Curator of Husbandry Operations: Steve Vogel

Curator of Husbandry Operations: Steve Vogel

As curator of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's husbandry division, Steve is in charge of animal exhibits, including sharks, octopuses, sea otters, fish, and sea stars.

Grades

5 - 12+

Subjects

Biology, Experiential Learning

As curator of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's husbandry division, Steve is in charge of animal exhibits, including sharks, octopuses, sea otters, fish, and sea stars. Some of the aquarium’s exhibits are hands-on for visitors, some have occasional divers, some are the size of a home aquarium, while others are several stories tall. One exhibit, the Outer Bay, holds more than 1 million gallons of seawater.

EARLY WORK

Growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, Steve gravitated to marine activities. His interests “started with the ocean—sailing, boating, scuba diving, swimming—and went to the animals living in it,” he says.

One memorable experience for Steve occurred on a trip to Florida. “When I was 14, I went snorkeling down in the [Florida] Keys with my grandparents,” he says. “Within six months of that first dive, I was scuba-certified and started teaching at a local dive shop in Baltimore.”

Steve pursued his interest in the ocean by transferring from a Baltimore community college to the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida, where he majored in marine biology and minored in ecology.

MOST EXCITING PART OF YOUR WORK

“I think the most exciting thing is watching the reaction of people as they see something they’ve never seen before or get exposure to an animal that they maybe have only seen on television.”

MOST DEMANDING PART OF YOUR WORK

Steve says that it is challenging trying to show new things in aquarium exhibits while also trying to put forth the best exhibits for the public. But he also admits that it is difficult to balance the different focuses of his staff.

“They are all bright,” he says. “They are all well-educated, and they all have a different interest. Trying to get all of the 40-something people going in the same direction is truly an interesting proposition.”

HOW DO YOU DEFINE GEOGRAPHY?

“In the broadest sense of the term, it’s a physical location.”

GEO-CONNECTION

Steve says the Monterey Bay Aquarium makes sure that it doesn’t have animals from different geographic areas in the same tanks. For instance, a fish from the Pacific Ocean will not be swimming around with a fish from the Atlantic Ocean. “We talk about not mixing oceans,” he says. “We work very hard to make sure that animals from a particular region don’t mix with animals from a different region.”

The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s tanks have features that mimic what is found in the particular geographic regions where the animals come from. “We’re very conscious of the geography of our exhibits to match the geography of [the animals’] habitats, where they are living,” Steve says.

SO, YOU WANT TO BE AN . . . AQUARIST

“If somebody thinks that they want to get a job in this field, go find a place [such as a zoo or aquarium] and get experience as a volunteer, as an intern.”

GET INVOLVED

Steve says he suggests joining your local aquarium. “Also, if you are in physical condition to do so, scuba diving is a great way to connect with the ocean,” he says.

Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Writer
Stuart Thornton
Editors
Jeannie Evers, Emdash Editing, Emdash Editing
Kara West
Producer
National Geographic Society
other
Last Updated

May 20, 2022

For information on user permissions, please read our Terms of Service. If you have questions about licensing content on this page, please contact ngimagecollection@natgeo.com for more information and to obtain a license. If you have questions about how to cite anything on our website in your project or classroom presentation, please contact your teacher. She or he will best know the preferred format. When you reach out to him or her, you will need the page title, URL, and the date you accessed the resource.

Media

If a media asset is downloadable, a download button appears in the corner of the media viewer. If no button appears, you cannot download or save the media.

Text

Text on this page is printable and can be used according to our Terms of Service.

Interactives

Any interactives on this page can only be played while you are visiting our website. You cannot download interactives.

Related Resources