portable chiller temporarily used to chill tanks (60,000 BTU).
  • Heated water diverted from building heat exchanger as needed, controlled using online Meridian Systems, Inc. (MSI) hardware / software.
  • Water quality monitoring conducted by handheld meters.
  • No room temperature control.

TSMRI - Annex building (Mariculture Program facility; shellfish focus) Current specifications / capacities:

  • ~800 sq. ft. lab space.
  • Seawater intake shared with main wet lab.
  • No seawater temperature control.
  • Sand filtration down to ~20 μm.
  • Limited room temperature control (wet lab stays around ~10 ℃, dry room ~16 ℃).
  • UV treatment of effluent, unknown effectiveness.
  • Water quality parameters monitored by handheld meters.

Little Port Walter Research Station (focused on freshwater- and marine-stage salmon, Pacific cod, and Walleye Pollock). Current specifications / capacities:

  • Two indoor lab spaces: salmon egg incubation room with freshwater, 736 sq. ft; round pond room, 554 sq. ft. Houses six 3,000 L circular tanks.
  • No temperature control.
  • Seawater pumped from ~33 m depth. Capacity ~245 L/min (75 L/min at low tide).
  • Temperature range: 2-14 ℃. Salinity range: 23-33 ppt. Unfiltered inflow. Effluent not treated.
  • Water quality parameters (temperature, DO, salinity, pH) collected with handheld meters and Hobo data loggers.


Key tasks include the following:

Task 1: Provide consulting services for the TSMRI main wet lab concerning the following areas of need:

  • Increase water flow to wet lab from reservoir / filter tower.
  • Enhance control (precision, stability) and monitoring of seawater flows to study tanks.
  • Consider remotely operated / automated valves, and low / no flow alarms.
  • Enhance control and monitoring of seawater temperature (heating, chilling) for study tanks. Consider potentially incorporating and modifying existing system drawing water from building heat exchanger.
  • Consider remotely operated / automated temperature control valves and alarms.
  • Improve filtration for study tanks to ~5-10 μm (reduce plankton during spring bloom, detritus coming through during sand backwashing events).
  • UV treatment / sterilization options for inflow to study tanks.
  • Aeration system to study tanks (connected to existing building air compressor, or independent air compressor).
  • Sensors to automate seawater quality monitoring (temperature, DO, salinity, pH) for main inflows and individual study tanks.
  • Developing freshwater capability, possibly using a recirculating system.
  • Changes to existing layout, plumbing, tanks, and hardware to allow more efficient use of space and flexibility for reconfiguration for different studies.

Task 2: Provide consulting services for the TSMRI annex building (Mariculture Program facility) concerning the following areas of need:

  • Seawater heating system (~80 L/min to 20 ℃, ~10 L/min to 26 ℃).
  • Inflow filtration (~100 L/min to 10 μm, ~10 L/hr to 1 μm).
  • Enhance seawater temperature controls, automated valves, temperature alarms.
  • Effluent filtration – particulate and UV filter, no chance of any microalgae or oysters (sperm/egg to adult) making it past.
  • Sensors to automate seawater quality monitoring (temperature, salinity, pH) for main inflows and individual tanks.

Task 3: Provide consulting services for the Little Port Walter Research Station concerning the following areas of need:

  • Increase saltwater pumping capacity to ~750 L/min: more powerful pumps and/or plumbing modifications to maximize water delivery to the round ponds.
  • With increased saltwater capacity, how to pipe saltwater to rest of station (e.g., incubation room, micro vertical raceways (175 L, n=100 tanks), and new 12,000 L circular tanks).
  • Modify incubation room for small (~200-400 L, n=10-20 tanks) tanks for experiments.
  • Monitor and control water flow rates, temperature (chilling and heating), pH, and salinity. Alarms for reduced water flow and temperature are needed.
  • Automated environmental data collection (freshwater: temperature, DO. Saltwater: temperature, salinity, pH).
  • Installation options for four 12,000 L circular tanks (construction location, plumbing, etc.). Filtration / treatment system options for incoming seawater (sand, UV).

Start Date: Contingent upon award of contract

Location: Remote/Telework

Travel: Travel is anticipated and required. Site visits will be conducted at the NOAA Fisheries Auke Bay Labs in Juneau, Alaska and Little Port Walter, Alaska.

Salary and Benefits: This is a full-time position with benefits. Salary, commensurate with experience, between $30 - $50 per hour.

Requirements: Applicants must have the following minimum requirements:

  • Experience in designing aquatic animal life support systems for marine science or aquaculture research laboratory programs.
  • Excellent written communication skills, including the production of professional-quality technical documents.
  • Excellent verbal communication skills, including interactions with people of diverse backgrounds and levels of technical expertise.
  • Project planning and management in a team environment.
  • Extensive knowledge of plumbing and water heating/cooling systems and strategies
  • High degree of familiarity with water quality monitoring equipment
  • Extensive knowledge of aquatic animal housing/holding systems and equipment
  • High proficiency with text document, spreadsheet, and graphical software

If you are interested in being considered for this position, please APPLY THROUGH OUR ADP WEB PORTAL, AT THE LINK AT THE TOP RIGHT OF THIS PAGE.

Only qualified applicants that meet minimum experience or background requirements stated above need apply. When applying for this position you will be asked to upload your resume at the end of this online application.

Applicants should submit a resume that includes the following:

  • Cover letter that briefly describes how you meet the required and preferred qualifications listed.
  • Work history for past 10 years or since last full-time education.
  • Education.
  • Previous experience or training with similar requirements.
  • Three professional references.
  • Include your name in the document file name.
  • Upload your resume in readable, not scanned, PDF or Word format (PDF is preferred).

In compliance with federal law, all persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the United States, complete the required employment eligibility verification document form upon hire, and successfully complete a federal government background check. Ocean Associates Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of any status or condition protected by applicable federal or state law.

OAI is a government contractor and is required by law to invite applicants to self-identify their race, gender, national origin, disability status and veteran status. OAI is required to use the information it collects as part of its future affirmative action efforts in hiring. The information is collected anonymously by computer and is not connected to your application. You will see a place to check certain boxes in OAI's online application. Even though the information is anonymous, self-identification is voluntary. You can always check the box that says you decline to self-identify.

Note: If you are not selected, your materials may be retained for present or future opportunities. We may use your resume in bidding on a project and if we are awarded the work, we will contact you before seeking further applicants. If you do not wish us to retain or use your resume to seek work for you, please let us know in the "Notes" section on the second page of the online application.