Meet our Assistant Curator, Marcus Williams!

2nd July 2019

Meet our Assistant Curator, Marcus Williams! With a varied and busy Back of House role, Marcus has been with us for 14 years. Find out all about what a day in his working life is like here!


Marcus Williams

Job Title:

Assistant Curator

How long have you been working at the NMA?

14 years (2002 – 2004 & 2009 – Present). I started volunteering in 1999, before becoming a full-time employee three years later.

What did you do before you started working at the NMA?

Fish farming. I completed a degree in aquaculture management and have experience of working on various types of fish farms and fisheries.

What’s a typical day like in your job role / department?

The bulk of my day is spent completing admin such as ordering all of our consumables (food, vitamins, water chemistry equipment etc) but also dealing with whatever issues arise each day. This could be anything from a sick animal to an issue with one of the life support systems that maintain the displays.

A lot of time is also spent ensuring that the Aquarium is adhering to its Zoo License, which is essential to allow us to operate as an aquarium. This could be from a health and safety perspective, ensuring records are up to date or ensuring our long term needs are met when considering water quality, stocking levels etc.

As an aquarium, we are also involved in many breeding programmes (such as the ocellated eagle rays and blue spot ribbontail rays), so I have to work with other European aquariums to ensure that the requirements for these programmes are met.

What’s the most exciting project you are working on currently?

We have several at the moment but two that stand out for me are the diver comms and our sustainability plans.

Once the diver comms are installed we will be able to converse with the public whilst diving which should give a new, exciting element to our diving.

We are also looking at the sustainability of our stocks. The plan is to develop our breeding programmes of commercially important aquarium species so that we can pass our knowledge on to other aquariums so that as an industry we are less reliant on wild caught stocks.

What’s the most exciting NMA project you have been involve with in the past?

Moving the lemon sharks from our quarantine facility to our Atlantic Ocean Tank. Even though I have been involved in moving fish by helicopter and jumbo jets in the past, this “simple” manoeuvre was probably the most adrenalin filled jobs I’ve done. Having to anaesetise a shark that is over 2.5 metres in length and 150kg + and then wheel it on a trolley around the building whilst we were open to the public, definitely gave me a buzz!

What qualifications or special skills and experience do you bring to the NMA?

My background in aquaculture means that I have a good understanding of the life support systems, nutrition and fish health which are all needed to run a public aquarium. I have now spent 17 years in the public aquarium industry working in a variety of aquariums around the world so there aren’t many problems that crop up that I haven’t encountered somewhere!

Do you have any projects or activities outside of work that are relevant to your role here?

I like to keep my work life and private life very separate, although my 4 year old son loves the Aquarium, so that doesn’t always happen! My family has a vineyard locally, so its not hard to immerse myself in something else when I’m not at work.

What are you looking forward to in 2019?

Developing our breeding programmes and helping the Husbandry team become the best it can be.

What do you love the most about working at the NMA?

That we inspire people to conserve the marine environment. Whether that is school children, the public or marine students who are just starting out in their careers, its great to see how we can shape people’s opinions.

What’s your favourite creature at the NMA and why?

Denzil the Boar Fish. He’s my baby.

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