As new parents, Ashleigh and I are faced with novel challenges on a daily basis. Among them are the universal dilemma of how to balance parenting with all of the other things we love to do; and then there’s making sure that the values that are dear to us, like our appreciation of marine life (and nature in general), are imparted to our son. Although including a young child in activities such as fish collecting and aquarium keeping can complicate the process, we are hoping that the extra effort we put in now will eventually pay off. If our son becomes a more interesting person – someone with whom we don’t mind sharing this planet, then it will all be worth it. That’s why Finn has had a marine tank in his room since before he was born and we include him on our outdoor adventures whenever possible. Pictured above, mom (Ashleigh) pulls more than her own weight on one end of a 50-ft seine net while on a joint collecting excursion with aquarists from the Long Island Aquarium, the Baltimore Aquarium, and the National Aquarium in Washington D.C. while Finn sleeps peacefully.
Todd Gardner is a professor of Aquaculture and Marine Biology at Carteret Community College in Morehead City, North Carolina where he oversees a partnership between the college and The Biota Group, a world leader in sustainably cultured marine life. Todd's life and career have been shaped by his passion for ocean life and he has written numerous scientific and popular articles about his research and experiences collecting, keeping, and culturing marine organisms. Todd’s professional background includes work on a National Geographic documentary, commercial aquaculture at C-quest Hatchery in Puerto Rico, and an 11-year term at the Long Island Aquarium where he spent much of his time developing techniques for rearing marine fish larvae. To date he has raised more than 50 species. In 2013 Todd received the prestigious Aquarist of the Year Award from the Marine Aquarium Society of North America (MASNA). In his spare time, Todd dives, photographs marine life, runs marathons, and makes music.