Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New lessons in the new year

Take your interest in our blue planet one step further. Immerse yourself in marine studies this new year with three unique classes offered by the Marine Studies Consortium. As an active member of this local academic group, the Aquarium is proud to once again host a Biology of Fishes course at our Learning Lab. The upper-level undergraduate class provides a unique opportunity to study evolution and diversity among fishes, and then see those species up close in our dazzling exhibits. This is one of the only university level classes to take place at a major aquarium!

(Photo: T. Rinaldo)

Other classes offered by the consortium include Coastal Zone Management, which explores the balance between the natural systems and development pressures, and the Biology of Whales, which dives into population biology and conservation challenges.

Classes are held in the evenings and are open to the public. Academic credit is also available. Visit the consortium's website to learn more about course outlines, syllabi and prerequisites.


Triggering success!

by Amanda Thompson

Aquarium researchers are excited to announce that they have successfully hatched and raised the very first Queen triggerfish in captivity from eggs found here in our Giant Ocean Tank! This historical event was made possible through the combined efforts of our researchers and those at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island.

Larval stages Queen triggerfish (Photo: Andy Rhyne)

Adult Queen triggerfish frequently lay eggs in the GOT but few survive. The eggs are usually eaten or are destroyed in the filtration system. This time, divers harvested the eggs and sent them to a lab at Roger Williams University. With careful consideration to food sources, water conditions and stress factors, the eggs hatched and the larvae are thriving.

As part of our Sustainable Ornamental Fish Initiative, we not only work on breeding and raising fish, we also research the ornamental aquaculture trade by assessing the impact that fish collection has on its local ecosystem, as well as that of the global trade markets. Queen triggerfish are considered a threatened species and this success should go a long way towards establishing their sustainability within the aquarium trade.