Dr. Mark Flint was the third recipient of CHAIRE’s RFP funding this past January for his project titled “Wild Sourced Collection of Marine Fishes for Aquariums: Assessing the Ecosystem Impact and Longevity of Individuals Acquired.” Funding includes four semesters of stipend, tuition, and benefits for PhD student Brittany Fischer who began her program in fall 2020.
Beginning this spring, the team will begin working with three public aquariums to measure the sustainability of wild collection of marine species using ecosystem health assessments of collection sites. The project includes three objectives: 1) assessment of ecosystem health of collection and control sites using chemical, biological, and physical indicators; 2) evaluation of welfare of species collected upon arrival at each aquarium and then annually; and 3) industry level determination of how collections are maintained within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) member institutions through survey distribution and analysis. Dr. Flint and Brittany will be working closely with the AZA Aquatic Collections Sustainability Committee to aid AZA in gathering data for sustainability assessments of their populations.
CHAIRE is excited to support this project to help the research team achieve their research objectives over the next three years. Stay tuned for more updates on this project in the future!