Response and Operations Coordinator

Kailua-Kona, HI Full-time


The Marine Mammal Center advances global conservation through marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation, scientific research, and education.



The ocean is in trouble. From the depletion of fish stocks to increasing ocean temperatures, human activity threatens marine ecosystems that are vital to the health of our ocean and all life on earth. As a critical first responder to these threats, The Marine Mammal Center is leading the field in ocean conservation through marine mammal rescue, veterinary medicine, science, and education. Marine mammals are ecosystem indicators, and these animals provide insights into human and ocean health threats. Together, we are taking action today to support a network of scientists and stewards to protect our shared ocean environment for future generations.

To advance our mission, we focus our work in three key program areas:


  1. Animal Care: With a volunteer force numbering more than 1,200 and the support of a concerned public, the Center is able to respond to marine mammals in distress. Sick and injured animals are treated and rehabilitated at our state-of-the-art veterinary facilities where we care for our patients until they can be released back to their ocean home. Covering a rescue range that spans 600 miles of California coastline and the Big Island of Hawai‘i, the Center responds to more stranded marine mammals than any other organization in the world. Our sought-after experts are deployed locally and internationally to provide technical veterinary expertise and training on best practices ranging from anesthesia to disentanglement.
  2. Scientific Research: The Center is a major contributor to the global body of research and knowledge about marine mammal medicine and health. Our veterinary experts develop new clinical techniques to improve marine mammal rehabilitation and care, and investigate the reasons why marine mammals strand and how these factors are connected to ecosystem and human health. Our scientists also investigate how marine mammals use and interact with their ocean environment to better understand and protect them from many threats. Learning from every animal we respond to and studying animals in the wild, our researchers identify novel diseases and pathogens, support endangered and threatened species conservation, identify and help mitigate human-caused threats and partner with scientists around the world on collaborative research that utilizes samples and data collected by the Center. Marine mammal health, ocean health and human health are inextricably linked, and our work advances knowledge of all three to benefit us all.
  3. Education: As a teaching hospital, the Center serves as a vital training ground for veterinary professionals from across the globe, expanding the collective understanding and application of marine veterinary science and conservation. Our innovative school and public education programs build a sense of responsibility through a connection to marine mammals and the marine environment, inspiring future ocean stewards and promoting action to protect the ocean. Each year, these education programs and hands-on trainings reach more than 100,000 children and adults, supporting the next generation of informed scientists and engaged citizens who will care for and ensure the health of our ocean and environment.


The Marine Mammal Center was founded in 1975 by three local citizens: Lloyd Smalley, Pat Arrigoni and Paul Maxwell. Since then, and thanks to their vision, the Center is now a global leader in marine mammal health, science and conservation and is the largest marine mammal hospital in the world. The Center operates physical locations in Sausalito, Morro Bay and Moss Landing, CA, as well as in Kona, Hawai‘i, and has an annual operating budget of $11.5M. A team of 80 staff and 1,200 actively engaged volunteers make the Center’s impact possible and keep the Center operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 


The Response and Operations Coordinator leads the Marine Mammal Response Program for Hawai’i Island. This individual is responsible for responding to sightings of Hawaiian monk seals for the safety of both people and seals. This role is responsible for the communication, administration, and coordination of the Marine Mammal Response Program. Additionally, this individual is responsible for the training of response and community engagement volunteers. This position reports to the Animal Programs Manager, with direct partnership from the Learning and Community Team, based in Sausalito, CA. The Response and Operations Coordinator position requires self-direction and initiative.



  • Directs Ke Kai Ola’s monk seal conservation volunteers to maintain a thriving volunteer corps, in collaboration with the Center’s Volunteer Engagement department.
  • Collaborates with Ke Kai Ola staff to support recruitment, training and development of project teams
  • Coordinates Hawaiian monk seal responses on Hawai’i Island, which vary between occasional sightings and highly intensive events like births or molts
  • Actively facilitate communications between partner agencies, volunteers, staff and the public during a response
  • Coordinates the 24hr Response Hotline to respond to public reports, questions and concerns about sighted animals
  • Maintains animal records and database, and provide required reporting to NOAA
  • Maintains Ke Kai Ola vehicle fleet
  • Provides support to other Ke Kai Ola programs (Learning and Community and Animal Care Programs) in times of high intensity
  • Facilitates operations involving site upkeep, facilities, and visitors
  • Provides onsite office coverage on designated days
  • Trains and schedules volunteers to execute site tours; leads tours when needed, especially to support key community partnerships and donor relationships
  • Provides support for Sausalito-based programs and initiatives (e.g. Public Awareness and Engagement)


  • Demonstrated ability to foster positive relationships with a variety of stakeholders and community members (familiarity with Hawaiian communities, culture and customs is highly desirable)
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Knowledge of current rescue techniques and partner agencies
  • Knowledge of Hawaiian monk seal history throughout the state of Hawaii
  • Demonstrated ability to direct and train staff and volunteers to advance their knowledge of Hawaiian monk seals and response protocols
  • Strong administrative, organizational, and presentation skills
  • Ability to record, manage, and report volunteer data
  • Proficiency using Microsoft Office suite of programs, and web-based programs (e.g. Google Drive)
  • Adept at detail-oriented work
  • Ability to multi-task
  • Ability to delegate effectively
  • Ability to work as a member of a multidisciplinary team
  • Competent use of independent judgment
  • Demonstrated capability to conduct one’s self in a calm and professional manner when dealing with the public, volunteers and/or difficult situations
  • Demonstrated commitment to uphold the Center’s Credo (community values and conduct standards) 


  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Background and/or relevant experience in public education and outreach
  • Prior volunteer coordination experience highly valued
  • Experience handling wild monk seals highly desirable
  • Valid Hawaiian driver’s license and a clean driving record
  • Must submit to and pass background check



  • Ability to lift and/or move up to 50 pounds
  • Ability to stand/walk up to 4 hours in extreme weather conditions without a break
  • Ability to sit at a desk for extended periods of time using a computer screen and walking
  • Hospital environment with access to other parts of the facilities via outdoor pathways
  • Limited exposure to zoonotic diseases


Location: Ke Kai Ola Hospital, Kailua-Kona, HI

Hours: This role is full-time and may require working some evenings, weekends and/or holidays, depending on program or facility needs.

Reports To: Animal Programs Manager

To Apply: Click on apply below