Terrestrial Curator, Steinhart Aquarium

San Francisco, CA
Full Time

Reporting to the Director of Animal Care and Welfare, the Curator is a leader on a team responsible for the development, care and management of the Aquarium's living collection and all associated habitats, support areas, programs and systems. This position focuses on the Osher Rainforests of the World, African penguin, and Southeastern U.S. Swamp exhibits. The Curator manages and supervises other aquarium managers, biologists, interns and volunteers. The Curator assists in the implementation of the departmental strategic plan and helps develop impactful partnerships and programs. Work schedules may include holidays, evenings and weekends.

We are committed to ensuring diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion are intrinsic to Academy culture and operations, from recruitment and retention to science and advocacy. Explore Our Commitment to Racial Equity to learn about our intentional engagement of traditionally excluded groups in an effort to spark interest in or foster pathways to scientific careers.


  • Manages a team of biologists including hiring, training, daily supervision, scheduling, mentoring and performance evaluation. Supervises volunteers and interns.
  • Provides leadership, oversight and coordination of the development, daily care and management of the resident collection and assigned galleries, habitats and behind the scenes support areas within Steinhart Aquarium.
  • Coordinates the acquisition and transfer of specimens.
  • Assists the Directors in the implementation of the departmental strategic plan and operating budget, manages programs, projects and new exhibit installation involving the living collection.
  • Assists with the development and implementation of the institutional collection plan and upholds industry best-practices and the standards of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the US Department of Agriculture, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, California Fish and Wildlife, and other regulatory agencies and accrediting organizations.
  • Helps develop impactful partnerships and programs that support the overarching strategic goals of the Aquarium and the Academy, and maintains effective working relationships within and outside of the Aquarium and Academy.
  • Collaborates with the Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability to advance cross-divisional collaborative research projects and collaborates across the Academy to advance the Strategic Initiatives: Hope for Reefs, Islands 2030 and Thriving California.
  • Assists with the coordination the design and renovation of habitats and development of concepts for displays and habitats, including research and development into novel species and their care, in collaboration with Exhibits Studio and Building Operations.
  • Presents science and environmental learning programs to the general public, media and in professional meetings.
  • Motivates, develops and enriches staff with the understanding that our people are our most important asset.
  • Conducts general tours of the Aquarium and support spaces.
  • Acts as departmental manager on duty in the absence of the Directors.
  • Follows all Academy safety regulations.
  • Other duties of a similar scope and nature as otherwise assigned.


  • Experience caring for birds required. Experience caring for reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, fishes, and/or plants preferred.
  • Bachelor degree in Biology, Zoology, Marine or Aquatic Biology or a related field.
  • Advanced degree or coursework in Biology, Zoology, Marine or Aquatic Biology, Ecology, Botany or a related field is preferred.
  • Minimum seven (7) years progressive work experience in a major aquarium, zoological facility or the equivalent background.
  • Minimum five (5) years progressive work experience and leadership in managing projects and supervising professional staff.


  • Excellent employee management and leadership skills.
  • Excellent observation, decision making, problem solving and reporting skills.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Advanced knowledge of essential animal care and welfare requirements for the living collection.
  • Advanced knowledge of USDA and AZA standards for animal care and welfare.
  • Advanced knowledge of public aquarium/zoo operations, maintenance, record keeping and life support systems.
  • Advanced knowledge of natural animal habitats and the ability to duplicate them in a controlled environment.
  • 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 both as a team leader and as a member of a team.
  • Ability to lead and cross-train staff in all assigned areas.
  • Ability to work as a member and leader of a team and engage in a culture that promotes trust, respect and accountability.
  • Ability to utilize web-based communication and collaboration applications.
  • Ability to work with record-keeping software such as ZIMS, Formstack and Google Drive.
  • Willing to work with venomous and dangerous animals.
  • Ability to complete CPR/AED/First Aid certification.
  • Holds valid California driver's license or able to acquire one.
  • Ability to work weekends, evenings and holidays as required.

LANGUAGE SKILLS:​​ Ability to read and interpret documents such as zoo and aquarium standard operating procedures, permit conditions and reporting requirements, accreditation standards, animal transaction/shipping documents. Ability to write routine reports, correspondence, and standard operating procedures. Ability to speak effectively before groups or individuals.

PHYSICAL 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. This position may be performed remotely, no more than 20% of the time.

HIRING RATE: $96,000
SCHEDULE: Full-Time, 40 hours per week

Starting salary will vary based on experience and relevant skills/knowledge set.

The Academy offers a total compensation package that emphasizes both base salary and comprehensive benefits.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Monday, January 23, 2022 at 5pm. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

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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