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: https://www.facebook.com/risingtideconservation

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.
melanurus 14dph dark and light
Figure 2. 14 dph melanurus wrasse larva.
Melanurus Wrasses
Figure 3. 36 dph melanurus wrasse juveniles.




Video 2:  Melanurus wrasse juveniles, 36dph.
The Rising Tide Team at the Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory


Huntley Penniman Joins Rising Tide Conservation

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

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?



CZA angelfish
Figure 1.  Angelfish (2-3 years old) on display at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Photo credit: Ramon Villaverde.



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



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



SWTX angelfish 1
Figure 4.  Angelfish (~2 years old) on display at SeaWorld San Antonio. Figure 4 and 5 are the same fish.  Photo credit: Nick Ireland.



SWTX angelfish 2
Figure 5.  Angelfish (~2 years old) on display at SeaWorld San Antonio. Figure 4 and 5 are the same fish.  Photo credit: Nick Ireland.
TAL angelfish 1
Figure 6.  Angelfish (~1.5 years old) kept at UF’s Tropical Aquaculture Lab. Photo credit: Kevin Barden.



TAL angelfish 2
Figure 7.  Angelfish (~3 years old) kept at UF’s Tropical Aquaculture Lab. Photo credit: Kevin Barden.

Early Success with a Halichoeres Wrasse!


Halichoeres melanurus egg
Figure 1. Halichoeres melanurus egg on a 1 mm Sedgewick
Rafter cell.
Here at the Tropical Aquaculture Lab we’re very fortunate to have the opportunity to work in a field we’re truly passionate about.  That passion inspires me to not only work on captive breeding of marine species here at work, but to also explore other fish by working from home.  I’m pleased to announce that the first project I’ve taken on as an at-home aquaculturist resulted in the successful captive rearing of the melanurus wrasse, Halichoeres melanurus, using only cultured prey items.  Although only a few fish were brought through metamorphosis, survival should be higher when larvae are raised in the controlled environment of a dedicated facility as opposed to the chaos of a household living room.  I strongly believe this fish, and others in this genus, will have significant commercial potential.  We now have broodstock at the Tropical Aquaculture Lab because of this early success.  The work done so far will stand as strong supportive evidence to move forward with other wrasses as well.
Halichoeres melanurus larva
Figure 2. First feeding (~3 days post hatch) Halichoeres
larva on a 1 mm Sedgewick Rafter cell.
This species is a protogynous hermaphrodite, meaning fish transition from females to males as they mature based on social structure.  Females can be identified by the presence of the third black spot at the front of the dorsal fin.  The first step these fish make in transitioning from female to male is the loss of that particular spot, so this acts as a great way to identify females.  Females can get along fine in groups, however males will compete for territory and only the largest terminal phase male will survive.  Spawning these fish in small harems of one terminal phase male with three to four females seemed to work well for me.
One to two hours before the tank lights turned off the male would rise to the highest point of structure in the tank and begin a vibrant display for the females followed by continuous chasing.  The male would then find an accepting female and the pair would spawn hundreds up to several thousand pelagic eggs into the water column.  The eggs were about 660µm in diameter. Despite this small size, larvae hatch out relatively large (~2.5mm) but with a very small mouth gape (~125µm).  Larvae were reared in a static 5 gallon aquarium and were ready to feed at 3dph (days post hatch).  At that point, the rearing water was darkened with T-ISO and larvae were fed Parvocalanus crassirostris nauplii at 1-2 nauplii/mL.  Lights were on continuously until larvae were 12dph and over the next 8 days lights were transitioned down to a 14 hour light: 10 hour dark schedule.  Varying size fractions of copepod nauplii were maintained in the tank throughout the rearing process and at 14dph Otohime A micro diet (75-250µm size) began being fed to larvae.  Larvae reached flexion by 15dph (see video) and were settled juveniles by 22dph.
With work on this species now being conducted here at the Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory, we look forward to bringing more information on optimized rearing protocols for this species in the near future.

Kevin Barden
The Rising Tide Team at the Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory


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