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Aquarium Curator (half-time)

Apply now Work type: Permanent Part Time
Location: Poulsbo, WA
Categories: Academic Affairs

Position Title Aquarium Curator (half-time)
About the University Western Washington University, with over 16,000 students in seven colleges and the graduate school, is nationally recognized for its educational programs, students and faculty. The campus is located in Bellingham, Washington, a coastal community of 90,000 overlooking Bellingham Bay, the San Juan Islands and the North Cascades Mountain range. The city lies 90 miles north of Seattle and 60 miles south of Vancouver, British Columbia. Western is the highest-ranking public, master's-granting university in the Pacific Northwest, according to the 2019 U.S. News & World Report rankings.  WWU offers programs in several locations outside of Bellingham, which include Everett, Burien, Bremerton, Poulsbo and Port Angeles currently.
About the Department

Outreach and Continuing Education (OCE) at Western Washington University expands access to Western’s outstanding educational opportunities across the region and beyond through a focus on creating community, serving learners, and providing lifelong impact through quality education.  

OCE collaborates with colleges, departments, and the community, linking university resources with educational needs and opportunities —including international education opportunities—in support of the State’s education attainment goals and Western’s strategic goals. 

OCE supports Western’s mission, which states that together with our students, staff, and faculty, we are committed to making a positive impact in the state and the world with a shared focus on academic excellence and inclusive achievement.  We encourage applications from women, people of color, people with disabilities, veterans, and other candidates from underrepresented backgrounds and with diverse experiences interested in this opportunity. 

For more information on Outreach and Continuing Education, please visit our website

About the Position

Reporting to the Director of Operations and Outreach, the Aquarium Curator for SEA Discovery Center, located in Poulsbo, Washington, performs daily tasks required for the consistent operation of the aquarium. Responsible for the husbandry and proper care of animals within the aquarium and upkeep of aquarium exhibit appearance, this position ensures continued operation of facility life support systems, water quality, collection of organisms at the center, compliance with WWU animal care policies and standards, and supporting the recruitment and coordination of center volunteers to support aquarium operations. Due to the nature of working with live organisms, the successful candidate must be available for emergency response after hours including weekends. This is a half-time, .5FTE position.

Position Duties include:

Excellent care and animal husbandry; Ensures husbandry of live organisms 7-days a week, and excellent condition of exhibits and supporting areas:

  • Performs all aspects of husbandry, including habitat (tank) conditions, animal feeding and care. Live organisms include: fish, invertebrates, seaweeds, seagrasses.
  • Interacts with consultant veterinarians as needed to solve animal health issues 24/7
  • Ensures compliance with guidelines for sanitary condition of food preparation room and food and aquarium equipment/supply storage areas.
  • Ensures compliance with WWU, state, federal, and industry standards for collecting, transporting, and caring for aquatic organisms (marine/freshwater, temperate/tropical)
  • Maintains adequate supply of animal food, tank equipment, and supplies.
  • Works with appropriate staff to plan and improve exhibits (including interpretive signage) and increase recognition of the aquarium.
  • Coordinates with SEA's Education staff to support academic program content
  • Utilizes knowledge of aquarium animals to develop interpretive signage, and interactive/informational displays for all SEA visitors.
  • Train and manage animal and aquarium care team members (staff and volunteers) to ensure compliance with established standards and protocols.

Volunteer Recruitment, Training and Coordination

  • Work with the Director and Education Manager, to implement volunteer recruitment plan, updating as needed, to meet center demand
  • Recruit and maintain consistent number of regular volunteers to support public hours at the aquarium
  • Provide on-going training for volunteers to increase knowledge of animals at the aquarium

Animal Collection: Plans, prepares, coordinates, and leads collection trips as needed to maintain exhibits

  • Conducts a quarterly assessment of animal collection needs for the aquarium
  • Creates an annual collection plan, in alignment with established limits on location and amount of animals established in approved permit
  • Prepare and submit required applications and annual report for WA State scientific animal collection permit and required transport/transfer permits annually, according to state guidelines.
  • Maintain logs of animal collections and changes in exhibit composition on an on-going basis
  • Request, monitor, and coordinate collections by sub-permit holders, including Shannon Point Marine Center staff
  • Follow protocols for collection, transport, and acclimation of animals to exhibits

Water Systems: Monitor and ensure consistent operation of the seawater and freshwater systems for the aquarium exhibits

  • Measure, record, and monitor water quality parameters in all exhibits.
  • Perform routine system backwashes and water changes to maintain water quality and animal health
  • Conduct daily visual inspection of all equipment involved with the intake, operation and circulation of the sea- and fresh- water systems, including troubleshooting any issues and repairing as needed. This includes electric motors and pumps, chillers, tanks, and filtration units, with an understanding of the valve arrangements and all aspects of their controls and operations.

 Accessibility, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Work

  • Demonstrate commitment to valuing diversity and contributing to an inclusive working and learning environment through incorporation of accessibility, diversity, equity, and inclusiveness perspectives throughout functional responsibility areas
  • Active participation in OCE's, and Western's work on diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility through conversations and professional development
Required Qualifications
  • Academic degree in biology, marine studies or related field OR commensurate experience in a relevant professional work environment (e.g., aquarium or marine center).
  • Demonstrated commitment to creating an inclusive work environment
  • Familiarity with aquatic species (marine & freshwater) of the Pacific Northwest and their habitats, plus familiarity with resources and tools for researching information
  • Demonstrated problem solving skills
  • Understanding of aquarium life support systems, seawater systems, swimming pool and/or irrigation systems, pumps, aerators, chillers, and other aquarium equipment
  • Experience developing and implementing animal or like protocols and keeping log records.
  • Strong interpersonal skills to educate, train and collaborate with the general public, colleagues and others.
  • Possess trouble shooting skills and ability to work effectively under pressure and in emergency situations.
  • Proficient in the use of computers including skills with Microsoft Office Suite – Word, Excel, and Outlook.
  • Enthusiasm for marine organisms, habitats, and sharing educational information with others.

Special Requirements/Conditions of Employment:

  • Capable of performing physical labor, such as lifting buckets of water, climbing ladders, and balancing on uneven surfaces
  • A valid driver's license and ability to travel
  • Ability to work a flexible schedule including evenings, weekends and holidays
  • Ability to respond to emergencies on site within 45 minutes as needed
Preferred Qualifications
  • SCUBA certification and ability to participate as part of Western's Dive Team
Special Conditions All employees must comply with our Immunization policies, including COVID vaccination by time of hire and Proof of Rubeola Measles Immunity within 60-days of hire. Please reach out to if you need information regarding medical or religious exemption and applicable accommodations.
Salary Starting range (half-time) $24,234.50 - $28.273, commensurate with experience; includes an excellent benefits package.
Application Instructions

A cover letter and resume are required and should address your experience related to the position responsibilities and the required and preferred qualifications.

Please include the names and contact information of three professional references.

Closing Date Notes Position closes 01/21/2022 at 11:55 pm

Western Washington University (WWU) is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer committed to assembling a diverse, broadly trained faculty and staff. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply. In compliance with applicable laws and in furtherance of its commitment to fostering an environment that welcomes and embraces diversity, WWU does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy and parenting status), disability, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status or genetic information in its programs or activities, including employment, admissions, and educational programs. See WWU’s Policy on Ensuring Equal Opportunity and Prohibiting Discrimination and Retaliation. Inquiries may be directed to the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance, Title IX and ADA Coordinator, Western Washington University, Old Main 345 (MS 9021), 516 High Street, Bellingham, WA 98225; 360.650.3307 (voice) or 711 (Washington Relay);

WWU is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request. To request this document in an alternate format or to request an accommodation, please contact Human Resources Disability Services, 360.650.3774 or 711 (Washington Relay).

Annual Security and Fire Safety Report: This report is provided pursuant to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act ("The Clery Act"). It includes statistics for the previous three calendar years concerning reported crimes that occurred on Western's campus; in certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by Western; and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from, the campus. The report also includes institutional policies concerning campus security, such as policies concerning alcohol and drug use, crime prevention, the reporting of crimes, sexual assault, and other matters. You can obtain a copy of this report in printed or alternate formats by contacting the Office of the Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services at The report can be found at: Annual Security and Fire Safety Report.

All new employees must comply with the immunization policy and show employment eligibility verification as required by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service before beginning work at WWU. A thorough background check will be conducted on all new hires.


Job no: 499260
Advertised: Pacific Standard Time
Applications close: Pacific Standard Time

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