Keeper Week: Matt Wade

The Aquarium is home to an astonishing array of plants and animals. In celebration of National Zookeeper Appreciation Week, we’re introducing you to some of the talented team that keeps our living collection healthy and thriving!

Published July 23, 2015

matt-wade

Meet Matt Wade, Aquarist, Jellies

How long have you been at the Aquarium?

I have been working with the National Aquarium for one year and in the public aquarium industry for five years. 

What interested you in pursuing your current career path?

When I was a kid I loved to set up aquariums and try to recreate the environments I had seen in nature. Working at the Aquarium, I am able to bring our guests face to face with amazing animals and help foster a sense of stewardship in them.

Briefly describe your day-to-day:

My morning starts out by checking on all the jellies under my care in the Jellies Invasion exhibit. Once I have done my rounds and logged all the pertinent information, I harvest the brine shrimp that we feed to the jellies and set up the culture for the next day. I then scrub any tanks that need to be cleaned and change the filter bags on each exhibit. Before the exhibit opens, we wipe down the acrylic. I then feed a specified amount of brine shrimp to each exhibit. Once things are wrapped up in Jellies Invasion, I head over to the Jellies Culture Lab in IMET to feed and clean our jelly cultures. I spend the rest of the morning working in the lab caring for our young jellies and getting them ready to go on exhibit. In the afternoon I am able to work on projects such as plumbing exhibits, setting up new jelly cultures and general aquarium maintenance. At the end of the day I do my final rounds in the lab and exhibit and finish the day by feeding brine shrimp to all the jellies under my care. 

What’s your favorite Aquarium memory?

One of my favorite memories was when we finally opened the new Living Seashore exhibit and got to see all of our hard work realized.

Tell us about the next big project you’re working on.

My biggest project at the moment is raising the Australian spotted jelly (ASJ). It is one of my favorite species of jelly and will be a species we have not cultured in the past. We currently have 108 ASJs that are about the size of thumbtacks that I hope to exhibit in the coming months. 

What’s your favorite animal?

My favorite animal is the watchman goby. It has a symbiotic relationship with a nearly blind shrimp that digs a burrow while the shrimp keeps watch for predators.

Check back tomorrow to meet another member of our animal care team!

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