Principles of Aquarium Husbandry, Design and Leadership

Hosted by Newport Aquarium 
Newport, KY
Dates: TBD (Fall 2019)

This course will help aquarists build their husbandry, design and leadership skills to advance both their career and institution. Students will experience a blend of lectures, group discussions, question and answer sessions, behind the scenes tours, and hands-on activities. This interactive class involvement also yields rich opportunities for networking with colleagues. Participants will explore the many facets of modern aquariums including best practices and leadership across the fields of animal care and conservation, life support, exhibit design, and much more.

Course Topics

  • Water Quality
  • Animal Training and Enrichment in an Aquarium Setting
  • Aquatic Animal Handling and Transport
  • Aquarium LSS
  • Aquatic Animal Health and Quarantine
  • Fish Nutrition and Live Foods Culturing
  • Aquarium Exhibit Design
  • Conservation in Public Aquariums
  • Personalities, Professionalism, and Leadership


Paul Clarkson, Senior Curator, Monterey Bay Aquarium
Dr. Ally McNaughton
, Staff Veterinarian, Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
Rachel Metz, Director of Live Exhibits, Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
Chris Spaulding
, Director of Husbandry Operations, Planet Aqua Group
Lise Watson, Collections Manager, Shedd Aquarium
Marcus Zevalkink
, General Curator, John Ball Zoo

Is This Course Right for You?

This course is designed for aquarists with two to five years of experience working in a public aquarium or similar facility looking to expand their skills to become leaders within their institutions and the profession.


None. Priority will be given to AZA members. Those not affiliated with an AZA accredited institution will be considered on a case-by-case basis; please submit a letter describing your intended benefit from taking this course to for consideration.

Course Schedule  

First Day
 - Student registration
 - Opening evening ceremony

- Class meets all day

Last Day
-Final review of class projects
-Afternoon Dismissal

Attendance for course participants is required for the duration of the course until the evening of the last day. As a result, individuals generally depart the following day. Attendees will receive a detailed schedule for their course after their registration is confirmed.  

Course Registration

Please wait until you are admitted into the course before making your reservations. You will receive an email containing detailed information regarding your accommodations and transportation once you are admitted. 

Tuition & Expenses*

The AZA registration fee below covers tuition and lunches for each day of the course. Other expenses include hotel, travel, and other meals. Registration prices are subject to change. 
Scholarship funding for courses is available through a competitive process. AZA scholarship applications are due by mid-July and are awarded by early September. 

Early Bird Rates:
$875 for AZA Individual Members
$975 for Non-members
Registration deadline: 12 weeks prior to course start date

Regular Rates:
$975 for AZA Individual Members
$1075 for Non-members 
Final registration deadline: 4 weeks prior to course start date

Accepted forms of payment for registration are by: credit card, check or purchase order. More information on the next course session will be shared in January 2019. 

*Prices are subject to change 

For information regarding our registration and refund policies, please visit our Professional Development Course Policies page.

Questions? For additional details please contact the AZA Professional Development Department.

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