Biologist II

San Francisco, CA
Full Time

Reporting to the Curator this position is responsible for providing general animal care and support for the Steinhart Aquarium’s living collection in various habitat areas as assigned. Cleans habitats and holding areas, monitors animal health, makes frequent daily rounds, reports suspected animal or water quality problems to the Curator and Animal Health Department, maintains accurate records, may participate in the collection of specimens, may participate in animal transportation and shipments, and may travel on Aquarium business. Work schedule will include weekends, evenings and holidays. Provides animal and aquatic plant care and support for the Academy’s living collection, primarily in marine and freshwater habitats. Preferred candidates will have experience in the breeding of freshwater or marine fishes, experience with live corals and/or aquatic plants, and have familiarity with training and enrichment of fish, invertebrates, reptiles and elasmobranchs.

Come join a team dedicated to the Academy’s mission, vision and values! Currently, the Academy has a new strategic plan including three initiatives – Hope for Reefs, Thriving California, and Islands 2030 – that leverage biodiversity science, environmental learning, and collaborative engagement to regenerate fragile ecosystems around the world. Learn more at

We hope you are inspired by what we do and are excited to contribute to our mission. The Academy is looking for candidates who do great work, and we know they may come from a number of different backgrounds and experiences. We encourage you to apply even if you do not believe you meet every ­one of the qualifications for the position.

This position is onsite at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California. Please do not apply if you are not willing to relocate if you are not located in the Bay Area. Candidates are required to have up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination, including receiving a booster shot, as a condition of employment, absent qualifying exemptions in accordance with applicable laws. Individuals receiving a conditional offer of employment from the California Academy of Sciences will be provided the full text of the vaccination policy.


  • Responsible for the general care and maintenance of one or more of the following: fresh and saltwater fishes and aquatic invertebrates, reptiles, and their holding areas.
  • Provides a high standard of daily husbandry care and habitat maintenance including animal feedings, habitat and back of house cleaning, health monitoring and environmental sampling.
  • Participates in the animal enrichment and training program.
  • Assists in animal treatments and procedures as required.
  • Provides backup and support for areas assigned to other staff as the Primary and/or Secondary backup during their normal days off and holidays.
  • Actively seeks further training with all taxa represented in the living collection.
  • Assists in the acquisition of living specimens following the collection plan developed by Curators and the Director of Animal Care and Welfare, including specimens for display and feeding.
  • Assists in the design and preparation of new display environments and habitats.
  • Recruits, trains and supervises volunteers.
  • Effectively communicates to the Aquarium management and staff.
  • Follows all Academy and Aquarium safety regulations.
  • Participates in Academy committees and work groups as needed.
  • Becomes fluent in our animal data software program - ZIMS.
  • Establishes and maintains positive, cooperative and effective working relations with fellow employees.
  • Actively participates in a culture promoting trust, respect and accountability.
  • Presents programs to the general public, media and in professional meetings.
  • Conducts general tours of the Aquarium and its support spaces.
  • Answers questions from the general public through a variety of means.
  • Interacts with professional colleagues, guests, the media and the general public in a professional manner.
  • Follows all Academy safety regulations.
  • Other duties of similar scope and nature as otherwise assigned.

A qualified candidate will have a combination of the following experience and/or equivalent education:

  • Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, Zoology, Marine or Aquatic Biology, or a related field of study preferred.
  • Must have completed three (3) years of paid full-time animal/plant husbandry or related position(s) in a public aquarium or comparable institution, showing an increase in responsibility and experience.


  • Knowledge of essential animal care and welfare requirements for the living collection.
  • Knowledge of USDA and AZA standards for animal care and welfare.
  • Knowledge of public aquarium/zoo operations, maintenance, record keeping and life support systems.
  • Knowledge of natural animal habitats and the ability to duplicate them in a controlled environment.
  • Knowledge of record-keeping software such as ZIMS, Formstack, and Google Drive.
  • Excellent observation skills.
  • Effective verbal and written communication skills.
  • Effective organizational and problem-solving skills.
  • Ability to multitask, prioritize, and delegate tasks.
  • Ability to present programs and effectively convey information to guests, the general public, the media, colleagues, and in professional meetings.
  • Ability to work as a member of a team and engage in a culture that promotes trust, respect and accountability.
  • Ability to utilize web-based communication and collaboration applications.
  • Familiarity with scientific research projects.
  • Experience caring for aquarium fishes, invertebrates, plants, and reptiles.
  • Willingness to seek further training in animal and plant husbandry.
  • SCUBA certified or able to attain SCUBA certification if required.
  • Ability to complete CPR/AED/First Aid certification.
  • Ability to work weekends and holidays on a routine basis.
  • Ability to read and interpret documents such as departmental protocols, safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals.
  • Ability to write routine reports, correspondence, and standard operating procedures.

WORK ENVIRONMENT:  The physical demands and work environment described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand, sit, walk, and reach with hands and arms, and talk or hear. Must be able to transport 50 lbs. Must be able to work at a computer and perform repetitive motions 75%​ ​of the time. Must be able to climb stairs and ladders. Must be able to swim. Must be able to use extension poles, long-handled nets and shepherd’s hooks. Must be able to work with, or adjacent to, venomous and dangerous animals.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: This job is open until filled. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

APPLICATION PROCESS: Please upload a resume, cover letter, and complete the brief online application.

The California Academy of Sciences will consider for employment all qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance (SF Police Code, Article 49).

The California Academy of Sciences is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to ensure that all employees and applicants receive equal consideration and treatment, regardless of race, color, creed, gender (including gender identity or gender expression), religion, marital or domestic partner status, age, national origin or ancestry, physical, mental or medical disability, sex, sexual orientation, citizenship, military service status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law or local ordinance


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