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Audubon Nature Institute

Curator of Aquatics

Curator of Aquatics
Full Time Regular
Aquarium, New Orleans, LA, US

General Summary:  The Curator of Fishes is responsible for overseeing the aquatics collection and supervising staff working in the fishes department.  Develops departmental procedures, collection plans, and monitors all aspects of exhibitry and animal care. Provides leadership for aquarists, trainers and keepers; ensuring they have the proper tools and access to information necessary for successful job performance.  Participates in hiring staff, performance evaluations, and disciplinary action as needed.   Collaborates with other husbandry staff in overseeing the Husbandry internship and volunteer programs.  


To deliver on the Audubon mission, the Curator of Aquatic Husbandry will: 


Provide a guest experience of outstanding quality

Make each interaction with guests, vendors and fellow Audubon employees a positive one through hospitality and service.
Oversee aquarists’ performance with regard to guest experience.
Facilitate the development and implementation of exhibit improvements.
Provide direction to aquarists in the form of goals and guidance.

Exhibit the diversity of wildlife. 

Create and institute departmental protocols to maintain a high quality of animal care throughout the collection.
Create and execute institutional collection plans for optimized animal care and welfare and guest experience.
Train aquarists, trainers, and keepers to use industry best practices and ensure access to the knowledge and tools needed for maintaining animal health and welfare.  
Oversee animal nutrition and diet; including the proper preparation and administration of daily animal feeds.
Oversee recordkeeping to maintain compliance with AZA standards and proper monitoring of the health and behavior of the animal collection.
Manage and ensure the appropriate execution of animal training and enrichment policies and procedures to support the overall mental and physical health of the live collection.
Establish standards of gallery cleanliness and oversee compliance to maintain a healthy environment and a quality guest experience.
Help ensure facility compliance with AZA and USDA regulations.
Work in partnership with veterinarians and animal health care staff to manage and treat collection as required.
Collaborates with other husbandry staff in overseeing the Husbandry internship and volunteer programs.  


Educate our diverse audience about the natural world. 

Seek out opportunities to positively impact the guest experience and encourage staff to do so as well.
Oversee and participate in public interaction including behind the scenes tours, speaking engagements, media communication and guest education.
Assist with the development and preparation of written educational materials produced by the Husbandry Department.

Enhance the care and survival of wildlife through research and conservation

Facilitate and encourage the proper disposition of non- native donations to prevent the spread of invasive species. 
Encourage and support Aquarium breeding programs aimed at decreasing the need for wild collection. 
Promote, participate in and oversee departmental research and conservation programs.

Operate a financially self-sufficient collection of museums and parks. 

Assist with the preparation of the departmental operating budget.
Strive to operate with budget limitations.
The above listed duties are general statements of required major duties and responsibilities performed on a regular and continuous basis.  They do not exclude other duties as assigned.


To deliver on the Audubon service promise, the Curator of Aquatics will: 



Make eye contact with every customer encounter, smile at every person, offer friendly phrases and greetings.
Wear identification badge.
Walk individual to destination instead of pointing; offer assistance to people who look confused.
Assume ownership of potential safety hazards (wipe-up spill, pick up trash).  Always have the camera-ready look.


Maintain positive attitude, pleasant tone of voice (remember it is not what you say, but how you say it).
Coach coworkers on service expectations.
Utilize the power of teamwork to give excellent service.
Know when to involve management.


Know the answers to questions or seek out the answers.
Utilize proper phone etiquette (answer phone within three rings, smile before answering call, ask for permission and wait for response before placing caller on hold).
Ensure work area is free of food, drink, socialization, and personal business.
Follow Dress Code Policy on clothing and grooming.
Keep unpleasant concerns behind closed doors (vent backstage).

Supervision:  Manages staff in the fishes department. 

Experience: Six years, paid supervisory experience in a zoological facility is required. (with a minimum of 4 years management/supervisory experience.) Experience with animal behavioral training and enrichment is preferred. Live animal collection and transport experience is preferred.


Education:   Bachelor of Science degree in biology or related field from a recognized, accredited institution

Licensure/Certification: Must possess a valid driver’s license.   SCUBA certification is required. First aid/CPR certification preferred. AZA membership is an asset.

Software Requirements:  proficiency in MS Office; ZIMS,  or similar animal data management software experience is an asset.

Machinery/Tools/Equipment Requirements:  Working knowledge of basic hand and power tools is preferred. Working knowledge of life support equipment and water chemistry science and management for both start-up and mature aquatic systems is required. Must have the ability to use basic office equipment. Boat handling experience is an asset.

Physical Requirements:

Heavy work:  lifting up to 80lbs pounds occasionally, or a negligible amount of force frequently to lift, carry, push, pull, or otherwise move objects.  Will involve standing most of the time, but may involve walking or sitting for brief periods of time.
Walking, climbing, sitting, standing, bending, stooping, and the ability to carry items weighing up to 80 pounds.
Constant adequate range of motion and mobility required.
Ability to collect and analyze numerical and written data and verbal information to reach logical conclusions and ability to determine the time, place and sequence of operations or actions required.
Must have cognitive and communication skills required to function within the department. 
Regular hearing and the ability to perceive the nature of sounds.
Must possess excellent organizational skills.
Must be able to read, write and speak English.
Must be safety conscious. 
Must possess advanced knowledgeable in: animal anatomy; recognition and treatment of minor animal health concerns; quarantine protocols; water chemistry; and the ability to troubleshoot life support problems for taxa in the position’s purview
Demonstrate effective communication skills with supervisors and co-workers.
Demonstrate the ability to make sound decisions in the absence of supervision, assume responsibility without direction and willingness to assist in achieving facility and Audubon Nature Institute goals.
Environmental/Working Conditions:

Candidate must accept humane euthanasia as an accepted and responsible animal management tool.
Working long hours between breaks or meals required.
Ability to work under and handle stress in an appropriate manner required.
Must be able to work in moderately noisy environments, dirty conditions and cramped spaces.
Must be willing and able to handle raw seafood.
Must be willing to work flexible hours including weekends, evenings and holidays.
Must be able to work with potentially hazardous chemicals associated with analysis and treatment of exhibits.
Must be able to work unsupervised and with a team.
Affinity for animals preferred.
Exposure to fluctuations in temperatures may be required.
Must be able to work in all types of weather both indoors and outdoors.

How to Apply

Audubon Nature Institute
6500 Magazine street
New Orleans, LA 70130

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