Aquarium announces new Director of Life Sciences

The Seattle Aquarium recently announced the appointment of Grant Abel as the new Director of Life Sciences. He began work in this role this summer.

Born in Christchurch New Zealand, Abel moved to Hong Kong with his family aged 13. He has worked in zoos, aquaria, and commercial enterprises in various curatorial, management and director roles in Hong Kong, Japan, and Australia. In addition, he has engaged in wildlife conservation projects and staff training programs in countries including Mainland China, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, and Nepal.

Abel's prior role was at Ocean Park Hong Kong, one of the world's largest zoological theme parks, which hosts more than five million guests every year. He was initially employed in 2006 as the Park's General Curator, and later became Director of Animal Care, leading a team of 200 curatorial employees. Under his leadership the team consistently maintained its accreditation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and earned the American Humane Association's Humane CertifiedTM seal of approval for animal welfare.

He brings extensive experience coordinating zoological input for major projects, customer engagement, and on developing in-situ/ex-situ conservation partnerships. He played a key role in the VaquitaCPR project to help save the worlds most endangered cetacean, the vaquita porpoise found only in Mexico. He maintains extensive participation in international committees and a track record for developing successful long-term relationships, advancing best practices for marine and terrestrial animals under human care.

“The Seattle Aquarium has a very solid reputation in the Zoo and Aquarium community. That, combined with the concept of Ocean Ethic and the expansion featuring the Ocean Pavilion were compelling reasons for accepting this position. I’m looking forward to meeting the challenges and opportunities that come with the future of the Seattle Aquarium” said Abel.

About the Seattle Aquarium
Founded in 1977 and located on Pier 59 in the heart of Seattle, Washington, the nonprofit Seattle Aquarium serves as the largest platform for ocean conservation and engagement in the Pacific Northwest. With a mission of Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment, it leads educational, conservation and regional research initiatives for a healthier planet. A thriving and vibrant Aquarium is a key part of Seattle. Help secure the Aquarium for years to come by donating to the Resilience Fund at

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Tim Kuniholm
(206) 386-4345