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What is it like to work in an aquarium?

Aquariums serve as controlled environments designed to house and display a diverse array of aquatic organisms, including fish, plants, and invertebrates. Their primary purpose is to provide a platform for educational outreach, offering a unique opportunity to observe and learn about marine life in a controlled setting.

Beyond education, aquariums also play a crucial role in conservation efforts, functioning as hubs for research, breeding programs, and the preservation of endangered species. They also serve as recreational spaces for the public to enjoy.

While every aquarium is different, they do have some things in common:

  1. A passion for marine life – most roles are centred around the care and management of aquatic life.
  2. You’ll need strong communication skills – for interacting with colleagues and engaging with the public.
  3. Conservation efforts – many aquariums have a strong focus on preserving and protecting marine life.

Preserve and learn about marine life

Aquariums serve as vital educational and conservation hubs, offering a unique opportunity for the public to connect with and learn about marine life, fostering a deeper appreciation for our oceans and promoting environmental stewardship in society.

Key tasks

  • Monitoring water quality
  • Feeding and observing animal health
  • Designing and maintaining habitats
  • Running educational activities
  • Participating in conservation efforts
  • Conducting record-keeping and data analysis
  • Presenting public presentations
  • Researching marine life behaviour and biology
  • Rehabilitate injured or distressed animals
  • Implementing safety protocols and procedures

You can find aquariums in the arts and recreation services and agriculture, forestry, and fishing industries

There are lots of different types of aquariums, including public aquariums, research-focused aquariums, and private hobbyist aquariums, each serving distinct purposes in showcasing, studying, or enjoying aquatic life.

You can expect mixed hours and on-site work

Mixed hours  |  Work on-site  |  Jobs more common in metro areas  |  Strong job growth

Employees in an aquarium typically work a combination of regular and flexible hours, including weekends and holidays, due to the need for continuous care of aquatic life and to accommodate visitor demand.

On-site work is more common in aquariums as it requires hands-on care, maintenance of aquatic environments, and direct interaction with marine life. There may be some limited opportunities for remote work in certain administrative or research roles that involve tasks such as data analysis, planning, or educational program development.

Aquariums are more commonly found in metropolitan areas due to the higher population density and greater accessibility to a diverse audience.

The Career Clusters you’ll find in an aquarium

People from all Clusters are needed for an aquarium to run successfully, and there are a variety of jobs for people in all Clusters. In many roles, you might find yourself performing tasks across multiple Clusters.

What do Makers do in an aquarium?

Makers are the hands-on experts responsible for the maintenance, repair, and operation of various technical and physical aspects within the facility. They are responsible for monitoring and regulating water quality parameters and overseeing filtration systems. Other Makers help with the installation of new exhibits and clean and maintain habitats.

The role of a Linker in an aquarium

In aquariums, Linkers assist visitors in navigating the array of exhibits and programs available and facilitate ticketing and membership services. They might also organise workshops, tours, and interactive sessions for visitors or special groups, and promote these events and other initiatives to the public.

Where you’ll find Coordinators in an aquarium

Coordinators oversee a range of administrative and managerial tasks, such as organising schedules, allocating resources efficiently, and providing guidance to team members. They might also plan and organise educational workshops, public presentations, and special exhibits.

What do Informers do in an aquarium?

Informers in aquariums help with education and outreach, leading educational programs, giving presentations, and engaging with visitors. They use their specialist knowledge to conduct research on marine life behaviour and biology, contributing to conservation efforts and assisting in the development of exhibits.

The role of Innovators in an aquarium

One of the primary tasks of an Innovator in an aquarium is the design and engineering of exhibits and habitats, incorporating specialised equipment and features to support the needs of the aquatic inhabitants. Other Informers might plan the physical layout and infrastructure of the aquarium, making it both aesthetically pleasing and functional.

How do Guardians work in an aquarium?

Guardians in an aquarium help to ensure the safety of visitors and workers. They implement and oversee safety protocols, conduct regular inspections, and respond to any emergencies or potential hazards. Other Guardians might monitor the premises during closing hours, protecting the aquatic life and equipment inside.

How do we expect working in an aquarium to change in the future?

Working in an aquarium in the future will involve a blend of technological marvels, environmental stewardship, and inclusive education.

Technology is set to play a more prominent role. This might include sophisticated monitoring systems that keep tabs on the wellbeing of marine life in real time, and interactive displays that transport visitors even deeper into the heart of the aquatic world.

Sustainability is also becoming more important, from energy-efficient systems to eco-conscious exhibit designs. Aquariums are also going to be placing more emphasis on conservation efforts.

Aquariums will also strive to create environments that welcome and educate people from all walks of life, fostering a sense of unity and shared responsibility for the wellbeing of our planet.


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