Student Opportunities

Master of Science (MS) Graduate Research Assistantship - Marine Ornamental Aquaculture

Start:  August 15, 2018 (Fall semester)
Program:  Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Deadline:  May 25, 2018, or as soon as a suitable candidate is identified

MS Assistantship - Marine Ornamental Aquaculture (Fall 2018)

We are currently seeking applicants for a two year, MS research assistantship investigating production methods for marine ornamental fish species in Florida.

Description: It is estimated that over 11 million marine fish, representing 1,800 unique species, are sold in the ornamental pet trade annually; with the preponderance of specimens resulting from wild capture. Culture of species which spawn small pelagic eggs and have underdeveloped larval stages has been largely unsuccessful due to bottlenecks mainly associated with captive spawning and larval nutrition. This project aims to develop protocols for the captive production of commercially valuable marine ornamental species (Halichoeres wrasses, Pacific Blue Tang, Flame Hawkfish etc.). The proposed investigations will be executed through the collaborative efforts of researchers at the University of Florida’s Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory and the Rising Tide Conservation Initiative.  The successful applicant will investigate critical gaps in knowledge regarding captive reproduction, larval culture, and production techniques for these valuable species. 

Location: This position will be located at the University of Florida’s Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory, a fully equipped research and extension center located in Ruskin, Florida. The facility includes 5 greenhouses, 50 earthen ponds, a climate controlled hatchery, and a full-service disease diagnostic laboratory. The degree will be awarded through the Program in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation.


  • BS degree in biology, zoology, marine sciences, aquaculture or related discipline,
  • GRE scores of >150 Verbal and >150 Quantitative
  • Demonstrated research experience and familiarity with marine aquaculture is highly desirable
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills

Salary/Benefits: Annual stipend plus tuition remission and GatorGradCare health insurance.

Application: Interested applicants should submit the following documents as a single pdf or word file via email to Dr. Matthew DiMaggio, ( by the May 25, 2018 deadline.

  • Cover letter summarizing interest in the position, qualifications and experience, as well as research and career aspirations
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Unofficial academic transcripts
  • Unofficial GRE scores
  • Names and contact information for three professional references

Final candidates will be contacted and required to submit formal applications to the University of Florida graduate school by June 30, 2018. For further admission information please contact Ms. Amy Abernethy (, academic coordinator for graduate programs.

Master of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (MFAS)
We are always accepting applications for self-funded MFAS (non-thesis) students.

Aquatic resources harbor a large share of the earth’s biodiversity and provide crucial ecosystem services including production of food, maintenance of water and environmental quality, and provision of recreational opportunities. Yet these resources and the services they provide face unprecedented threats from overfishing, habitat loss degradation and global environmental change.  The Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Program in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation (SFRC) conducts cutting-edge research, training, and extension for the sustainable development and conservation of aquatic biological resources in Florida, the Nation, and worldwide. Among our educational programs, the Master of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (MFAS) specifically addresses the need for high-quality professional training in the field.

The online Master of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences is offered by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation. This program is designed for working professionals in environmental sciences, fisheries, aquatic sciences, and natural resources, and marine biology fields who are interested in advancing their careers by earning a graduate degree. The ability to take this program entirely online means that students will not have to sacrifice their commitments to career and family in order to earn the degree.

Program Requirements

The MFAS program consists of 32 credits, of which at least 16 must be Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (FAS) courses. The remaining credits may be chosen from any graduate-level courses in the SFRC or at UF, with the approval of your advisor. Part of the application process involves identifying a faculty member to serve as your advisor (see Choosing Your Advisor for more information).

Direct inquires in areas of aquaculture production to Dr. Matt DiMaggio, non-native species to Dr. Jeff Hill, aquatic ecology to Dr. Quenton Tuckett and aquatic animal health to Dr. Roy Yanong.

Course Options

As noted above, any FAS courses may be used to fulfill the 16 major credits required for this degree, but students may choose to take more FAS credits as desired. During the degree, students register for a maximum of 6 credits of FAS 6905 for credit towards their technical paper, usually split between the first semester and the final semester.

Technical Paper

The online MFAS is a non-thesis degree and therefore does not require a research thesis for completion. The degree does require the student to write a technical paper/final project based on extension/outreach or research on a topic of their choosing in an appropriate professional area. The technical paper/final project must be approved by the Supervisory Committee.

Final Examination

Academic programs are required to give a final examination to students as part of their MS graduation requirements. The examination format (e.g., written or oral), length, breadth, location, and subject matter will be determined by the Major Advisor plus an additional SFRC faculty member in concert with the student. The content will be centered on subject matter drawn from the student’s coursework. A second SFRC faculty member, to be identified by the Advisor and student working together, will be required to participate in the student’s examination. The examination should be taken during the last semester of enrollment, but no later than one month prior to the end of the term. See Graduate School deadlines for specific dates.

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