2019 Speakers will be announced as soon as they are confirmed.

2018 MBI Workshop Speakers & Add-On Session Hosts

Matthew Carberry

Matthew is the President and CEO of Sustainable Aquatics in Jefferson, Tennessee. Matthew will be sharing everything he knows about the pelagic spawner progress they’ve made recently! This should be very interesting for everyone interested in taking on these challenging species.

Colby Johnson

Colby is President and CEO of Pacific Island Aquatics in Tangent, Oregon.  He specializes in procurement and quarantine of rare difficult fishes, with a keen interest in breeding. Colby will be sharing his expertise on quarantine procedures, biosecurity and sourcing of fish, as it pertains to the marine fish breeder. Additionally, he will probably ramble for a while about his perspective on the role of hobbyists, industry and academia in marine ornamental production.

Dan Underwood

Dan is the owner of Seahorse Source Inc., which is a small family run micro hatchery for seahorses. Seahorse Source has been in business since 2005 and is probably the most respected breeder and provider of seahorses in the country!

Dan was a speaker at the 2012 MBI Workshop and remains one of our most popular and requested speakers so we are extremely happy to have him join us again this year!

Tips and Techniques to Improve Seahorse Fry Survival

We will be covering different aspects of raising seahorse fry and how to improve survival rates, including broodstock selection, tank selection, system design, maintenance, foods and feeding and overcoming problems.

Vince Vacco

Vince Vacco is a Research Aquaculturist with Mystic Aquarium, where he is researching and developing aquaculture techniques for the royal gramma at the Marine Science Magnet High School of Southeastern Connecticut. Previously, Vince worked with Mystic Aquarium and Yale University developing ctenophore aquaculture techniques and bioluminescence stimulus experiments. He first began developing his aquaculture skills with clownfish during his time as a Joint Aquaculture Research Intern with Mystic Aquarium and the Marine Science Magnet High School.

Vince has always been fascinated by marine life with a particular interest in sharks and cephalopods. His passion for marine life drove him to pursue a 5-month field internship in South Africa studying great white sharks and other indigenous species. Vince holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences from Northern Illinois University, is a PADI Divemaster, NAUI Shark Diver, and an Eagle Scout.

Research and Development of Aquaculture Techniques for the Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto)

The Joint Aquaculture Research Laboratory, a Rising Tide Conservation Research Facility, is a partnership between Mystic Aquarium and the Marine Science Magnet High School of Southeastern Connecticut (MSMHS). The partnership’s goals are to research and develop industry-adoptable aquaculture techniques to provide a sustainable alternative source of livestock for the marine aquarium business sector and to educate and inspire an up-and-coming workforce to enter the marine ornamental aquaculture industry. The research goal of the current study is to develop an efficient and cost-effective aquaculture protocol for the royal gramma (Gramma loreto), among the top 1% of U.S. marine aquarium imports.  The objective is to establish an optimal sex ratio of broodstock groups while balancing territorial aggression.

Results suggest that in 23L (6 gal) broodstock tanks, a sex ratio of 1 male to 2 females is optimal for spawning because courtship and mating behaviors are maximized while aggressive/ aversive behaviors are moderated. Educational objectives are to train postbaccalaureate interns in the theory and practice of marine ornamental aquaculture, and present marine ornamental aquaculture to high school students enrolled in “Aquarium Science” and “Aquatic Husbandry” courses at MSMHS. Since 2014, a total of 7 postbaccalaureate students and 2 National Science Foundation-Research Experience for Undergraduate students have participated in the internship program; and a total of 85 and 125 high school students have enrolled in “Aquatic Husbandry” and “Aquarium Science” courses respectively. During the 2016-2017 school year, a total of 64 students enrolled in “Aquarium Science” and “Aquatic Husbandry” courses reported that their knowledge (on a 1-10 scale) of general and marine ornamental aquaculture increased from an average score of 5 at the beginning of the school year to 8 at the end of the year.

Ramon Villaverde

Aquaculture on a budget: the art of repurposing

Ramon has been a professional aquarist/marine biologist since 1997. After graduating from college with a B. S.  in Zoology and Ecology, he started his career at SeaWorld Ohio. After several years he moved onto working for Discovery Cove and SeaWorld Orlando.  Ramon currently works at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium where he has cared for the saltwater fish and invertebrates for the past 15 years.  His interest focuses on coral conservation and marine ornamental aquaculture.  In his spare time, he teaches scuba diving at a local dive shop as an SDI Instructor.

Add-On Session Hosts

Kelly Delavergne

Kelly is an avid seahorse and pipefish enthusiast who attended her first MBI Workshop in 2017. Kelly is now known as the Seahorse Whisperer and hosts “Wine Wednesday with the Whisperer” live stream where she chats with other seahorse and pipefish people while enjoying a glass, or two, of fine wine.

Kelly will be chatting with Dan Underwood and other seahorse and pipefish people on Saturday evening after dinner and again on Sunday at noon before the BBQ. The Sunday session may be a “Live” episode of her popular Seahorse Whisperer live stream!

Tamara Marshall

Tamara currently serves as the Director of Live Feeds at the Dallas World Aquarium.  She entered the field of Live Feeds in 2002 beginning with her initial focus on Live Feeds and Larval Culture.  Her expertise includes all key facets of the aquarium industry with experience in both retail and research arenas.  She has extensive experience in the fields of coral propagation, live feeds and she has successfully bred demersal and pelagic spawners as well as invertebrates.

Tamara attained her Aquaculture and Fish Health Graduate certificate from the University of Florida in 2017.  Her 2016 collaboration with the United States Geological Survey on breeding French Grunts enabled the USGS to expand their research on this species.  She has instructed over 70 classes and workshops for beginner to advanced hobbyists on a wide array of saltwater classes.

A Scientific Session for the Home Breeder with Tamara Marshall

Join us for a focused session created with the home breeder in mind. Learn how to bring your breeding to the next level by exploring small ways to make big changes to your approach to larval rearing. All techniques are created with lower budgets and time limitations in mind!

Topics covered will include:

  • How to Determine Hatch Rates, Egg Counts, Viability, Background Counts
  • Feeding Techniques to Increase Success

This will be an informal talk with discussions and hands-on demonstrations limited to 20 people. Reserve your seat for only $5 using the button below.