Thursday, October 8, 2015

Callan Lab at OI Grad Students: Erin Pereira-Davison

I am a second year graduate student with a graduation date of May 2016. I am currently working with first feeding larval yellow tang primarily during the crucial, first feeding bottleneck. My project deals with different parameters of the rearing environment in hopes of improving feed incidence, growth and survival. My thesis is officially titled

 "Effects of Photoperiod, Light Intensity, Turbidity, and Prey Density on Feed Incidence, Growth and Survival in Cultured Larval Yellow Tang *(Zebrasoma flavescens)*."

To date, I have been able to determine an ideal photoperiod as it pertains to feed incidence which OI has applied to the current groups of 20 day post hatch (DPH)+ yellow tang larvae. Light intensity and turbidity have also yielded significant results that may be applied to larval rearing in the future.

Trials pertaining to prey density are ongoing. Once completed, I will run an experiment where all the new found parameters will be combined and compared against OI’s previous rearing parameters in hopes of finding significant improvements in overall survival during first feeding (3-5 DPH)

Recently my preliminary photoperiod data was accepted for exhibition at the World Aquaculture Society’s conference in Las Vegas, February 2016. Presenting my research is a great opportunity to share the unique research going on at OI with the help of Rising Tide conservation.

On a personal note, I am a Florida native where I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of West Florida under the guidance of Dr. Alexis Janosik and Dr. Toby Daly-Engel. After graduate school I plan on spending some time in the aquaculture industry and then pursue a PhD pertaining to aquaculture, specifically ornamental aquaculture if possible. My husband Ryan Davison is active duty Army and we have two fur babies named Jasper and Icarus.

Callan Lab at OI Grad Students: Emma Forbes

As a student at Hawaii Pacific University I am fortunate enough to complete my Masters in Marine Science while enjoying the gorgeous Hawaiian sunshine. I am originally from New York and graduated from Old Dominion University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. After graduation I took an internship at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town, South Africa. It was there that my interest in marine ornamental aquaculture was sparked.

My research here is on the assessment of the bacterial community in our live feeds (copepod nauplii) with the addition of probiotics. I am using varying next generation sequencing techniques to assess bacterial communities in the nauplii and potential shifts in bacterial communities with the addition of the probiotics. With this information we are hoping to gain some insight into the bacterial composition of the larval gut and increase larval survival past the first 9 days.

After graduation I am hoping to continue research at OI, because you can’t really go wrong with fish and Hawaii! With luck they’ll let me stick around and I can continue some genomic work with our broodstock and larvae to further advance our understanding of the yellow tang life cycle.

When I am not hugging all of my fish, I can usually be found playing in the ocean. I am an open water swimmer and enjoy getting in the water every chance I can! Last spring we swam 13.2 miles between the islands of Maui and Lanai and are hoping to try again this spring! My biggest focus currently is wrapping up my thesis and enjoying the ocean as much as possible before the “Hawaiian winter” sets in! 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Update on Yellow Tang Research at OI

It’s been about a year since we reported our best success to date with rearing yellow tang, having gotten larvae through to day 83. Since then we’ve had some repeated successes getting the larvae past the first month or so, but never any quite as far along as that cohort from last January. Frustratingly, we seem to have taken a few steps backward again (as seems more common in this field than not), and are now struggling to keep the larvae going past the first week.  We have been revisiting the protocols used from that successful period to ask a lot of questions pertaining to why that worked then, and not now.
Yellow Tang larvae reared at OI. A=14 dph, B=24 dph, C=36 dph,
D=45 dph, E=50 dph, F=60 dph. Scale bar = 1mm

Hawaii Pacific University Graduate Students (left to right) Aurora Burgess, 
Emma Forbes & Erin Pereira-Davison
I have a great group of ambitious graduate students working on some key aspects of this challenge. Emma Forbes is focusing her research on the microbial community associated with the live feeds and rearing environment, which may have huge effects on larval survival.  Erin Pereira-Davison is investigating several key environmental parameters that could affect first feeding success. She’s looking at the effects of photoperiod, light intensity, turbidity and prey density on first feeding in the larvae. Aurora Burgess will be focusing on the development of the feeding mechanisms in the early larvae, and how this development impacts prey selectivity and feeding ability. She will also be looking at alternative prey items from the wild, compared to our cultured copepods, and testing their use in the culture process.  On top of all this, we have also recruited new broodstock from partner institutions in Hawaii and have recently obtained good spawns from these new stocks.  This will help us determine if perhaps our recent challenges are egg quality-related.

All of these projects working together will hopefully reveal some important insights into the culture processes that will help us better understand the unique requirements of these larvae. Stay tuned for updates from our work, and hopefully some more success to report soon!


The Rising Tide crew at the Oceanic Institute 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Rising Tide Has A Facebook Page!!!

Rising Tide has caught up to the times and, thanks to Huntley, finally has a facebook page.  We're only a week old so there's not a lot on there, but it'll fill up fast.  It's a great way to keep up with all the things going on at Rising Tide facilities that may or may not make it on the blog.  There will also be a link posted on the facebook page every time something is posted on the blog.  Below is the link to the page, check it out and pass it on to your friends.

Facebook page:

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Breaking The Internet: Check Out Our Wrasses! (safe for work)

As mentioned in our previous post, six adult melanurus wrasses (3 male, 3 female) were moved to the Tropical Aquaculture Lab back in February.  After settling into their new environment and being offered a conditioning diet of LRS Reef Frenzy, PE mysis shrimp and Otohime EP1 pellets, the wrasses have quickly got back into their routine of spawning nearly every night.  While we continue to work through some kinks in production, we wanted to share some of our excitement with our latest group of captive bred melanurus wrasses.  

Video 1:  Melanurus wrasse broodstock spawning at dusk.  Notice in slow motion all three males can be seen making an attempt at fertilizing the female’s eggs.

Figure 1.  10 dph melanurus wrasse larva.

Figure 2. 14 dph melanurus wrasse larva. 

Figure 3. 36 dph melanurus wrasse juveniles.

Video 2:  Melanurus wrasse juveniles, 36dph.

The Rising Tide Team at the Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Huntley Penniman Joins Rising Tide

A student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, I’m currently working through a Masters program in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation.  I graduated from Boston College in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, and shortly thereafter, began working for the Navy Marine Mammal Program, where I have been fortunate enough to work with an awesome group of California sea lions and bottlenose dolphins.

After graduation, I hope to explore the realm of business and marketing within the marine conservation community. There’s some incredible research being done, and I would like to help bridge the gap between the science and the public. It’s a steep learning curve, but my goal is to focus on market research and social media for Rising Tide – so please stay tuned to like the up-and-coming Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram!

In my time away from studies, I enjoy continuing to work for the Navy Marine Mammal Program, hitting the trails with our two horses, and working my way down an ever-increasing list of must-reads.

I look forward to working with the Rising Tide Conservation team to help develop marketing material and getting the word out about Rising Tide’s incredible work. Rising Tide is accomplishing game-changing research, and I’m grateful for this amazing opportunity!

Huntley Penniman

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Pomacanthus Angelfish Update

One of our first Rising Tide successes was harvesting eggs from Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (CZA), shipping them to UF’s Tropical Aquaculture Lab, and successfully raising what turned out to be semicircle angelfish.  We had samples from that first cohort DNA analyzed for identification.  We have since raised multiple cohorts shipped to us from CZA; which has been well documented in previous blog posts (late 2011-early 2012).  Ramon Villaverde at CZA has also raised multiple cohorts of angelfish in house.  When space got limited we arranged for those juvenile angelfish to be sent to public aquariums which not only had adequate space to house them, but also could effectively inform the public about Rising Tide’s endeavors.  We were always curious what other Pomancanthus species (if any) may be spawning in that exhibit.  During that time CZA housed two Pomacanthus semicirculatus, two P. annularis, one P. asfur, one P. imperator, two P. maculosus, and two P. xanthometapon in their Discovery Reef exhibit.  We have kept some angelfish from those previous spawns and although we definitely have some semicircle angelfish, we also have angelfish displaying coloration not indicative of that species.  Below you will find a series of photographs of angelfish on display in public aquariums as well as some from our own facility.  Tell us what you think?
Figure 1.  Angelfish (2-3 years old) on display at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Photo credit: Ramon Villaverde.

Figure 2.  Two angelfish (2-3 years old) on display at SeaWorld Orlando. Photo credit: Joe Moynihan.

Figure 3.  Angelfish (2-3 years old) on display at SeaWorld Orlando. Photo credit: Joe Moynihan.

Figure 4.  Angelfish (~2 years old) on display at SeaWorld San Antonio. Figure 4 and 5 are the same fish.  Photo credit: Nick Ireland.

Figure 5.  Angelfish (~2 years old) on display at SeaWorld San Antonio. Figure 4 and 5 are the same fish.  Photo credit: Nick Ireland.

Figure 6.  Angelfish (~1.5 years old) kept at UF's Tropical Aquaculture Lab. Photo credit: Kevin Barden.

Figure 7.  Angelfish (~3 years old) kept at UF's Tropical Aquaculture Lab. Photo credit: Kevin Barden.