Florida Keys Community College offers a program specifically for marine aquaculture. The Tropical Ornamental Mariculture Technician (TOMT) certificate is designed to develop marine ornamental entrepreneurs and provide technician level marine aquaculture skills that will help fill the marine aquaculture jobs of the future while helping supply the demand for oceanic resources from a cultured environment and not the ocean.

At Florida Keys Community College, Rising Tide Conservation is funding undergraduate research on new marine ornamental species of interest including: rock beauty angelfish (Holacanthus tricolor),  foureye butterflyfish (Chaetodon capistratus),  Indo-Pacific yellow coris wrasse (Halichoeres chrysus),  melanurus wrasse (Halichoeres melanurus), and the Cuban hogfish (Bodianus pulchellus).


Chief Science & Research Officer FKCC  


Dr. Patrick H. Rice is currently the Chief Science & Research Officer (CSRO) and the Principal Investigator for Marine Research at Florida Keys Community College (FKCC). He currently resides as: Chair for the Science and Technology Taskforce of the Florida Keys Environmental Coalition (FKEC), advisory member on the Wyland Foundation Board (http://www.wylandfoundation.org/), the Director for the Instrumented Underwater Training Systems (IUTS) project at FKCC, and Senior Marine Biologist for SharkDefense Technologies, LLC. (www.sharkdefense.com).

Dr. Rice earned his Ph.D. (2008) in Marine Biology & Fisheries at the University of Miami – Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (UM-RSMAS). Dr. Rice has consulted for UM-RSMAS during the design, construction, operations, and management of the University of Miami – Experimental Fish Hatchery (EFH) and at the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), Achotines Yellowfin Tuna Laboratory, Las Tablas Panama, with a focus on pelagic fish ecology and mariculture techniques for tuna and billfish. Dr. Rice earned his Master’s Degree (2000) in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from Texas A&M University (TAMU). Dr. Rice was a National Science Foundation (NSF) Fellow for the Japanese Monbusho Program to study mariculture in Japan where his primary focus was on culturing bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus orientalis). Prior to Master’s studies, Dr. Rice was a volunteer for the United States Peace Corps in South Pacific Islands of Fiji providing protein to indigenous people through aquaculture education.  Dr. Rice earned his Bachelor of Science (1992) degree in Biology from the University of Texas – Austin.


Mariculture Professor Florida Keys Community College


Dr. Michelle L. “Mick” Walsh is Marine Science Faculty at Florida Keys Community College in Key West, FL, where she teaches and mentors students in the Tropical Ornamental Mariculture Technician program. She focuses on providing opportunities for undergraduate students to explore, test, and research ideas regarding fish culture, as well as the chance to discuss their progress and network with other culturists.

After completing her undergraduate degree at Rutgers University, Dr. Walsh worked as a laboratory technician for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Service at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center − James J. Howard Marine Laboratory in Sandy Hook, NJ. This opportunity paved her career in fish culture, as working with the Life History and Recruitment Group offered the experience of rearing fishery-important marine species such as winter flounder, summer flounder, smooth flounder, monkfish, killifish, tomcod, cod, haddock, as well as live zooplankton and microalgae. Those species were reared to examine environmental influences on growth, development, morphology, and mortality of larvae and juveniles — ultimately contributing to the best scientific information available for use in fishery stock assessments.

Dr. Walsh’s experience then broadened to focus on hatchery and release strategies for flatfish stock enhancement both in the U.S. (as a graduate student at the University of New Hampshire) and Japan (where she spent 2 years as a Fulbright Graduate Research Fellow working with Japanese scientists, hatchery managers, and fishermen). Subsequently, she spent 3 years concentrating on sustainable seafood as a Fishery Policy Analyst for the Office of Sustainable Fisheries at NOAA Fisheries Service in Silver Spring, MD.

Walsh’s research interests center on the early life of fish species, including nutritional requirements and feeding behavior. She spends a good deal of time examining live hatchery feeds, particularly the potential of white worms, Enchytraeus albidus.

Rising Tide Conservation





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