UF INDIAN RIVER RESEARCH AND EDUCATION CENTER (IRREC)
The mission of the IRREC aquaculture program is to conduct research relevant to the aquaculture industry in Florida and the southeastern United States and to interpret the results and to provide information to current and potential aquaculture producers. Additionally, education of students, graduate students, and post-docs is a crucial part of the mission.
The IRREC Aquaculture Research and Demonstration Facility is a 26.5 acre site which consists of four 0.25 acre lined ponds, greenhouse, hatchery building, and a large water treatment system.
Dr. Ohs leads the research and extension programs to identify aquatic organisms with aquaculture potential, to conduct research to define how to commercially produce them, and to improve production methods of organisms currently cultured by increasing efficiency and profit potential. Specifically, the research objectives fall into four categories:
- Defining culture methods for various marine ornamental fish species including broodstock reproduction and defining optimal culture parameters and feeding regimes for all stages of development to produce market sized fish.
- Evaluating the aquaculture potential of various species of marine fish demanded for bait.
- Evaluating the production of marine copepods and other live feeds for larval marine fish.
- Evaluating broodstock nutrition and reproduction of multiple marine and freshwater fishes.
The Rising Tide research efforts of the IRREC is focused on defining culture methods for various marine ornamental fish species including broodstock reproduction and defining optimal culture parameters and feeding regimes for all stages of development to produce market sized fish. Two M.S. students are working on different species of Chromis as well as on larvae of all species housed at IRREC including the Pacific blue tang (Paracanthurus hepatus). Additionally, AZA public aquaria around the U.S. will be shipping collected eggs from their exhibit tanks so they can also define optimal feeding and culture parameters. Results will be shared with researchers and private producers to expand production of marine ornamental fishes.
DR. CORTNEY OHS
Associate Professor University of Florida IRREC
Dr. Cortney Ohs received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees and was a full time researcher at Mississippi State University. For ten years he worked with a wide variety of organisms and defining their culture methods in multiple types of systems including catfish, hybrid striped bass, freshwater prawns, crayfish, tilapia, multiple freshwater and marine larvae, and worked with research projects in nutrition, larval nutrition, food science, endocrinology, histology, aquatic animal health, and economics. For the past 10 years, he has been an Assistant and Associate Professor at the University of Florida at the Indian River Research and Education Center. Currently he has ongoing research with over twenty species of marine and freshwater fishes and several species of live feeds for marine fish larvae.
Dr. Ohs has research experience with reproduction (natural and induced), larval nutrition, live feeds production (multiple species: copepods, rotifers, ciliates) for marine larval fish, and growout to market size. He has conducted studies on osmoregulation and the physiological changes associated with salinity change. Additionally he has conducted research with packaging and live hauling fish, and associated physiological stressors. He works closely with the marine ornamental fish industry, the freshwater ornamental fish industry, the developing marine baitfish industry, the marine shrimp industry in Florida, and the live feeds industry in Florida.
Current Rising Tide research includes defining methods for reproduction, egg collection and incubation, and larval culture of the Pacific blue tang (Paracanthurus hepatus), Atlantic blue reef chromis (Chromis cyaneus), Pacific blue green reef chromis (Chromis viridis) and black-axil chromis (Chromis atripectoralis). In addition, they receive eggs collected from multiple public aquaria and conduct research to define their culture methods.
IRREC Graduate Student
Carter Cyr started in the fall of 2014 and is working towards his Master’s degree at the University of Florida’s Indian River Research and Education Center. He received his B.S. degree in 2013 from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island where he majored in Marine Biology and worked as a research assistant working with marine ornamentals and live feeds. He grew up in Southern Maine and has had a strong attachment to the aquarium hobby for as long as he can recall. Over the past four years he developed a strong passion for aquaculture.
As a graduate student at IRREC, Carter is specifically working on the Pacific blue green reef chromis (Chromis viridis) and black-axil chromis (Chromis atripectoralis).
IRREC Graduate Student
Isaac Lee started in the fall of 2014 and is working towards his M.S. degree at the University of Florida’s Indian River Research and Education Center. Isaac received his B.A. degree in Biology from Colgate University in 2013. He has had a passion for marine aquaria for years and over the past year he worked at the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead. He learned about aquaculture of marine ornamentals and how to culture live food organisms.
As a graduate student at IRREC, Isaac is specifically focusing on the culture of the Atlantic blue reef chromis (Chromis cyaneus).