Fresh off the press, the MACNA 2014 BOD just released their list of featured “Academic Speakers”. The three speakers noted are Dr. Todd LaJeunesse, Dr. Charles Mazel, and Jamie Craggs. Details on the speakers and their backgrounds after the Dr. Todd LaJeunesse is one of the most pioneering researchers in the field of coral-algae symbiosis and his methods are used everyday around the world to characterize the different “species”of Symbiodinium known as ‘Clades’and ‘Sub-Clades’. Symbiotic corals are an ecosystem unto themselves and we aquarists can learn a great deal by understanding more about the different types of zooxanthellae, how they interact with our corals and the myriad ways that coral and reef health is closely tied to the community of Symbiodinium present within them. Dr. Charles Mazel is the founder and lead researcher of NightSea, a company which focuses on fluorescence viewing and imaging technology. Like Symbiodinium, there is a lot we can learn about corals from the fluorescence that our corals display. With the advent of more and specific LED colors in the progressive reef aquarium lighting space, it is now commonplace for reefers to discuss light colors in terms of specific wavelengths and peaks, all of which have corresponding fluorescence excitation characteristics. If you’re a fan of multicolors LEDs to bring out the best color in your corals, you definitely wont want to miss this exciting presentation by Dr. Charles Mazel. If ground-breaking work with coral spawning is more your thing, then you’re going to love the presentation by Jamie Craggs. Jamie is the Curator of Aquatics at the Horniman Museum and Zoo in London who made waves this year by spawning Acropora in an aquarium this year. Coral spawning is not that rare in small captive aquarium setups but where Jamie stands out is that he did it on purpose on the first try! By faithfully reproducing nearly all environmental parameters of natural reefs and their cycles in an aquarium environment, Jamie succeeded in spawning Acropora valida and even timing when they would spawn to within days. If you think “Limited Edition”corals are exciting, just you wait until we begin building on Jamie Cragg’s work to spawn and rear truly unique new strains of corals that are not even found in the ocean. If there’s a common theme with our scientific and academic presenter’s topics it’s one of discovery, exploration and pushing the envelope. These three pioneering presenters are sure to lay down some information-dense talks at MACNA and if you are truly into understanding coral at a fundamental level, Mazel, LaJeunesse and Craggs are NOT to be missed. You are encouraged to help get the word out about our selection for the academic presentations but please refrain from publishing your stories until Thursday June 18th, 12 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. We are very excited to have these three speakers giving their pioneering presentations at this year’s MACNA and we look forward to seeing you there.