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Biologist, Horticulture

California Academy of Sciences
San Francisco, California, US
Closing date
Dec 8, 2021

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Aquarium / Zoo / Botanical garden
Conservation science
Salary Type
Employment Type
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Come join a team dedicated to the Currently, the Academy has a including three initiatives - Hope for Reefs, Thriving California, and Resilient Islands - that leverage biodiversity science, environmental learning, and collaborative engagement to regenerate fragile ecosystems around the world. Learn more at .

We hope you are inspired by what we do and are excited to contribute to our mission. The Academy is looking for candidates who do great work, and we know they may come from a number of different backgrounds and experiences. We encourage you to apply even if you do not believe you meet every ­one of the qualifications for the position. Explore to learn about our intentional engagement of traditionally excluded groups in an effort to spark interest in or foster pathways to scientific careers.

Please note: As of Friday, August 27, Academy employees and volunteers are required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or undergo testing and provide negative test results before they are able to work on-site or off-site with others.


Reporting to the Curator, this position is responsible for providing general care and support for the Steinhart Aquarium's living plant collection in various habitat and support areas as assigned. Monitors water, soil, plant health and pest conditions, makes frequent daily rounds, reports suspected animal, plant or water quality problems to the Curator and Animal Health Department, maintains accurate records, may participate in collection of specimens and may travel on Aquarium business. Work schedule will include weekends, evenings and holidays. Provides plant and animal care and support for the Academy's living collection, primarily in terrestrial and freshwater habitats. Preferred candidates will have experience in horticulture and integrated pest management practices.


Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
  • Responsible for the general care and maintenance of all living plants, including tropical rainforest, native planters, holding areas, greenhouse, and grounds as specified.
  • Provides a high standard of daily care and habitat maintenance including daily hand watering, application of synthetic fertilizer, organic mulch application, media selection and amendment.
  • Performs frequent monitoring for pests, mechanical pest removal, and biocontrol applications, as per building-wide IPM plan.
  • Performs judicious, routine pruning of trees, shrubs, vines, and herbaceous perennials.
  • Provides backup and support for areas assigned to other staff as the Primary

and/or Secondary backup during their normal days off and holidays.
  • Actively seeks further training with all taxa represented in the living collection.
  • Assists in the acquisition of living specimens following the collection plan

developed by Curators and Associate Director, including specimens for display

and feeding.
  • Assesses artificial lighting levels in relevant habitats.
  • Works with husbandry staff to evaluate planting and propagation needs for display habitats.
  • Assists in the design and preparation of new display environments and habitats.
  • Effectively communicates to the Aquarium management and staff.
  • Participates in Academy committees and work groups as needed.
  • Becomes fluent in our animal data software program - ZIMS.
  • Establishes and maintains positive, cooperative and effective working relations

with fellow employees.
  • Actively participates in a culture promoting trust, respect and accountability.
  • Presents programs to the general public, media and in professional meetings.
  • Answers questions from the general public through a variety of means.
  • Interacts with professional colleagues, guests, the media and the general public

in a professional manner.
  • Follows all Academy and Aquarium safety regulations.
  • Other duties of a similar scope and nature as otherwise assigned.



A qualified candidate will have a combination of the following experience and/or equivalent education:
  • Previous work experience (paid or unpaid) in an aquarium, zoo or botanical garden preferred.
  • Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science Degree in Horticulture, Forestry, Life Science, or a related field.

  • Basic knowledge of essential plant care requirements for the living collection.
  • Basic knowledge Integrated Pest Management practices.
  • Basic knowledge of USDA and AZA standards for animal care and welfare.
  • Basic knowledge of public aquarium/zoo operations, maintenance, record
  • keeping and life support systems.
  • Basic knowledge of natural habitats and the ability to duplicate them in a
  • controlled environment.
  • Basic knowledge of record-keeping software such as ZIMS, Formstack, and

Google Drive.
  • Excellent observation skills.
  • Effective verbal and written communication skills.
  • Effective organizational and problem solving skills.
  • Effective at multitasking, adapting, and prioritizing.
  • Ability to present programs and effectively convey information to guests, the

general public, the media, colleagues, and in professional meetings.
  • Ability to work as a member of a team and engage in a culture that promotes

trust, respect and accountability.
  • Ability to utilize web-based communication and collaboration applications.
  • Familiarity with scientific research projects.
  • Experience caring for tropical rainforest, native California and ornamental plants and trees.
  • Willingness to seek further training in animal and plant husbandry.
  • Ability to complete CPR/AED/First Aid Certification.
  • Ability to work weekends and holidays on a routine basis.
  • Ability to read, interpret, and write documents such as departmental protocols, safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals.
  • Ability to speak effectively before groups of customers or employees of organization.


Reasonable accommodations will be made to enable individuals with disabilities to meet the job's essential functions.
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to

stand, sit, walk, and reach with hands and arms, and talk or hear.
  • Must be able to lift and carry 50 lbs.
  • Must be able to perform repetitive motions 75 % of the time.
  • Must be able to climb stairs and ladders.
  • Must be able to swim.
  • Must be able to use extension poles, long-handled nets and shepherd's hooks.
  • Must be able to work with, or adjacent to, venomous and dangerous animals.


This position is open until January 3, 2022. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled.


Please upload a resume and complete the brief online application.

The California Academy of Sciences will give full consideration for employment to all qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the (SF Police Code, Article 49).

The California Academy of Sciences is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to ensure that all employees and applicants receive equal consideration and treatment, regardless of race, color, creed, gender (including gender identity or gender expression), religion, marital or domestic partner status, age, place of birth, national origin or ancestry, physical, mental or medical disability, height or weight, sex, sexual orientation, citizenship, military service status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law or local ordinance

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