55 Music Concourse Dr.
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco CA
Regular Hours:


9:30 am – 5:00 pm


11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Members' Hours:


8:30 – 9:30 am


10:00 – 11:00 am

Please note: The Academy will be closing at 3:00 pm on 10/24 (final entry at 2:00 pm). We apologize for any inconvenience.

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Yvan Kawecki

Yvan is an Animal Health Biologist for the Steinhart Aquarium


Briefly describe your job and your area of expertise. Good water quality is essential for a healthy aquarium; I analyze our water chemistry and make sure everything is safe for the animals. Tests include pH, temperature, salinity, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphate, Alkalinity, General Hardness, Chlorine, Copper, Iron, Bromine, Silica, Potassium, Coliforms, Dissolved Organic Carbon, Dissolved Oxygen, and turbidity. I also provide veterinary assistance as needed.

What got you interested in becoming a biologist? A childhood full of camping, hiking, and fishing sparked my interest in science, which eventually led me to study Biology in college.

What do you like most and least about your job? There are many things I like about this job: exotic animals, great co-workers, new challenges, as well as the amazingly weird situations that sometimes occur.

What college did you go to and what degree did you receive? Bachelor’s degree in Biology from UC Santa Cruz. Go Banana Slugs!

What influenced your job choice and when? After college I worked for a few years in the biotech industry but decided to alter my career path. I ended up doing odd jobs for a while including a surprisingly enjoyable year as a fishmonger.  Around this time I began volunteering for the aquarium and was eventually hired.


Do you have pets at home? What and how many? No

Advice for someone wanting to go into your field.  Decide what you want to do and gain experience in that area through school, internships, or volunteering. Be tenacious, flexible, and remember personality goes a long way.

More about Yvan


Yvan's Suggested Reading:

“In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex” by Nathaniel Philbrick, 2001 (Penguin Books).

“Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater” by Andrew D. Eaton, American Public Health Association, Mary Ann H. Franson, 2005 (American Water Works Association – Nature – American Public Health Association)