Biracial (Japanese/ White)
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord
Year zoo career began:
Lori Semple is a senior aquarist at SEA LIFE Charlotte- Concord where she leads an awesome group of aquarists. Together, they attend to all daily needs of the aquarium’s entire collection including freshwater and saltwater fish, invertebrates, sharks and rays, and sea turtles. Her team does everything from nutrition to animal training to water quality to plumbing and life support maintenance. Lori also has a hand in planning new exhibits, managing the animal collection, contributing with the aquarium’s leadership team, and other duties as assigned. Lori also hosts and produces the AquatiZoo Podcast, a show dedicated to helping anyone interested in joining the industry, educating people about the operations of aquariums and zoos, and useful tips and tricks about working with people.
Lori graduated from high school in Charlotte, North Carolina, before receiving a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. After a break of multiple years (although Lori had planned for a one-year break), she attained a master’s degree in Zoo and Aquarium Leadership from George Mason University. She worked part time for the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher before moving to the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, where she worked as a senior aquarist for eleven years before beginning her current position.
Lori loves the variety of sciences that she gets to use every day and the variety of animals that she gets to work with on a regular basis. When she was an undergraduate student, she was being pushed towards research work in a lab, but she was disappointed that the research was focused on singular animals. When Lori discovered aquarium work, she was thrilled with the number of different species she can encounter every day. She also gets to work with many different types of sciences: biology, chemistry, ecology, and physics. Lori finds sea turtles to be the most satisfying and frustrating animal to work with. They’re like wonderful, stubborn, giant toddlers!