Who is Number Four?

Tal SweetBy Tal Sweet 6 years ago
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Over the last few weeks I’ve been announcing the speakers for the 2012 Marine Breeder’s Workshop  So far we have Richard Ross, Todd Gardner and Dan Underwood. Everyone (well, almost everyone) has been patiently waiting for me to reveal Number Four. Without further delay I’m extremely pleased to announce that Eric Cassiano, from the Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory (TAL), will be our fourth speaker! Eric has been working with Dr. Matthew Wittenrich at TAL. Together they have had many breeding successes such as the Koran Angelfish and the Schooling Bannerfish, just to name two. Eric’s information on the many species they have worked with will be exciting to say the least! For more on Eric and his presentation… The marine ornamental fish program at the University of Florida’s Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory (TAL) is part of a larger group called the Rising Tide Conservation Initiative.  Founded in 2009 by SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, Rising Tide is a group of research facilities, industry partners, and public display aquaria (Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institutions) focused on developing captive breeding protocols for marine ornamental fish species and disseminating that information to the public. One of the first projects of Rising Tide was funded by the AZA Conservation Endowment Fund and focuses on collecting marine fish eggs that are spawned in public display aquaria and shipping those harvested eggs to TAL for evaluation.  Of the eight original participating public display aquaria, seven have successfully and continuously sent TAL eggs for examination.  We have identified ~30 different species from these shipments with approximately ten of which having reached metamorphosis (and beyond), including Pomocanthus semicirculatus and Heniochus diphreutes.  The successes and complications of these examinations, species-specific embryological and larval rearing information, and future direction of the project will be discussed. Eric received his B.S. in Marine Biology from Hawaii Pacific University in the spring of 2002.  After a brief period with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife working in fisheries science, he began working for the Oregon State University Molluscan Broodstock Program, where he was exposed to aquaculture of the Pacific Oyster, Crassostrea gigas.  After a few years there, he began a position in Cedar Key, FL with UF extension agent Leslie Sturmer, where he focused on various production aspects of the hard clam, Mercenaria mercenaria.  In 2009, he received his M.S. in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences from the University of Florida under Dr. Cortney Ohs.  His thesis focused on evaluating Florida pompano, Trachinotus carolinus, larvae fed nauplii of the calanoid copepod Pseudodiaptomus pelagicus.  Eric joined the Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory in October 2010 as a part of a new project exploring the production of marine ornamental fish species.  

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Tal Sweet
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 Tal Sweet

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Tal got back into the hobby in 2006 after a long break. After hearing Dr. Frank Marini speak at the Midwest Marine Conference in 2008 he was hooked on fish breeding . Since then he has created his own website with his personal captive breeding information and helped create the Marine Breeding Initiative. It is Tal's hope to promote captive breeding as much as possible by speaking and writing about the topic.

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