Job Openings >> Manager, Tropical Marine Fishes
Manager, Tropical Marine Fishes
Title:Manager, Tropical Marine Fishes

Salary: $68,000


Shedd Aquarium illustrates a commitment to optimal animal care and welfare to facilitate impactful public engagement with wildlife. Our animals-first approach has a foundation that individuals and groups of animals can exhibit natural behaviors encouraged through complex environmental design, innovative behavioral training, and enrichment.  

The Manager of Tropical Marine Fishes, reports to the Director of Animal Care and Sustainability and oversees the daily husbandry, planning, and welfare of a collection of tropical marine teleosts and elasmobranchs encompassing taxa such as Bowmouth Guitarfish, Sandbar Sharks, Queensland Grouper, White-spotted Eagle Rays, Bonnethead Sharks, Tarpon and more. This Manager is responsible for leading a team of aquarists who care for Shedd Aquariums 400,000-gallon shark habitat, our 130,000-gallon mixed reef fish habitat, our 18,000-gallon seasonal Stingray Touch habitat, our planned 190,000-gallon Caribbean Tunnel habitat and several smaller marine fish habitats across the aquarium.   

This Manager works closely with the Director as a member of the Aquarium Leadership Team to ensure optimal care of the animals in the Aquarium and compliance with all accreditation and regulatory requirements for departmental operations. Close collaboration with Animal Health, Environmental Quality, Facilities, and Dive Operations is required to ensure smooth and effective operations involving animals, staff, and habitats. The Manager contributes to cross-departmental goals in collaboration with Conservation and Research and Animal Health Teams to advance in-situ and ex-situ research objectives including SAFE: Sharks and Rays and breeding management under SSPs and TAG-managed efforts. The Manager will develop and implement novel enrichment and training practices and will help foster an operating environment focused on animal-first wellness and health. 

The Manager of Tropical Marine Fishes serves in a leadership role in the Animal Care and Science Division and facilitates inter-departmental planning and implementation of strategies to meet institutional objectives and initiatives requiring the support of the Aquarium department and serves as an aquarium spokesperson as needed.   


To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily.  The requirements listed below are representative of the necessary knowledge, skill and/or ability to perform the job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions. 

  • Demonstrate commitment to Shedd's vision, mission, and values. 

  • Utilize independent judgment and discretion in the exercise of supervisory responsibility and authority with respect to the Tropical Marine Fishes Team in the Animal Care and Science Division, including assigning and directing work, evaluating job performance, resolving job concerns and problems, implementing or effectively recommending decisions concerning hiring, transfer, reassignment, promotion, merit or other compensation increases or rewards, layoff, recall, discipline and/or discharge. 

  • Lead the selection, training, development, management, and growth of the Tropical Marine Fishes Team. 

  • Publicly represent Shedd and its programs - particularly regarding tropical marine fishes.  This includes assisting in the development and execution of presentations and serving as an aquarium spokesperson for high-profile issues in the media and elsewhere in conjunction with Shedd’s communication experts.  

  • Implement training protocols for proactive medical care for all animals under the care of the Tropical Marine Fishes Team. 

  • Assist with all activities of the department through administration of an approved budget and its control.  

  • Collaborate with national and international breeding and conservation programs when appropriate such as SAFE: Sharks and Rays and SSPs.   

  • Implement up-to-date husbandry practices and apply the use of positive operant conditioning principles in the day-to-day care and training of all animals. 

  • Support the goals and objectives of professional organizations (AZA, IMATA, IAAM, ALLSO, etc.) as they relate to the aquarium and support team participation in these organizations.  

  • Maintain a familiarity and basic working knowledge of life support systems, water quality parameters, and veterinary protocols.  

  • Assist in the development of training protocols to elicit, encourage, and facilitate natural behaviors for all animals in Shedd’s care. 

  • Maintain compliance with animal welfare assessments reflecting proactive and reactive responses to medical conditions and concerns for animals under the care of the Tropical Marine Fishes Team. 

  • Support transfer and breeding programs around the organization’s needs and apply appropriate training protocols. 

  • Implement strategies for the Tropical Marine Fishes Team to maintain and grow behaviors aligned with Shedd’s mission and vision.  

  • Implement a staff training program to build better welfare and sustainability through excellent husbandry, operant conditioning, public speaking, advanced operant conditioning application, and communication.   

  • Implement participation in research and conservation initiatives aligned with Shedd’s mission and vision. 

  • Demonstrates an ability to work hands on with the team 80% and administratively 20% of the time. 

  • Demonstrates strong swimming skills and ability for the use of SCUBA to maintain aquatic animals, construct habitats, and open water diving. 

  • Demonstrates ability to adjust schedule on short notice to manage the needs of the animal populations and team.  Must work one weekend day as part of normal schedule, and as needed evenings, early morning, and holidays. 

  • Manage other Aquarium teams when direct manager is unavailable, as requested. 

  • Partner with other managers and the director to develop budgets that support institutional priorities and implement those budgets.  

  • Demonstrate knowledge of all the primary animal groups cared for by the Aquarium team especially as they relate to tropical marine fishes. 

  • Implement legal compliance measures such as tracking of respirator use, adherence to OSHA standards, etc. 

  • Work with other departments throughout the aquarium to meet strategic goals and objectives. 

  • Liaise with professional colleagues as a representative of the aquarium. 

  • Demonstrate constant innovation in animal care and sustainability. 

  • Performs other duties as assigned. 


Education & Experience: 

  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree in marine sciences, biology, zoology, or related field (or demonstrated comparable knowledge) and 6+ years of experience in animal care at an accredited zoo or aquarium with a focus on aquatic animals. 

  • SCUBA certification, minimum Open Water. 

  • Proven success in the care of aquatic animals, prioritizing tropical marine elasmobranch/teleost species husbandry, handling, and behavioral training experience. 

  • Knowledge of collection planning processes and awareness of sustainability priorities. 

  • Knowledge of life support systems, water quality parameters, and veterinary protocols.  

  • Knowledge of record-keeping requirements and experience with animal record software. 

  • Awareness of regulatory requirements for maintaining a living collection, including animal transport. 

  • Good communication, leadership, and personnel management skills are essential. 


  • Must possess a valid driver's license or can obtain one within 6 months from the start of employment. 

  • Must possess a valid passport or can obtain one within 6 months from the start of employment. 

  • Must possess a minimum of open water SCUBA certification. Employment is contingent upon passing a dive physical and check-out protocol administered by Shedd Aquarium's Dive Operations. 

Language and communication skills: 

  • Ability to read, write, speak, and comprehend English fluently. 

  • Ability to read and comprehend complex instructions given from written and oral sources.   

  • Ability to write professional business correspondence.  

  • Ability to effectively present information to all One Shedd team members. 

  • Ability to lead, inspire, and manage people. 

  • Ability to execute department planning and strategy. 

Mathematical skills: 

  • Ability to understand basic mathematical relationships and formulas. 

  • Ability to understand and employ intermediate-level accounting mathematics. 

Reasoning skills

  • Ability to work with little or no supervision. 

  • Ability to work within a team environment.  

  • Ability to use common sense techniques in solving problems. 

  • Ability to solve complex logical problems. 

  • Ability to use diplomacy and tact when dealing with problems. 

  • Ability to identify problems and determine the best course of action for their resolution. 

  • Ability to critically evaluate information for accuracy and usefulness in solving problems. 

  • Ability to deal with problems involving several concrete variables in a variety of situations. 

  • Ability to evaluate and recommend behavioral solutions for optimal welfare and sustainability of animals in Shedd’s care. 

  • Ability to plan for the development of animals in Shedd’s care for public engagement, sustainability, and research. 

  • Ability to develop and manage a department budget. 

Computer skills: 

  • Advanced proficiency in Microsoft Office programs. 

  • Ability to use animal management software including TRACKs. 

  • Ability to use multiple software applications for accounting, employee management, and interdepartmental business operations. 

Physical readiness: 

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. 

  • Lift up to 40 pounds  

  • Sit 

  • Stand 

  • Stoop 

  • Kneel 

  • Walk 

Working Environment: 

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. 

This person may be exposed to: 

  • Water 

  • Low noise 

  • Moderate Noise 

  • Loud Noise 


We offer competitive compensation packages and opportunities for professional growth within our organization.

  • Medical Insurance
  • Vision and Dental Insurance
  • Accrued Paid Time Off
  • Paid Holidays
  • Life Insurance
  • Parental Leave
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Employee discounts

Reasonable Accommodations:

Shedd Aquarium is committed to working with and providing reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities. If you need reasonable accommodations for any part of the employment process, please email us at

We strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQ+ community, veterans and active duty military, parents, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from all cultural backgrounds to apply. Shedd Aquarium is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes everyone to our team.

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