Navigation Links
Captive breeding could transform the saltwater aquarium trade and save coral reefs
Date:9/20/2011

AUSTIN, Texas Marine biologists at The University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute are developing means to efficiently breed saltwater aquarium fish, seahorses, plankton and invertebrates in captivity in order to preserve the biologically rich ecosystems of the world's coral reefs.

These scientists believe their efforts, and those of colleagues around the world, could help shift much of the $1 billion marine ornamental industry toward entrepreneurs who are working sustainably to raise fish for the aquarium trade.

"It's the kind of thing that could transform the industry in the way that the idea of 'organic' has changed the way people grow and buy fruits and vegetables," says Joan Holt, professor and associate chair of marine science at The University of Texas at Austin. "We want enthusiasts to be able to stock their saltwater tanks with sustainably-raised, coral-safe species."

Holt is a co-author of a recent article, "Advances in Breeding and Rearing Marine Ornamentals," published in the Journal of the World Aquaculture Society in April.

The paper is a complement to Holt's broad-ranging work over the past 10 years to promote captive breeding of ornamentals. She's been a pioneer in developing food sources and tank designs that enable fragile larvae to survive to adulthood.

Holt has also been a vocal critic of the extraordinarily wasteful methods currently used to bring sea creatures from the oceans to the tanks.

"One popular method is to use a cyanide solution," says Holt. "It's squirted into the holes and crevices of the reef and it anesthetizes the fish. They float to the surface. Then the collectors can just scoop them up, and the ones that wake up are shipped out."

This method, says Holt, has a number of unfortunate effects. It bleaches the coral. It kills or harms other species that make the coral their home, particularly those that can't swim away from the cyanide. It can deplete or distort the native populations of the species. And it contributes to 80 percent of traded animals dying before ever reaching a tank.

Unlike the freshwater ornamental market, which relies mostly on fish raised in captivity, the saltwater ornamental market is 99.9 percent wild caught. Holt says this is largely because there's less accumulated knowledge on breeding saltwater fish in captivity. Saltwater species also tend to spawn smaller, less robust larvae, which are harder to rear to maturity, and to rely on various foods, such as plankton, that are not readily available in mass quantities for breeders.

Yet all these difficulties, says Holt, are surmountable.

She and her colleagues in Port Aransas, where the Marine Science Institute is located, have successfully bred in captivity seven species of fish, seahorses and shrimp they've caught from the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, including species that other biologists had tried but failed to rear before. Others have successfully bred popular species like clownfish, gobies, dottybacks, and dragonets, as well as coral, clams, invertebrates, and algae.

Several big aquariums, including SeaWorld, have committed to assisting in the breeding and egg collection effort, and to integrating into their exhibits information about how the aquarium trade impacts the coral reefs.

Holt and her colleagues envision, ultimately, is a "coral-safe" movement. The science, the economics and the social awareness could together result in a sea change in how saltwater aquariums are populated and how saltwater tank enthusiasts think of themselves and their passion.

As more tank-raised ornamentals percolate into the market, Holt believes people will see another advantage to buying sustainably. The fish will simply do better. They'll live longer, be healthier and be easier to care for.

"Species that are bred in captivity should adapt much better to your tank than something that was just caught halfway across the world, in a different system," says Holt. "Good retailers will want to sell these species, and consumers will benefit from buying them."


'/>"/>

Contact: Daniel Oppenheimer
oppenheimer@mail.utexas.edu
512-232-0682
University of Texas at Austin
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Study rules out inbreeding as cause of amphibian deformities
2. Favorite Thanksgiving dish gets upscale breeding
3. Identifying mega-targets for high-yield plant breeding
4. Researchers take first look at the genetic dynamics of inbreeding depression
5. Bone deformities linked to inbreeding in Isle Royale wolves
6. Is this the beginning of the end of plant breeding?
7. 121 breeding tigers estimated to be found in Nepal
8. Mary had a lot of lambs: Researchers identify way to accelerate sheep breeding
9. Breeding their horns off -- a winner
10. Genetic discovery could break wine industry bottleneck, accelerate grapevine breeding
11. ARS researchers develop method to speed up breeding of scab-resistant barley cultivars
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Captive breeding could transform the saltwater aquarium trade and save coral reefs
(Date:3/23/2017)... -- Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... Industry Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Vehicle Anti-Theft ... 8.8% over the next decade to reach approximately $14.21 billion by ... and forecasts for all the given segments on global as well ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... March 21, 2017 Optimove , ... by retailers such as 1-800-Flowers and AdoreMe, today ... Recommendations and Replenishment. Using Optimove,s machine learning algorithms, ... product and replenishment recommendations to their customers based ... predictions of customer intent drawn from a complex ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... At this year,s CeBIT Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel visited ... to the DERMALOG stand together with the Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe. ... the largest German biometrics company the two government leaders could see the ... well as DERMALOG´s multi-biometrics system.   Continue Reading ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... Kathy ... President of Clinical Operations. She brings years of expertise in establishing and leading ... professional foundation as a licensed occupational therapist, through a variety of leadership roles ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... Boston, Massachusetts (PRWEB) , ... May 23, 2017 , ... ... is making a splash at this year’s Bio-IT World Conference and Expo ... Anzo Smart Data Lake® 4.0 solution. The Anzo Smart Data Lake is also ...
(Date:5/22/2017)... ... , ... Stratevi, a boutique firm that partners with healthcare companies to creatively ... office in downtown Boston at 745 Atlantic Ave. , “We are seeing that ... on the value they provide, not just to patients, but also payers. Having a ...
(Date:5/22/2017)... PA (PRWEB) , ... May 22, 2017 , ... ... announced today that it is exhibiting in booth B2 at the Association for ... Pittsburgh, May 22-25. , In addition to demonstrating its Cancer Diagnostic Cockpit ...
Breaking Biology Technology: