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Stay up to date with the Larval Culture Project's new happenings and successes!
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By Joe Szczebak in Larval Culture Project BLOG 3The Marine Ornamental Program at Roger Williams University has
successfully reared the yasha goby (Stonogobiops yasha) in captivity!
Info about RWU:
Roger Williams University (RWU) is a student-centric liberal arts institution in waterfront Bristol, RI. The RWU Center for Economic and Environmental Development (CEED) offers undergraduate students the unique opportunity to conduct hands-on applied research in all aspects of aquaculture, including the culture of marine ornamentals, with an emphasis on new species and culture bottlenecks. The program offers an Aquarium Systems minor, numerous independent research opportunities, and internships with The New England Aquarium, the Audubon Society, and many more. Currently, the Marine Ornamental Aquaculture program at RWU is using, amongst other criteria, global trade data on marine ornamentals to determine suitable species for commercial-scale culture.
Yasha Goby Rearing Project:
The home aquarium industry is seeing a shift towards smaller “nano” exhibits that replicate complex coral reef ecosystems. As such, the market is seeing a surge in the demand for smaller fish species, such as gobies. Due to their small size, vibrant coloration, and unlikely partnership with pistol shrimps, the yasha goby (Stonogobiops yasha) is one of the most sought-after tropical marine gobies. However, due to the cryptic nature (cave-dwelling) of the yasha goby, hobbyist demand far outweighs the sporadic supply of individuals collected from the wild. Furthermore, those that do enter the trade are often emaciated and in poor physical condition.
The Marine Ornamental Aquaculture program at Roger Williams University currently maintains nine bonded pairs of yasha gobies, each in separate 10 gallon tanks within a recirculating broodstock system. The gobies were obtained last spring and over the last year, a team of undergraduate students led by Joe Szczebak, Brad Bourque, and Dr. Andy Rhyne (and funded in part by Rising Tide Conservation) has paired and conditioned the yasha gobies to spawn in a culture-friendly setting void of the deep sand bed and live rock habitat normally associated with these gobies and their symbiotic shrimp.
The broodstock system is maintained at 82°F with a salinity of 34 ppt and pH of 8.2. The gobies are fed 5+ times a day a variety of fresh and frozen seafood. Five of the yasha goby pairs reside with their naturally occurring symbiotic shrimp (Alpheus randalli). Each tank has two 1-inch PVC pipes as artificial burrows for the symbionts.
Over the last several months, six of the nine pairs have started regularly laying nests that hold, on average, 100-500 eggs. Recently, the team removed one of the nests and hatched it in a Modular Larval Rearing (MoLaR) system designed by RWU and the New England Aquarium. After 6 days of incubation, 75% of the nest (~100 larvae) hatched and the day 1 larvae measured 2-3 mm TL and immediately took to a diet of Parvocalanus sp. copepod nauplii. Larvae measured 3.5-4 mL by day 6 and completed flexion by day 10 at a size of 4.5-5 mm. Larvae started settling around day 30 and metamorphosis began at day 35-40 at 1-1.5 cm. By day 55, all larvae were metamorphosed. In total, 38 juveniles were reared from this first attempt.
The team has numerous cohorts of larvae (larger spawns too!) in the pipeline and is attempting to answer many crucial questions about larval development (e.g., settlement cues) while fine-tuning larval rearing techniques.
Stay tuned for more updates!
By Avier J. Montalvo in Home state, new job, new species to work with! :D 1The pelagic spawned eggs are very adhesive for a good part of their initial development and unlike anything I've ever worked with. I'm STOKED!
Below are some photos I briefly took of eggs approximately 12HPF (hours post fertilization) at 30X.
Stay tuned for updates!
By Paul Anderson in Whose Eggs Are Those? Building an ID Catalog 0Public aquarium exhibits have all the right ingredients to get fish in the mood: Lots of fish, abundant habitat, excellent diets and water quality. Some public aquaria and zoos have dedicated the talents of their aquarists to aquaculture eggs collected from their fishes mating on exhibit to provide an alternative supply to wild-caught fish. But whose egg is whose?
The public aquarium and zoo community has committed the resources and talents of their best and brightest to find out. Over the past year, participating aquaria and zoos have collaborated to collect fish eggs from aquarium exhibits, photograph them, and submit egg samples for DNA barcoding. These efforts have culminated in the Open-Source Marine Fish Egg Catalog, hosted on this platform. It is a resource for the public aquarium and zoo community to identify eggs of mating fishes on exhibit by referencing egg photos and measurements. The Catalog can help aquaculturists strategically select and prioritize fish species on which to invest their aquaculture talents and efforts. Are you a member of the public aquarium and zoo community? Sign up with your institutional email address to check it out!
The Egg Catalog is comprised of marine aquarium fish eggs diligently collected, sampled, and photodocumented by the Aquarium of the Pacific, California Academy of Sciences, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Mystic Aquarium, National Aquarium, New England Aquarium, the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, and Shedd Aquarium. The Project is led by the New England Aquarium, Roger Williams University, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Coral Reef Aquarium Fisheries Campaign. Funding for the project has been generously provided by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Conservation Grants Fund and New England Aquarium.
Photos of the Flame Angelfish by (L) F. Libert and (R) M. Schmuck/New England Aquarium