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Eric Cassiano
Biologist / Ph.D. Student

Telephone:  (813) 671-5230 x114

Degree Sought:  Ph.D. in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Advisor:  Dr. Cortney Ohs


M.S., Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 2009, University of Florida

B.S., Marine Biology, 2002, Hawaii Pacific University

Selected Publications

Research Interests

  • Marine ornamental fish reproduction and larviculture
  • Production of live feeds for marine ornamental fish larviculture

Eric received his B.S. in Marine Biology from Hawaii Pacific University in the spring of 2002.  After a brief period with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife working in fisheries science, he began working for the Oregon State University Molluscan Broodstock Program, where he was exposed to aquaculture of the Pacific Oyster, Crassostrea gigas.  After a few years there, he began a position in Cedar Key, FL with UF extension agent Leslie Sturmer, where he focused on various production aspects of the hard clam, Mercenaria mercenaria.  In 2009, he received his M.S. in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences from the University of Florida under Dr. Cortney Ohs.  His thesis focused on evaluating Florida pompano, Trachinotus carolinus, larvae fed nauplii of the calanoid copepod Pseudodiaptomus pelagicus.  Eric joined the Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory in October 2010 as a part of a new project exploring the production of marine ornamental fish species.

Current Ph.D. Research:

Exploring the use and production of alternative live feeds for first feeding marine ornamental fish larvae

A bottleneck in the production of marine ornamental fish is the first feeding phase, when larvae begin feeding exogenously.  Most marine fish species are provided rotifers (Brachionus spp.) and/or brine shrimp (Artemia spp.) nauplii during this phase.  However, they are not the preferred prey of most marine fish larvae and success with them has been limited to a few species.  Using this feeding regime, larvae exhibiting a generalist feeding mode tend to have suitable performance; however, a number of marine fish larvae feed selectively.  Copepods and other marine zooplankton typically yield better performance of larvae during experimental trials.  The problem lies in producing sufficient numbers of these organisms to satisfy the needs of commercial facilities.  Furthermore, using wild marine zooplankton can be inconsistent and problematic for commercial hatcheries.  Expanding the number of marine ornamental fish species in commercial production relies upon looking beyond the readily available live feeds and exploring the numerous phytoplankton and zooplankton available.  Alternative live feeds organisms, including copepods, dinoflagellates, ciliates, appendicularian larvae, nudibranch trochophores, and bivalve larvae, all have potential for use and production as a live feed in marine fish larivculture.

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Last updated October 02, 2012.
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