Please see the following website for application link:

Posted: Open to internal and external applicants

Reports to: Conservation research manager

Status: Hourly/non-exempt, temporary, four-month-long position; specific dates based on start date (anticipated June through September 2019)

Hours of work: Variable schedule: typically Monday through Friday, 20 hours per week, flexibility desired for evening or weekend hours around events

Date needed: June 1, 2019

Posting expires: Open until filled


About the organization:

The Seattle Aquarium is a respected authority on Puget Sound, the Salish Sea and the world’s one ocean. Our passionate staff increases awareness and drives the change needed to preserve and protect our marine environment through a variety of channels including: a compelling exhibit experience and engaging daytime and evening events; conservation education programs for people of all ages and backgrounds; community outreach to underserved populations; research that advances understanding of animals in our care and their counterparts in the
wild; advocacy and policy work; an award-winning volunteer program; strong and consistent marketing efforts; and more.


We’re noted for our collaborative, communicative and team-oriented working environment. Our values, developed in conjunction with our staff, include commitments to adopting and promoting sustainable practices; creating awe-inspiring experiences; constantly learning and improving; fostering an inclusive community; maintaining scientific credibility through evidence-based practices; and honoring our unique place by using our location and history as a lens for larger understanding.


Proudly accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, we’re the eighth-largest aquarium in the U.S. by attendance and we welcome over 850,000 people through our front doors each year. Guided by our mission of Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment, we’ve developed a master plan to substantially increase in size and impact by opening a new exhibit building, the Ocean Pavilion. Our current annual budget is $18 million.


Position description:

The research program within the department of conservation programs & partnerships launched 25 years ago and includes projects focused on everything from sea otter foraging in Washington, to shark population genetics, to coral reef health. We are seeking a part-time, temporary microplastics research assistant to lead development of a new project that would help managers understand and track the distribution of microplastics within the Salish Sea. The position will work with Aquarium staff and external partners to develop a scientifically rigorous methodology that meets anticipated agency science needs. Data and results from this work will generate insights into the sources of microplastics in our waters, how microplastics move through our ecosystems and inform development of public policies.


Essential functions:

  • Create and test a microplastics field sampling project that is scientifically valid for assessing the distribution, abundance and seasonality of microplastics pollution in Puget Sound.
  • Support data analysis and preparation of results for publication and sharing at scientific and community meetings.
  • Assists in all aspects of microplastics research including running samples, performing quality control checks and maintaining sample and results databases.


Additional responsibilities:

  • Work with the marketing department to develop clear, compelling communication materials for use on our web platforms and/or print materials.
  • Participate in public speaking or public engagement opportunities as they arise.
  • Comply with all safety protocols, especially with regards to the activities that take place in the lab and in the field.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.


Required skills, abilities:

  • Strong written and oral communication skills.
  • Strong math and chemistry skills required for safe management of chemicals and effective preparation of required solutions and media. Ability to use appropriate personal protective safety equipment.
  • Understanding of the scientific and statistical methods required for developing a research project, including field sampling design and data analysis.
  • Strong organizational skills, an ability to prioritize and consistently meet deadlines, and a high degree of professionalism.
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Access) and internet browsers.
  • Self-motivated with a demonstrated passion for the Aquarium’s mission and values.


Experience, education and certifications: We will consider various combinations of relevant experience and education in order to meet minimum requirements.


  • B.A./B.S. in a relevant field, such as biology, zoology, toxicology or chemistry. Current graduate students and former students who have graduated within the last five years are welcome to apply.
  • One to two years of cumulative experience with marine biology/ecology, toxicology, chemistry, biogeochemistry (or related field), either through coursework, research or professional experience.
  • Minimum of one year of marine research experience.



  • Experience working in a research lab (academic or professional setting).
  • Experience conducting fieldwork in the Salish Sea.


Working conditions:

  • Travel within Washington state (less than 20%).
  • May be sitting for long periods of time (i.e., 4+ hours in front of a computer screen and/or microscope).
  • Extended exposure to outside weather conditions (during field sampling).
  • Occasionally required to lift more than 30 pounds (e.g., large containers of seawater).
  • This position will work 20 hours per week and may require working occasional weekend hours to support events and/or field sampling.


Pay and benefits:

$1,400 monthly stipend, paid at rate of $16.75/hour based on 20-hour workweek. Temporary staff are not eligible for benefits but accrue paid sick time and are paid an additional $0.75/hour to assist with transportation costs.


How to apply:

The Seattle Aquarium is a progressive, equal opportunity employer that values a diverse workforce. All candidates are encouraged to apply by uploading a résumé and one-page letter detailing interest and relevant experience in our online application.


Please let us know if you require a reasonable accommodation to apply for this job.


Note: Must pass a background check, upon job offer, to be eligible for this position.