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Research Scientist - Clean Seas

Seattle Aquarium
High School

This job vacancy requires that you have passed High School to be eligible for the position. The salary not being exposed by the employer means that you can negotiate based on the company's investment in employee wellness and mental health. The employer is looking for qualified candidates who meet the job requirements, regardless of their current location. Seattle Aquarium offers volunteer positions with a positive work culture. May 4, 2024 is when the Research Scientist - Clean Seas job opportunity was released, and it will be closed on June 1, 2024. The work is performed on-site at Seattle , WA , Seattle , WA.

Seattle Aquarium

Research Scientist - Clean Seas


Research Scientist 


Posted:                   Open to internal and external applicants   

Reports to:             Senior Conservation Research Manager 

Status:                   [Full-time, hourly, benefitted position] 

Hours of work:       Standard Monday–Friday workweek, with flexibility for fieldwork, evening and weekend events, and travel as required.

Date needed:         June 2024

Posting expires:    When filled 



Position description:  

The Seattle Aquarium, a leading marine conservation organization, is looking for a Research Scientist to join the Conservation Research Program team to support our mission inspired research and to bring fresh and unique perspectives to advance our conservation priorities: Clean Waters, Climate Resilience and Sustainable Seas.

The Research Scientist leads, develops, and assists with collaborative and creative conservation research. The position works within the Aquarium's Conservation Research team and in collaboration with other staff, volunteers, students and external partners (e.g., tribal, academic, NGO and government agency scientists). This position also leads fundraising efforts in coordination with the Senior Conservation Research Manager to facilitate growth of the research program and to supplement the existing research program budget. 

This Research Scientist will help lead the vision and direction in either our Clean Waters or Sustainable Seas research programs. By integrating a diversity of approaches to our mission inspired work, we aim to expand either program. Potential avenues of interest include marine debris, marine pollution, sustainable harvest practices, impacts to human health, food security and food sovereignty. It should be noted the Aquarium only conducts non-invasive research.

The natural sciences and the conservation movement have historically marginalized many communities from taking on leadership roles. Our team actively seeks to dismantle this practice and to broaden participation in marine and environmental conservation professions, making them more inclusive of the full diversity of our communities and responsive to their needs and perspectives. Candidates passionate about anti-racism, social justice, environmental justice, and other intersections will be an asset to our work. Candidates do not necessarily have to have a western science background as we acknowledge there are other ways to gain knowledge and training.

The skills and abilities listed below may be demonstrated through a combination of relevant cultural and community programs, jobs, internships, volunteer experience, and/or formal or informal education. If you meet some of the requirements and you are passionate about our mission and the ocean, we encourage you to apply and look forward to learning more about you.

Key functions: 

This position is responsible for moving forward the Seattle Aquarium’s conservation research program under the direct supervision of the Senior Conservation Research Manager. Core duties include but are not limited to:

Research and Analytics

  • Lead, develop and implement relevant research projects to advance the aquarium’s mission and the clean waters or sustainable seas conservation priority.
  • Develop protocols/methods taking care to incorporate the Aquarium’s unique location, research team, and organizational structure. 
  • Collect relevant data to answer research questions.
  • Use computer-based data entry and data analysis programs to determine important and relevant trends. 
  • Write results for various audiences (e.g., academic, community, external partners, legislators). 
  • Assist in research projects led by other members of the research team, as needed, to ensure project development, momentum, timely deliverables, and continuation. 

Internal and external partnerships

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  • Facilitate internal partnerships to enhance across departmental collaboration. 
  • Develop and nurture external partnerships to enhance communication and collaboration.

Sharing data and leading community

  • Convene meetings/trainings (e.g., symposiums, workshops, etc.) to build community and capacity, facilitate networking, and enable exchange of ideas. 
  • Publish scientific findings (as both lead and co-author) in both peer-reviewed and non-peer reviewed journals/forums and present results at scientific meetings, aquarium events, and other forums. 
  • Participate in public speaking and engagement opportunities as they arise.
  • Coordinate with the Marketing and Communications and Public Relations teams to develop clear, compelling communication materials and connect with media.

Team management and fundraising

  • Supervise staff and volunteers involved in research projects.
  • Mentor staff, volunteers, and students to support academic development and advance conservation research.
  • Act as a role model for compliance with all Aquarium safety protocols, especially with regard to the activities that take place in the lab and in the field. 
  • Pursue funding to support ongoing and new research projects. This includes leading and coordinating the preparation of proposals and budgets and coordinating with internal and external partners.
  • Other duties as assigned.  

Required skills and experience: 
We will consider various combinations of relevant experience and education to meet minimum requirements.

  • Minimum of five years of an equivalent combination of experience and education. Our research scientists generally have a Master’s degree and three years of research experience or a Ph.D.  
  • Demonstrated expertise leading and participating in the development of new research projects and the continuation of existing research projects. 
  • Strong analytical skills, and written and oral science communication skills, including translating scientific results for technical and public audiences. 
  • Ability to work with people from diverse backgrounds.
  • Ability to develop and foster partnerships with diverse organizations and communities.
  • Strong organizational skills, ability to prioritize and consistently meet deadlines on various projects, and a high degree of professionalism.
  • Self-motivated, self-directed, and proactive in seeking guidance when needed.
  • Strong interpersonal, collaboration, and team-building skills.
  • Must have or be able to obtain a Washington State Driver’s License.
  • Experience navigating complex research landscapes to advance research which aim to inform policy.
  • Personal or cultural ties to diverse multicultural and multilingual communities, networks, and organizations. A history of cultural and community involvement and leadership.

Working conditions:

  • Requires the ability to work in the field in a variety of environmental conditions.
  • Must be able to be on their feet 4 or more hours a day (up to 8), be physically active through physical motions.
  • Travel as needed to e.g., conduct fieldwork and participate in national and international conferences. Current research projects require regular travel within Washington (less than 25%).


Salary and benefits: $32 - $33.17 per hour, Dependent on experience. Please include salary expectations in your materials. Full-time staff are eligible for the Seattle Aquarium’s comprehensive benefits package to include medical, vision, dental, an employer-funded health reimbursement account, medical and dependent care flexible spending accounts, life insurance, long-term disability, 403b retirement fund with employer match, access to a subsidized ORCA pass, a Seattle Aquarium Family Plus membership and generous paid time off.] 

How to apply: The Seattle Aquarium is committed to expanding a diverse, equitable, and inclusive conservation movement. We are invested in building an Aquarium with a wide variety of backgrounds, identities, languages, cultural ways of knowing, and life experiences. We know research shows that society has conditioned communities of color, trans and gender non-conforming people, immigrants, people with disabilities, and other marginalized candidates to more frequently not apply to a job because they don’t feel that they meet all of the qualifications listed even if they are qualified. If you meet some of the requirements and you are passionate about our mission and our ocean, we encourage you to apply and look forward to learning more about you.

Interested candidates should upload a résumé to our online application to be considered. Application review will begin immediately. 

Please let us know if you require a reasonable accommodation to apply for this job by emailing us at  

Note[LT12] : If offered the position, candidates must pass a background check and motor vehicle records check. Conviction record is not an automatic disqualifier; we are a second chance employer. Regarding driving records: Within the last three years, you must not have had more than two moving traffic violations or any major violation (DUI, reckless driving, negligent driving, etc.).

About the Seattle Aquarium: 

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 by providing an inspiring visitor experience, engaging daytime and evening events, conservation education programs for people of all ages and backgrounds, community outreach to marginalized 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, high-impact marketing and communications, and more.  

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 & Aquariums, we’re among the top 10 aquariums in the U.S. by attendance, and we welcome over 850,000 people each year. Guided by our mission of Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment, we’re working to substantially increase our conservation impact by expanding our campus with a new building, the Ocean Pavilion. Learn more at 


We anticipate the following recruiting schedule for those candidates who are selected for consideration. The following dates are preliminary and subject to change. We will work with candidates to set interview dates. If hired, relocation assistance is not available. 


  • Priority given to applications received the first 2 weeks after posting
  • Start date: June 2024 

How to Apply

Seattle Aquarium
1483 Alaskan Way | Pier 59
Seattle, WA 98101

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