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Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory

Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory

Student Opportunities

Current graduate student openings and undergraduate student opportunities:

  • MS Graduate Research Assistantship - Hogfish Aquaculture

    M.S. Graduate Research Assistantship - Marine Ornamental Aquaculture

    Start:  January 5, 2022 (Spring semester)
    Program:  Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
    Deadline:  October 1, 2021 or as soon as a suitable candidate is identified

    We are currently seeking applicants for a two year, MS research assistantship investigating production methods for Hogfish, Lachnolaimus maximus, in Florida.

    Description: Hogfish are a popular sport and food fish, targeted by recreational and commercial fishers. NOAA stock assessments have indicated South Atlantic hogfish populations to be overfished. Aquaculture of this species has the potential to meet the demands of commercial seafood markets while concomitantly developing reliable production protocols beneficial to stock enhancement efforts. Commercial culture protocols do not currently exist for hogfish. Fundamental information regarding reproduction, optimal larval feeding during ontogeny, and salinity tolerance is needed to define culture efforts and guide management decisions. This project aims to develop protocols for the captive production of hogfish. The proposed investigations will be executed through the collaborative efforts of researchers at the University of Florida’s Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory and Indian River Research and Education Center. The successful applicant will investigate critical gaps in knowledge regarding culture techniques for this 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, Fisheries, and Geomatic Sciences (

    • B.S. degree in biology, zoology, marine sciences, aquaculture or related discipline
    • 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 October 1, 2021 deadline.

    • Cover letter summarizing interest in the position, qualifications and experience, as well as research and career aspirations
    • Curriculum Vitae
    • Unofficial academic transcripts
    • 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 December 2021.

  • Master of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (MFAS)

    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 availability of 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. For information on the application process, visit the How to Apply page at SFRC..

    Part of the application process involves identifying a faculty member to serve as your advisor. Direct inquiries 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 if 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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