Aquarist Sam joined the Living Coasts team earlier this year. We caught up with Sam to find out a little more about her and what she does here at Living Coasts…

Which departments do you work on?

I work in the aquarium only at the moment but I’m excited to be trained soon to work with the auks and penguins too.

How many species do you care for?

Lots! We have about 15 tanks with a variety of species including an octopus, lobster, seahorses, lion fish and four-eyed fish.

What is your favourite animal at Living Coasts and why?

It has got to be the octopus, just because of their high intelligence and different personalities. Working in an aquarium you can’t interact with many animals, but with the octopus, you can.

Why did you become a Keeper?

When I was 5 years old my family took me to a sea life centre and that was it. I wanted to study marine biology and become a keeper. I loved seeing all of the animals and I was obsessed with whales and dolphins as a kid – every book, every television programme I had read it or watched it!

How did you become a Keeper?

I studied Marine Biology at Plymouth University and spent 8 months volunteering at an aquarium in Portsmouth. When I finished the course I went on to volunteer at the Blue Planet Aquarium in Chester. A few months later, I officially became a keeper and was there for four and a half years.

How long have you been at Living Coasts?

I joined the Living Coasts team in July this year.

What is your typical daily routine?

First thing, we do morning checks to make sure the aquarium’s residents are okay. Then it’s on to getting food ready, water changes and cleaning tanks. I do some of the public feeds with the rays, octopus, lobster and seahorses too.
In the afternoon there is more feeding and system checks to ensure everything is running smoothly for overnight. 

What is your favourite part of the job?

I like all of it but particularly the enrichment side of things with the octopus. It’s really interesting to see the interaction and behaviour with different toys and objects.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Seeing the visitors’ reaction to the animals. I love being able to teach them about animals they haven’t seen or known about before.

Why do you feel that zoos are important?

Zoos are important for conservation. They give us the opportunity to learn about the unknown and about what each species needs to survive so we can put that back into the wild and conserve our wildlife.

Why are you passionate about conservation?

I think we can make a difference. Without our research and education, wild populations would struggle so we need to be passionate to help and conserve it.

What is your most memorable experience here at Living Coasts?

We did an ultrasound health check on the rays and it was incredible seeing all of the organs at work! You learn about all of this in books but it is incredible to actually see it in person.

Do you work closely with any conservation projects?

I work with the Seagrass Project. Most of the work I do is maintenance and implementing different environmental factors into the tanks we have here, to cultivate and monitor the growth rates under different parameters.

If you could pass on just one message about conservation, what would it be?

Think about your actions – recycle and use sustainable products. Protect the world around you!

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