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Investigators

Andrew Rhyne, Ph.D., has invested his career in understanding marine ornamental aquaria: the biology of aquarium fishes and invertebrates, as well as the industry driven by human fascination for these creatures. The trade in aquarium species can be considered data limited industry and the lack of available trade data hinders sustainability movements within the trade. Dr. Rhyne has worked to develop solutions to this data gap. Dr. Rhyne is advancing the field of marine ornamental aquaculture, developing methods for breeding and rearing popular species in aquaria. His body of work illuminates life histories, husbandry and larval rearing requirements of many wild ornamental fish and invertebrate larvae. Dr. Rhyne proactively teaches others the skills that he has developed to support the development of marine ornamental aquaculture, both to his students as an Assistant Professor at Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI, and concurrently to public aquarium professional as a Research Scientist at the New England Aquarium in Boston, MA. Dr. Rhyne received his B.S. from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and his M.S. and Ph.D. from the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, FL.
Michael Tlusty, Ph.D., is the director of ocean sustainability science at the New England Aquarium, and a research faculty at the University of Massachusetts Boston. His work at the Aquarium is focused on developing sustainable aquaculture, and determining the proper balance between aquaculture and wild fisheries. He has worked in the area of seafood, but has been adopting the lessons there to the live aquatic animal trade. In addition, he conducts research on the multifactoral nature of bacterial diseases in crustaceans. Michael was born near Chicago, Illinois. He has a B.S. in Animal Science from the University of Illinois, and a Ph.D. in Biology from Syracuse University.
Robert Holmberg, B.S., began collaborating with Drs. Rhyne and Tlusty as an undergraduate at Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI, while studying environmental science and marine biology. Working to catalog the volume and diversity of the marine aquarium trade, he specialized in data collection and taxonomy verification. Robert went on to lead a related project involving the marine aquarium trade’s influence on invasive species propagule pressure in the U.S. As a member of the Hannigan lab at the University of Massachusetts Boston in Dorchester, MA, he is currently studying the impacts of ocean acidification on otolith development in teleost reef fish. Robert earned his B.S. in Environmental Science from Roger Williams University and is currently pursuing a graduate degree at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Joseph Szczebak, M. S., is a research associate and adjunct professor for the CEED Aquaculture and Aquarium Sciences Program at Roger Williams University. His research focuses on the sustainability of the aquarium trade and the development of marine ornamental aquaculture as a resource for the trade. He promotes a holistic view of the industry that considers the economic, social, and ecological components of the trade. Joe received a B.S. in Marine Biology from Roger Williams University in 2009 where he focused on mercury bioaccumulation in recreational finfish and the aquaculture of ornamental shrimps, and a M.S. in Biology from Auburn University in 2011 where he studied the physiology and nocturnal behaviors of clownfishes and their sea anemones. In addition to his research initiatives, Joe has experience in the aquarium design and installation industry.

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