July 22 , 2017
Cranbrook Institute of Science
39221 Woodward Avenue, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48303

  Event Speakers

Todd Gardner

Todd Gardner is a professor of marine biology at Suffolk County Community College in Riverhead, NY.

His life and his career have both been shaped by his passion for marine life and he has written numerous scientific and popular articles about his research and experiences collecting, keeping, and culturing marine organisms.

Todd’s professional background includes work on a National Geographic documentary, commercial aquaculture at C-quest Hatchery in Puerto Rico, and an 11-year term at the Long Island Aquarium where he spent much of his time developing techniques for rearing marine fish larvae. To date, he has raised more than 50 species.

In 2013 Todd received the prestigious Aquarist of the Year Award from the Marine Aquarium Society of North America (MASNA). In his spare time, Todd dives, photographs marine life, runs marathons and plays in a blues band.

Noel Heinsohn

Noel started his passion for marine life back in high-school: as far away from the ocean as possible...Iowa. Thanks to an Aquarium Science high-school program he attended for several years at Central Campus. While attending high school, he worked at the local zoo as their aquarist and at a local fish store. After high school, Noel attended Oregon Coast Community College for their aquarium science program to advance his knowledge. While in college he worked for Hatfield Marine Science center as an aquarist and interned for NOAA working with cold water aquaculture.

For the last four years, he has been serving time at the Long Island Aquarium as their aquaculture aquarist. During this time he has raised 17 species, including the first captive bred anthias, and most recently the Lamarks angelfish. He currently cares for 38 of Long Islands exhibits including everything from Discus to Jellies. He is also the backup aquarist assigned to the aquariums 20,000 gallon reef tank whenever Joe Yaiullo isn’t around. Noel is a regular contributor to Reefs.com. When Noel isn’t trying to rear fish, he is often reading comic books or playing with his dog, Samurai.

Avier Montalvo

Avier is a native Texan who has lived on or around the ocean his entire life. He fostered a love for marine life at an early age. He had his first marine aquarium at about 15 years old, (without his parent’s knowledge), which he kept in his childhood best friend's garage (because it was not allowed at home).

Though he started his college career studying music, Avier promptly switched his degree plan to marine studies and received his B.S. in Marine Fisheries from Texas A&M University at Galveston. While in Galveston, he began his aquaculture experience at National Resource Center for Cephalopods at The University of Texas - Medical Branch (UTMB). He then shifted to conducting research on elasmobranchs in a marine toxicology lab also at UTMB.

In 2008, Avier began graduate school at The Fisheries and Mariculture Laboratory at The University of Texas at Austin - Marine Science Institute. There, he conducted his master’s work and ran the ornamental laboratory under supervision of his graduate advisor, Dr. G. Joan Holt.

While in graduate school, he successfully spawned and reared many commercially and recreationally important species including red drum, Sciaenops ocellatus, Cobia, Rachycentron canadum, and Southern Flounder, as well as several ornamental species including fire shrimp, Lysmata debelius, lined seahorse, Hippocampus erectus, and dwarf seahorse, Hippocampus zosterae. He also successfully spawned several species of dwarf angelfish including the pygmy angelfish, Centropyge argi, the half black angelfish, Centropyge vrokilii, the lemon peel angelfish, Centropyge flavissima, and the cleaner goby, Elacatinus evelynae. In 2010, he received his M.S. for his work investigating sex determination in southern flounder. It was published a few months later.

Shortly after completing graduate school, Avier was the hatchery manager at a sizeable private commercial fish farm in South Texas for over four years. He oversaw the production of quality, sustainably aquacultured seafood for the US seafood market. He also designed an ornamental aquaculture facility at the same fish farm and built it from the ground up, where he aquacultured various species of clownfish.

Avier’s passion for marine ornamentals has always driven his interest in aquaculture.

He just recently completed a one-year project at The Oceanic Institute of Hawaii Pacific University through Rising Tide Conservation. During his time in Hawaii, he successfully reared 6 native Hawaiian species of fishes, 4 of which had never previously been reared in captivity. He aspires to use his knowledge and abilities to help protect an industry he loves so much by rearing new marine ornamentals and sharing those experiences to promote the conservation of such a precious yet limited resource for generations to come.

He is now working at Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute in San Diego, where his main focus will be to continue his work with Rising Tide Conservation as well as assist in implementing a new marine ornamental breeding program. This work will serve to improve culture methods on various marine ornamentals, and further, establish partnerships with public and commercial operations in regards to the production of marine ornamentals.

Monika Schmuck

I grew up in Northern Kentucky, but my family took yearly trips to Cape Cod, Massachusetts to spend time on the beach with extended family. Always one to go searching around in tide pools, I knew I needed to go back to New England to study marine biology. I attended the University of New Hampshire where I got a BS in Marine and Freshwater Biology. While in school, I worked for the Center for Freshwater Biology, studying and identifying copepods and plankton, culturing algae, and working on an online image-based key to the zooplankton of North America (http://cfb.unh.edu/cfbkey/html/). After school, I worked on breeding zebrafish for a pharmaceutical company and volunteering at the New England Aquarium in the Tropical Gallery. When the Aquarium’s offsite facility, the Animal Care Center opened in 2010, I was one of two aquarists hired to outfit and run the new facility. Through the years, the facility has transitioned from strictly holding and quarantine to now including multiple sustainability programs, including larval fish and live foods culture. After working for NEAq for 7 years, I am currently the Supervisor of Husbandry and Sustainability, managing a team of 4 aquarists and leading the larval fish rearing and live foods culturing. In the 3 years, the Aquarium has had some form of a larval fish program, we have reared 11 species, two of which are a species’ first: Planehead Filefish and Blue Chromis. In my spare time, I enjoy caring for my red-eared slider turtle, hanging out on the beach, and SCUBA diving.