The Marine Aquarium Societies of North America (MASNA for short) has been managing the grandest stage of our industry, MACNA, as far as one can remember. They are non profit organization that tirelessly work to make our hobby a better one, and one of the many great things that they do is give scholarships to well deserving, extremely intelligent, up and coming aspiring marine biologists.
Why is this important?
Not only does this support having well educated scientists to help us in our hobby to move in the direction that we need to go, it will also give us more voices with credentials to advocate for our hobby. Take a look at this year’s award winner Mathias Wagner and see the work that earned him this award. I met Mathias the day before MACNA at the MACNA VIP party with Julian Sprung and had some fascinating conversations about his work, hybrid corals, and possibilities of things to come.
Mathias is full-time senior at the Ohio State University and is pursuing a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Evolution and Ecology with a minor in Spanish. At home Mathias keeps a 30-gallon reef tank containing a pair of A. ocellaris anemonefish and a scarlet cleaner shrimp along with LPS and soft corals. He is also interning Columbus Zoo and Aquarium working at the Discovery Reef, which features an 85,000 gallon indo-pacific aquarium as well as a 5,000 gallon live coral system.
The focus of his internship at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is the advancement of captive breeding of aquarium fishes for both the public aquarium and hobbyist markets.At the university, Mathias volunteers in Dr. Andrea Grottoli laboratory, where they are investigating Hawaiian coral’s adaptability to levels of increased water temperature and acidity that are predicted to exist within 100 years. Mathias does this by measuring changes in coral photosynthesis and cellular respiration in Porites compressa and Montipora capitataspecimens throughout experiments that induce bleaching and recovery. In the future, Mathias hopes to be able to continue contributing to captive breeding efforts either through a career within the field, or pursuing new research in graduate school.