Year zoo career began:
Mark is an Aquarium Zookeeper at the Houston Zoo where his daily tasks include checking the health and general well being of the animals and checking the systems they are in, which includes pumps and temperature elements. The species he cares for includes fish, turtles, and aquatic invertebrates like jellyfish. Mark also prepares and feed diets, cleans tanks as required, and scuba dives weekly to clean larger tanks. In his position, Mark interacts with other aquarium keepers and with the public.
Mark grew up visiting the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, where he developed a love of marine life and science. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Aquatic Biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2015. After graduating, he began volunteering in the Aquatic Husbandry Department at the California Science Center in Los Angeles and eventually began his first paid position there. Mark also completed a certificate program in Aquarium Science from the Oregon Coast Community College Aquarium Science Program in 2019, during which he had a part time student aquarist position.
Mark’s favorite part of his job (aside from getting to work with animals everyday) is that it keeps him on his toes. Live animals are in a constant state of change, and Mark must always adapt to the circumstances, meaning that there’s never a day like the one before. For aspiring aquarists, Mark recommends that you find opportunities to gain experience with animal husbandry. Volunteering is a great way to learn about what the job is really like and it often helps you get your foot in the door.