Aquarist III (Aquarium)

The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is looking for an mid-level Aquarist with at least two years experience in a public aquarium setting to add to our Husbandry Team. The desired candidate would have a strong background in aquarium science working with a wide variety of taxa. It is preferred but not required that the candidate have experience managing and breeding syngnathids in accordance with all AZA guidelines and SSP recommendations. Experience starting or maintaining live food cultures and live food enrichments would be highly valued. We are looking for someone who is interested in building teams, growing programs, leading the industry in best practices, and making an impact on our guests.

Job Description:

Provide a guest experience of outstanding quality 

  • Approach all encounters with employees and guests in a friendly, service-oriented manner. 
  • Maintain the highest standards related to the day-to-day operations of the Husbandry Department
  • Work evening, weekend, holiday hours - required. 
  • Return telephone messages and e-mails in a timely fashion 
  • Handle problems in the workplace, including anticipating, preventing, identifying, and solving problems as necessary.
  • Identify and correct minor or routine maintenance problems in a timely manner and reports other maintenance needs 
  • Interact positively with the public and co-workers.
  • Make decisions consistent with Audubon Nature Institute policies and procedures. 
  • Assist with daily duties in all sections as required.
  • Perform facility and exhibit maintenance, including but not limited to, trash and debris removal, floor cleaning, painting, building repair, horticultural duties, etc. 
  • Establish and maintain effective, efficient and cooperative relationships with employees, senior administration, vendors and customers. 
  • Maintain high standards of personal appearance and grooming, including proper uniform standards, 
  • Comply at all times with Audubon Nature Institute standards and regulations to encourage safe and efficient operations. 

Weave quality entertainment through the guest experience. 

  • Work within the guidelines and mission of the Audubon Nature Institute. 
  • Convey information and ideas clearly. 
  • Conduct behind-the-scenes tours for VIP’s, donors, and Audubon Education programs as scheduled.
  • Interact with the public which may include on and off grounds educational and media presentations.
  • Develop and present educational programs as required. 
  • Function as an interpreter and represent ANI as a spokesperson. 
  • Compose animal and exhibit information for publication in the following: Audubon’s website, AZA’s website and other publications.

Exhibit the diversity of wildlife.

Animal Care

  • Have a strong working knowledge of the ecosystems and animals represented by their exhibit themes. This includes basic knowledge of animal anatomy, behavior, environmental parameters and recognition of common heath concerns.
  • Maintain current knowledge of all specimens under their care, their natural history (biology and environmental needs) and husbandry requirements through hands on experience, upkeep with current literature, active professional network development, keeper exchange programs and conference participation as approved. 
  • Exercise sound judgement to evaluate animal health and identify concerns as they arise. Develop strategies and solutions to minor health or behavioral concerns. 
  • Identify and correct minor or routine exhibit maintenance issues and report larger problems. 
  • Work with curatorial staff to initiate and oversee viable breeding, husbandry and conservation programs for species within their collection. 
  • Have a working knowledge of water chemistry and life support equipment with the ability to identify and troubleshoot problems. Have a working knowledge of plumbing and construction as it pertains to maintenance of exhibits. 
  • Assist in the acquisition of new specimens in accordance with AZA animal management and welfare guidelines and AAOA acquisition and transfer protocols and procedures. Participate in the proactive planning of acquisitions and transfers in accordance with approved collection plans. 
  • Assist curatorial staff in the development of collection plans.
  • Follow direction and maintain compliance with all AZA standards of Accreditation and Audubon Aquarium of the Americas established protocols for animal care including, but not limited to, diet administration, exhibit maintenance, behavioral conditioning, recordkeeping and safety.
  • Assist veterinarian and curatorial staff with recognizing animal health concerns and make sure treatment is carried out as prescribed.
  • Assist with the development of new exhibits and take ownership of improving existing exhibits. 
  • Work collaboratively with other departments to complete projects based on approved timelines.
  • Attend and participate in regular sub department meetings to develop goals, evaluate progress and facilitate open communication among staff.
  • Keep accurate and up to date records to ensure quality animal management and welfare at or above industry standards. 
  • Understand the principles of operant conditioning. Recognize situations where animal training can be used to reduce stress and use basic techniques to improve husbandry care. Write up basic training plans for curatorial approval and evaluates results. 
  • Perform established enrichment programs, develop new enrichment in assigned areas in response to behavioral observations and evaluate results. 
  • Assist in training and daily oversight of interns and volunteers.
  • Maintain a clean service area including scrubbing, mopping, organization and pest control as needed. 

Operate a financially self- sufficient collection of museums and parks 

  • Perform basic arithmetic functions and process financial information.
  • Assist with the preparation of the departmental operating budget as needed
  • Strive to operate within budget limitations
  • Manage time effectively to eliminate unnecessary overtime. 

Enhance the care and survival of wildlife through research and conservation

  • Encourage and support Audubon breeding programs 
  • Promote, participate in and oversee departmental research and conservation programs

Desired Skills:

  • Minimum of two years of paid experience in a zoological facility or public aquarium, aquaculture facility, mariculture, aquatics research laboratory or similar facility, OR, demonstrated and confirmed skill set and knowledge required for the position as stated in the job description (ANI Internal candidates only) is required. AZA accredited public aquarium facility is preferred. 
  • Experience in the care of zoological exhibits with a primary focus on fishes and aquatic invertebrates. Familiarity with care of reptiles, birds and amphibians. 


  • High School diploma (or equivalent) and a degree from a recognized college or university are required. College course work in zoology, biology, animal science or related field is preferred. 
  • Accurate oral and written communication skills. 


  • Must maintain a valid driver’s license
  • SCUBA certification preferred
  • First Aid/ CPR preferred

Physical Requirements:

  • Sitting or standing, bending, stooping and per OSHA regulations: Heavy work involving lifting no more than 100 pounds at a time with frequent lifting or carrying of objects weighing up to 50 pounds. 
  • Must be able to swim.

If SCUBA certified, the Aquarist III will demonstrate the ability to:

  • swim efficiently at the surface
  • swim efficiently underwater
  • tow another diver while in full SCUBA gear
  • tread water/float on the surface
  • assemble, ditch and don SCUBA gear 
  • control of buoyancy using SCUBA
  • clear SCUBA mask and swim without a mask underwater
  • regulator skills – recover and clear, and breathe through free-flowing regulator
  • demonstrate comfort underwater in all conditions, stressful or otherwise

Environmental/Working Conditions:

  • Candidate must maintain regular attendance in compliance with Audubon standards, as required by scheduling which may vary according to the needs of the organization 
  • Working long hours between breaks or meals required.
  • Willingness to work weekends, holidays, irregular hours and be available based on special needs/circumstances on a 24 hour basis.
  • Ability to work around and handle raw seafood, including shellfish
  • Ability to work under and handle stress in an appropriate manner required.
  • Maintain off-exhibit areas in a clean, organized and safe fashion.
  • May be exposed to high, medium, or low noise intensity.
  • Exposure to fluctuations in temperatures is required.
  • Willingness to work outdoors, lift heavy objects, and risk periodic exposure to fairly predictable and controllable hazards associated with wild animals and zoonotic diseases. 
  • Oversee pest control efforts in section.
  • Willingness to serve on the Aquarium’s Hurricane Team if necessary.

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