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California Academy of Sciences

Biologist II - Water Chemistry Technician

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.

Reporting to the Associate Director, this position is responsible for supporting the health of the Steinhart Aquarium’s living collection. The Animal Health Department oversees the following Aquarium support functions: water quality monitoring of all habitats, aquatic and terrestrial quarantine and medical facilities, veterinary services, commissary, live feeds, and registration. The Animal Health Biologist could provide coverage in any of these areas. 

Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Primary Support Functions:

  • Performs water quality testing and analysis of the various habitats in the aquarium, records the data and reports abnormal findings.
  • Communicates with the Engineering, Animal Care, and Dive Operations staff regarding the status of specific water quality parameters.
  • Schedules non routine testing and effectively communicates the results.
  • Maintains the chemical inventory and database including the SDS folders.
  • Maintains the laboratories and water quality monitoring instruments.
  • Handles hazardous materials properly.
  • Distributes commonly used chemicals to the Aquarium staff.
  • Maintains the Aquarium probe monitoring and maintenance program including ORP and pH probes.
  • Coordinates with the Engineering team on the formulation and preparation of artificial seawater.
  • Creatively collaborates with animal care staff to trouble-shoot water quality issues, and come up with a collaborative solution.

Secondary Support Functions:

  • Cleans and disinfects work areas on a daily basis, and maintains the commissary in a neat, orderly manner in compliance with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Association of Zoo and Aquarium (AZA) standards.
  • Prepares food for the animals following established diets.
  • Provides the husbandry and maintenance of healthy live aquatic and terrestrial feeds by following established protocols.
  • Follows all established protocols to prevent cross contamination.
  • Provides general maintenance and animal care for the aquatic or terrestrial quarantine areas. 
  • Performs and records gross necropsies of animals including sampling of tissues for cytological, histological and bacteriological examinations and reports findings to the Veterinarian.
  • Assist with the administration of prescribed treatments, monitors anesthesia and makes clinical observations of sick or debilitated animals.
  • Assists with the maintenance of the hospital areas, laboratories, medical instruments.
  • Maintains animal health record keeping such as Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS), treatment sheets and various forms.
  • Communicates with the Animal Care Biologists and Curators for treatments, animal health concerns, and scheduling exams as needed.
  • Becomes fluent in our animal data software program - ZIMS.


  • Cross-trains in all areas of the Animal Health Department to provide coverage and support.
  • Effectively communicates to the Aquarium management and staff.
  • Recruits, trains and supervises volunteers.
  • Follows all Academy and Aquarium safety regulations.
  • Participates in Academy committees and work groups as needed.
  • Establishes and maintains positive, cooperative and effective working relations with all fellow employees.  
  • Creative problem solver who enjoys working in a team setting
  • Comfortable with work in close quarters to deliver animal care and conduct testings
  • 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 Steinhart 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.
  • Other duties of a similar scope and nature as otherwise assigned.

Work schedule will include one weekend day each week, occasional evenings and 3-6 holidays a year. Work schedule will be Sunday through Thursday. 

The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required or preferred.


  • Experienced Analytical Laboratory Technician preferred. 
  • Must have completed three (3) years of paid full-time analytical chemistry, water quality, animal care, veterinary or related position(s) in a laboratory, public aquarium or comparable institution, showing an increase in responsibility and experience. 
  • Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, Biology, Zoology, Marine or Aquatic Biology, or a related field of study.


  • Knowledge of standard laboratory equipment, instrumentation and methods including spectrometry, chromatography, colorimetry, gravimetry, titration, pH meter, oxygen meter, and other standardized water testing equipment.
  • Knowledge of standard aquarium life support systems, water quality testing methods, parameters, and methods for maintaining them in aquatic habitats. 
  • Knowledge of essential animal care requirements, natural habitats and nutrition for animals such as fish, birds, invertebrates, amphibians and reptiles.
  • Knowledge of animal treatment, disease pathology, diagnostic testing, standard dissection, necropsy, biological sampling, and associated veterinary procedures.
  • Organized, able to multitask, adapt, prioritize, and problem solve.
  • Ability to work as a member of a team and engage in a culture that promotes trust, respect and accountability. 
  • Ability to complete all required safety and chemical training and CPR/AED/First Aid Certification. 
  • Holds a valid California driver’s license or able to obtain one in order to drive for Academy business, material pickups, or to assist in animal transports.
  • Ability to accurately and efficiently enter data into the record keeping systems. 
  • Ability to read and interpret documents such as safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals.
  • Ability to write routine reports and correspondence.
  • Ability to speak effectively before groups or individuals.

WORK ENVIRONMENT:              
The physical expectations described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the duties of this position.

  • Must be able to transport 50 pounds.
  • Must be able to perform repetitive motions 50% of the time.
  • Must be able to differentiate between colors.
  • Must be willing to work with hazardous materials.
  • Must be able to swim.
  • Must be willing to work with and adjacent to venomous and dangerous animals.
  • Must be able to work in humid areas without natural light.
  • Must be able to climb stairs and ladders.
  • Must be willing to work in close quarters to deliver animal care and conduct testing.

April 26, 2021 5:00 PM PST. Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.

The California Academy of Sciences will give full consideration for employment to 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 ensuring 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, place of birth, national origin or ancestry, physical, mental or medical disability, height or weight, sex, sexual orientation, citizenship, military service status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law or local ordinance.

How to Apply

Please submit your cover letter and resume online at our Career site. Note that the recruitment timeline for positions vary and depend on many factors, so it is impossible to accurately predict when a position will close. We appreciate your patience during this process. No phone calls please.

California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118
Phone: 4153795875

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