Job Postings

Senior Aquarist


California Science Center

Closing Date
March 6, 2019

The Senior Aquarist, under the supervision of the Husbandry Manager, provides proper husbandry to the aquatic animals, including daily observations of dietary and behavioral habits, cleaning and maintaining assigned exhibit and holding areas, tracking inventory, and keeping accurate and up to date records of assigned aquatic collections. The Senior Aquarist uses independent judgment and critical thinking to problem solve when necessary, keeping animal welfare at the forefront of decisions and actions. The Senior Aquarist is also responsible for the daily oversight of assigned areas, ensuring that related projects are progressing, and leading the daily activities of Aquarists while serving as a role model. The Senior Aquarist models positive, example-setting behavior while demonstrating a commitment to reaching the goals and objectives of the department and mission of the California Science Center Foundation.

Major Job Responsibilities:

• Works in collaboration with the Husbandry Manager to establish and maintain best practices based on industry standards to fulfill these major job responsibilities.
• Responsible for the daily care and husbandry of aquatic collections which may include marine and freshwater fish and invertebrates from temperate and tropical ecosystems.
• Practices good judgment in decision-making as related to animal care, emergency situations, and projects, particularly in the Husbandry Manager’s absence.
• Daily duties include but are not limited to: cleaning animal areas, diving tanks, prepping and feeding food, treating any injured/diseased individuals as necessary, making observations and recognizing abnormal animal behavior/appearance, acting upon/reporting such observations in a timely manner, working on the collecting vessel, and completing all necessary records and paperwork thoroughly.
• May provide care and husbandry of other living collections as needed, including terrestrial animals.
• Responsible for the care of all living collections in any and all emergency conditions.
• Adheres to and enforces Federal, State, and local agency laws, regulations, codes, and ordinances, as well as AZA standards.
• Assists with acquiring specimens through organization of trades/loans/purchases with other zoological institutions, suppliers, and when required, by participation in collecting trips.
• May assist in veterinary procedures as necessary.
• Assists with or leads collecting trips which can include but is not limited to boat operation, SCUBA collection, line fishing, and shore collection.
• Assists with procurement of supplies and equipment.
• Assists in the advancement and implementation of exhibit goals by contributing to the design and management of the exhibit development.
• Acts as a role model for Aquarists by exhibiting good judgment and common-sense decision making, high levels of professionalism and positivity, excellent animal husbandry, and serving as the main point of contact for Aquatics staff in the Husbandry Manager’s absence.
• Responds to work-related problems by creating solutions that will continue the workflow with as few interruptions as possible.
• Under the direction of the Husbandry Manager will assist with developing husbandry staff through training and increasing productivity and efficiency.
• Trains, develops, and oversees the work of Aquatics Husbandry volunteers.
• Fosters and supports a fun, team approach by applying effective two-way communication and a collaborative spirit.
• Leads by example by having a positive attitude, practicing high standards, modeling professional workplace behavior, and maintaining a supportive team atmosphere.
• Contributes to the strategic goals of the Living Collections department by promoting, supporting, and engaging in a positive, fun, and compassionate working environment.
• Contributes to the mission of the California Science Center by stimulating curiosity and inspiring science learning in everyone by creating fun, memorable experiences.
• Performs other duties as required.

Education and Pre-requisites

• Bachelor’s degree in Biology, Fisheries, Zoology or related field required OR equivalent experience.
• 3+ years of progressive levels of responsibility providing daily husbandry to aquatic animals, preferably at an AZA-accredited institution. 1+ years of experience training/supervising others highly preferred.
• Knowledge of modern principles of animal care and welfare, including behavioral enrichment, exhibitry, nutrition, disease, training, water quality, and transport.
• Must have experience with quarantine procedures and aquatic animal veterinary procedures.
• Specific knowledge of temperate Pacific and tropical ecosystems preferred.
• Strong observational skills to ensure animal health and safety.
• Sound judgment and ability to use common sense in for effective decision-making.
• Must have 50+ logged dives and Rescue Diver Certification or the ability to get the certification within 4 months of hire, the ability to pass annual dive physical requirements, and the ability to maintain active diver status with the California Science Center. Experience diving in the field (preferably open ocean) as well as in aquarium settings.
• Knowledge of boat operation/safety is preferred.
• Ability to lift and carry 50 pounds, kneel, bend, crouch, squat, and stand for extended periods of time.
• Ability to work effectively in wet conditions indoors and out as well as in inclement weather.
• Must have a valid California driver’s license (or ability to obtain a California driver’s license within 6 months of hire), a safe driving record, and ability to be insured.
• Ability to use power tools as needed.
• Knowledge of safe animal handling practices and maintaining a safe working environment.
• Strong computer (MS Office programs such as Excel, Word, and Outlook) and organizational skills. Experience with computerized record keeping software such as Tracks is highly preferred.
• Demonstrated leadership ability; experience mentoring others preferred.
• Strong written and verbal communication skills, including the ability to clearly, compassionately, and respectfully engage in discussion and prevent/resolve conflict with a diverse staff in a team setting.
• Ability to remain calm and focused under pressure and during stressful situations.
• Ability to work independently as well as leading a team.
• Ability to work a flexible schedule which includes weekends and holidays as required.

Compensation and benefits

$20.40 to $22.00 an hour. California Science Center Foundation employees receive excellent medical, dental, and vision coverage; retirement package; free science center membership, group term life insurance, and 11 paid holidays.

Application instructions

Send Cover Letter, Resume, Salary Target and Job Application to the HR Dept. via fax at 213-744-2673, email to, or mail to the California Science Center Foundation, H. R. Dept, 700 Exposition Park Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90037. Only applications that include a cover letter, resume, salary target and completed job application will be considered. No phone calls please. EOE.