My name is Emma and I’m a graduate student at Hawai’i Pacific University (HPU) working toward my master’s in marine science. I’ve been one lucky girl these past few years! I graduated from Old Dominion University with a B.S. in Biology. I had such a wonderful time there and was given so many opportunities, but like everyone I had to grow up and leave my loving “nest”. After graduation I accepted an internship at Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town, South Africa and absolutely loved it. While there I got hands on experience with culturing systems, tag and release, commercial collections and husbandry. Then, because adventure calls, I moved to Hawai’i!
In Hawai’i I’m working towards my master’s degree under the direction of Dr. Chatham Callan at the Oceanic Institute (OI) and HPU. My research is centered on the successful culturing of yellow tang. I’ve been lucky enough to be accepted into a wonderful team here at OI who have taken the time to show me the ropes. My research focuses on the nutritional composition of live feeds, algae and copepods, as well as pathogenic bacteria within the culturing environment and possible use of probiotics. These two aspects are hypothesized to play a role in the mass mortality of larvae seen around 7 days post hatch. Everyone at OI spends countless hours in the lab making sure the algae, copepods, and our [adorable] broodstock have everything set as we prepare to start trials and take care of the thousands of larval fish we are hoping to have.
Rising Tide has generously donated money to help support this research and I am beyond thankful for all that they’ve done. It’s been such a wonderful experience so far. Recently, on a strike of luck, we have successfully had a few yellow tang larvae survive up to 58 days post hatch (as of this posting). It has been an exciting experience for us as we watch their development progress and examine settlement cues for the first time.
Just a little bit about myself…I am originally from New York and get large amounts of pleasure out of rubbing in my geographic location to everyone back home. (Note: People getting over 10 inches of snow don’t like when you send them pictures of beaches and palm trees). I’ve been in love with the ocean and water since a young age. My parents typically had to plan vacations around bodies of water for me to spend hours in. It’s been a dream come true to spend the last year and a half in Cape Town and Hawai’i, especially since my time in both places has been surrounded by fish and people who love them as much as I do!
I will keep everyone updated on our progress with the yellow tang. Thank you again to Rising Tide, SeaWorld / Busch Gardens, HPU and OI. Also, a huge thanks to Dr. Callan and the entire OI “susTANGability team”, it’s been great coming in to work everyday!