Laurie is the Animal Health Manager for the Steinhart Aquarium.
Briefly describe your job and your area of expertise. I manage the support staff, facilities and operation of the Animal Health Department. My primary responsibility is managing the water quality for the Aquarium. Part of my job is to support the Aquarium as Health and Safety Monitor, Hazardous Materials Monitor, Antivenom Coordinator, Web Site and Intranet Coordinator and the Uniform and Badge Access Coordinator. In addition to that I participate as a member of the People Team, Academy Leadership Team and the Staff Action Counsel. My areas of expertise are fish, water quality and public programming.
What got you interested in working at an aquarium? I have worked with captive fish since I was a freshman at the marine laboratory at Humboldt State. It was during my second year that I met an Aquarium Curator and he told me about how cool it was to work in a public aquarium and all the things he has been exposed to. That was when my fish focus went entirely to achieving a career in the aquarium field.
What college did you go to and what degree did you receive? BS in Fisheries Biology with an emphasis in Aquarium Sciences and Marine Fisheries from Humboldt State University. Go Jacks!
What influenced your job choice and when? I was in 3rd grade when I read the book Jaws. That was when I decided I wanted to be an Ichthyologist. I did not know what it meant at the time but I really liked sharks and I wanted my job to include that. As I got older that fascination for sharks grew to all fish then included reptiles too.
Do you have pets at home? What and how many? 1 Cat:a Bengal. 2 dogs: a German Shorthaired Pointer and a Chocolate Lab. 2 Lizards: a Bearded Dragon and a Mali Uromastyx. 3 snakes: an Amethystine Python, a Western Hognose and a Baron’s Ratsnake.
Advice for someone wanting to go into your field. Take advantage of any volunteer or job experience you come across that could help build up your resume. Review job descriptions for positions you would be interested in and use that as a checklist of skills you need to acquire during college. By the time you graduate and are ready to look for a job you will have made yourself marketable. Your first job may not be too glamorous or exactly what you wanted to do but everyone has to start somewhere. I spent one summer pulling bones out of harbor seal poop!
More about Laurie
Selected Articles and Publications
Kormos, L. Accurate Testing for Low Levels of Orthophosphate in Aquarium Water. Drum and Croaker. Volume 41, 2010
Laurie’s Suggested Reading:
“Fish Disease Diagnosis and Treatment” by Edward J. Noga, 1996 (Mosby).
“Elasmobranch Husbandry Manual” by Mark Smith, Doug Warmolts, Dennis Thoney and Robert Hueter, 2004 (Ohio Biological Survey).
“Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater” by Andrew D. Eaton, American Public Health Association, Mary Ann H. Franson, 2005 (American Water Works Association - Nature - American Public Health Association)
“Methods of Seawater Analysis’ by Klaus Grasshoff, Manfred Ehrhardt, Klaus Kremling, Lief G. Anderson, 1999 (Willey-Vch)
“Jaws” by Peter Benchly, 1974 (Fawcett Books)