Author Archive

Katie Barott breaks onto the scene with Coral/Bacteria Presentation

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 We’re always pleased to see new presentations, new ideas, and new speakers.  Reefapalooza featured a great new presentation a few months ago that we were fortunate enough to attend titled How Bacteria Affect Corals and Overall Reef Health. Katie Barott is a doctoral student working in the esteemed lab of Dr. Forest Rohwer.  If you aren’t familiar with Dr. Rohwer, he’s quite possibly the top marine biologist in the world and has one of the most cutting edge and progressive labs around.  Katie fits the mold for the lab as a researcher interested in bacteria, viruses, corals, and disease.  The presentation features some of the commonly quoted massive numbers of millions of bacteria per teaspoon of seawater, and the even bigger and mind boggling numbers of viruses.  But what really makes the presentation cool is the up close and personal accounts Katie presents.  Her photos of healthy vs unhealty reef systems and those reefs with very little human impact are worth of discussion and a great way to get hobbyists thinking about reef ecology.  She’s a delight to chat with, very knowledgeable, is quite cheerful and smiley, and is a crowd pleaser with her ability to present.   read more

Scott Fellman- Aesthetics and Aquascape presentation inspires!

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 Scott Fellman is still living it up with his Reef Aesthetics talk.  This is a tricky talk for someone like Scott, which is one reason why we love it.  Scott has years of experience as a hobbyist trying to create amazing aquascapes and even specialized biotopes.  He currently and recently oversees the production of custom made mega systems for private clients.  While Scott has been a vocal opponent to kinetic art, and the process of simply wanting a fish tank because it’s pretty, he is also very much tuned-in with aesthetics.  Scott’s presentation focuses a lot on design principles and using them in conjuction with husbandry techniques to create unique, beautiful, and of course functional reef aquariums.  read more

Kaua‘i County Council Urges the Legislature to Ban Aquarium Trade Statewide

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Two of the five counties in the state of Hawai‘i have now voted to urge the State to prohibit the sale of aquatic life for aquarium purposes. Echoing action taken by the Hawai‘i County Council in early October, Kaua‘i County Council recently voted unanimously to include in the 2012 Kaua‘i County Legislative Package a proposed draft resolution urging the Legislature to ban the collection of marine life for the aquarium trade statewide. The proposed draft resolution was brought to the Council by Councilmember KipuKai Kuali‘i (pictured here). Kuali‘i was approved last April by the Kaua‘i County Council to fill the seat vacated by former Councilman Derek Kawakami when he was chosen by Governor Neil Abercrombie to represent the 14th District in the State House. read more

Ecolabels Coming to a Local Fish Store Near You

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Up until very recently, it has been difficult (if not impossible) for the average North American aquarist to know the specific origin of the animal he or she may be considering at the local fish store. Why does this matter? In the absence of any functioning third party certification program, point of origin has been the aquarist’s best tool when it comes to supporting sustainability through his or her purchase (if you’ve been to one of my talks, you have no doubt heard me say this). With the exception of some endemics from known sustainable fisheries (Hawai’i comes to mind), most fishes’ origins are unknown by the time they reach the local fish store–even the best store staffed by the most knowledgeble staff. This is, in my opinion, unfortunate, given many species vary greatly based on the fishery in which they were harvested in terms of environmental sustainability, fisher treatment and animal health. Said another way, a blue tang is not a blue tang is not a blue tang. This is why it is a move in the right direction that some companies are taking steps to make the chain of custody from reef to retail more trasparent through labels perhaps best described as ecolabels.  read more

Dr. Gahn inspires with a lecture on the geological history of reefs

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 Dr. Forest Gahn rocks the party once again.  The Invertebrte Paleobiologist with a love of all things extinct is giving fantastic talks on the geological history of reefs.  First off, most reefs…. Are not made of coral.  And coral reefs have come and gone over time.  What threats are coral reefs facing today?  What threats have they overcome to get here?  And are their ways for hobbyists to create beautiful reef aquariums that don’t feature corals? Forest’s lecture  provides amazing and eye opening insight into the geological time scale.  His challenge for hobbyists to create non coral centered aquaria is intriguing and we hope some hobbyists out there will accept his challenge (I’m thinking all clams myself). read more