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Day in the Life of a Marine Biologist

  • Tuesday 30th April 2019

SEA LIFE Melbourne has thousands of different species of sea-life, from the most delicate jellyfish to massive sharks and stingrays. But have you ever wondered about the scientists behind the scenes? We have a big team of dedicated Aquarists working hard to keep everything going swimmingly. Just like a Marine Biologist, an Aquarist is a sea-life specialist. Think of them as Zoo Keepers who specialise in aquatic life. So let’s strap on the snorkel and deep dive into the life of a SEA LIFE Aquarist!


Meet Brianna: Aquarist at SEA LIFE Melbourne


Hi Brianna, thanks for chatting with us. What does a typical day look like for you?

It’s an early start at 7.30am! The first thing we do is check all the systems to make sure the filtration is working at its best. This includes cleaning or fixing anything that’s not up to scratch. Then it’s time to feed the animals, monitor their behaviour and administer any medications if necessary. This includes diving to clean the big oceanarium because there’s always something to scrub! And monitoring water quality to make sure the water is healthy so our creatures can thrive!


There are so many species living here. Do you have a favourite exhibit?

Probably the main oceanarium. It’s our biggest display with 2.2 million litres of seawater, so its size is impressive! It also houses all of our stingrays which are my favourite animals. Our largest shark lives there too – Mitchell the Grey Nurse Shark – he’s approximately 30 years old!


Mitchell is older than many Aquarium visitors, and probably bigger too! At 2.2 million litres, is the Oceanarium the most challenging exhibit to maintain?

Yes definitely the Oceanarium, it’s massive! You can never clean the whole thing in one go, so we do it in stages. Once we’ve finished the entire tank, it’s time to start again!


It sounds like you work very hard. What’s your favourite part of the job?

Diving is fun, it’s when I get closest to the animals, even though I’m usually scrubbing something while I’m in there! Animal training is also a highlight; I get to have a one-on-one relationship with an animal while they learn a new skill.


It must be rewarding to develop working relationships with such special animals. Can you share an interesting fact about any of them?

Pinjarra is our saltwater crocodile, he weighs in at over 750kg and is 5m long. But despite his size, he only eats one chicken a week! Being a reptile, he gets his energy from the environment, so he doesn’t need to eat much.


Only one chicken! Most people would expect a big croc to have a voracious appetite. Thanks Brianna, we’ll let you get back to work now.


There’s a lot more to discover at SEA LIFE Melbourne, so bring your family along for an underwater adventure this weekend. And if you see any of our hard-working Aquarists going about their daily activities, give them a smile and a wave. They have one of the best jobs in the world!