Barrett Christie, Director of Husbandry at the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, CT, has worked with most major groups of aquatic animals, from seals to sharks to corals- but ironically- he has a strong passion for the desert…Desert fishes, that is. Join us as Barrett explains why-- AND why some of these fishes are in trouble.

More details on this episode MP3 Podcast - Barrett Christie: Building An Oasis for Endangered Desert Fishes with Dr. Roy Yanong
United States


00:00:02live radio let's talk pets welcome to acquire in media I'm your host doctor really non speaking to you from the university of Florida's tropical aquaculture laboratory thanks for joining us the director of husbandry at the maritime aquarium in Norwalk Connecticut has worked with most major groups of the
00:00:39body can seals sharks to coral but I run he has a strong passion for the desert dessert dishes that is join us as very explains why and why some of these issues are in trouble we'll be right back after these Hey cat people litter box smells always on
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00:01:18less litter find world's best cat litter at target Walmart and in your local grocery and pet stores radio dot com welcome back to my guest today is director of animal husbandry at the maritime aquarium in Norwalk Connecticut thanks for joining us thank you for having me so yeah
00:01:52I've spoken with you little bit a little bit of a sleuthing online and you definitely have a pretty wide breadth and scope of the animals you worked with and you've been in a number of us aquaria were before we kind of get into the desert fishes which is
00:02:06going to be the topic of this interview I wanted to kind of a little bit of background personal info looking to personal though so hopefully on you'll be okay so how did you get interested in aquatic life at first and what kind of influence you you know I
00:02:19grew up as a kid in the nineteen eighties and Jacques Cousteau's presence was you know kind of an influence on a lot of us that went into marine biology in the nineteen nineties that's certainly undeniable but I think the driving force for me honestly was shark week on
00:02:32the Discovery Channel when I was a kid that was the %HESITATION opened up my eyes and a and a lot of my colleagues have similar experiences really opened up my eyes to how awesome marine life was in and led me to eventually want to pursue a career studying
00:02:46it now did you have a query is growing up and if so how did you get involved in into the hobby you know I was never really a dedicated hobbyist until I was actually working in a public aquarium my little brother growing up had aquariums he was big
00:03:02into the hobby lots of planted tanks and and what not in his room I was big into fishing as a kid I would keep crayfish and I was more of a naturalist I I enjoyed seeing what I could find out in the local creek or when we went
00:03:15to the beach and it wasn't until I actually got my first job as a public aquarist but I felt like I needed to kind of broaden my knowledge %HESITATION because I never kept salt water at home so I started keeping tanks at home as an aquarist while I
00:03:28was in college and you know that quickly grew from a small obsession of one small reef tank to a you know a dozen tanks are more it completely took over the apartment where you're from Texas originally or where were you from I grew up all over the country
00:03:42%HESITATION my parents work my father was a military coup tractor so we we moved around a little bit spent a lot of time in upstate New York fair amount of time in in Texas but also southern California South Carolina Virginia but always near the beach one of my
00:03:55first memories of the enough as touching a starfish at the birch aquarium scripts institute for oceanography when I was a kid so we're always near the water and always connected to the water in some way shape or form okay yeah it sounds like you definitely had been all
00:04:08over now you mentioned your first aquarium was a a reef tank can you tell us a little about it yeah I set up a %HESITATION I started working as an aquarist and I felt like my knowledge in salt water was a little lacking so I dove right into
00:04:19the hobby as a twenty year old kid set up a little twenty long little nano reefs in my apartment and caps you know the easiest one of the best piece of advice I got from another friend who's the curator another facility now who is a big relief geek
00:04:32I asked him you know what coral should I start with and he looked at me very deadpan and said start with the book so I did I started with the book and then ended up with you know a lot of the corral more friends nothing too extreme but
00:04:42it got me that experience that I wanted and it definitely got me hooked so you end up with your first job at moody gardens I I guess said you all along decided that you were going to do what you want to work in aquarium and how did you
00:04:54get that job you know the the jobs in our field are really really competitive in public aquariums I'm hiring for an aquarist right now and I've got over seventy resumes it seems like it's getting more competitive so they're difficult to get especially in Galveston Texas there's a there's
00:05:10a great school on the island Texas a and M. university is there and there's fifteen hundred marine biology students of the competition was even more fierce for you know the two or three part time positions that might be available to local aquarium but I got started through volunteering
00:05:23as many places as I could and I work in education and was persistent and didn't get discouraged when I got turned down time and time again and after probably about the fourteenth interview I finally landed a a part time position yeah I know I mean I know a
00:05:37lot of people that EE one working agrarian I I can kinda see what you're talking about just %HESITATION with with people not being disappointed and can I have in the Gulf for it so that's awesome perseverance it pays to be persistent it pays to taste a volunteer and
00:05:51intern so because you have been all over the place both in terms of a life and a lot of really cool to query you you have worked at I I was gonna can ask for a quick highlight reel so what can you tell me one of your favorite
00:06:03memories from I guess if you had one and moody gardens but also delves aquarium in Odyssey aquarium in Arizona oh yes I mean there's so many great thing about this job is that you love every single day you come to work you'll never get rich doing and there's
00:06:16a thousand things I could pick from if I had to pick one you know being on the coast moody gardens of being able to collect collect sharks and get paid to go shark fishing is one of the best job you can possibly have in Dallas what I really
00:06:29appreciated about Dallas I work at the Dallas requirement fair park which is not to be confused with the Dallas world aquarium that's an eighty year old facility when I was really struck by the sense of history working there you know this aquarium has been around since nineteen thirty
00:06:42six there generations of really talented fish keepers who came before me and really built a legacy and when the place open in thirty six there weren't a lot of public aquariums in the country and certainly even the hobby was not is nearly as big as it is now
00:06:57so these guys really laid the foundation I felt a real sense of pride working there because these guys that came before me laid the foundation for what we now know is animal husbandry and what we know is fishkeeping they developed a lot of these techniques but for me
00:07:11the highlight was definitely getting to renovate it place was falling apart when I got there and getting to get the building from scratch modernize everything the life supports the filtration and really bring the aquarium into the twenty first century was was definitely the highlight for me and honestly
00:07:26I went on from there I got the opportunity to open a a massive nearly two million gallon aquarium out in the desert and the highlight there was was being able to build a place from the ground up I mean from absolute scratch and we did it very quickly
00:07:40we brought in over thirty thousand animals in a very short time frame hired a very talented team I just got to work with with wildlife from all over the world salt water fresh water into Pacific Caribbean fresh you know just a a huge variety of wildlife that was
00:07:57definitely the coolest part for me well I did have the opportunity to visit out to see %HESITATION think a year ago or so it was a pretty amazing definitely have and all that aquatic life in the desert we'll talk a little more about that but but I I
00:08:09also heard and I think you kinda mentioned previously %HESITATION on your other little adventures Adele Seaquarium the peanut butter right at what you tell us about that so we we had kind of had this joke for years that we should we should feed peanut butter jelly fish and
00:08:23would make them peanut butter and jelly fish you know a great pun and we started thinking about it and we were doing some research I was looking at alternate food sources to reformulate our gel diets and I found a lot of papers suggesting peanut meal could be replaced
00:08:38as a substitute for fish meal Amy's food sources you know the jail died so we use an aquarium are very similar to the way flake food pellet food is made it's kind of a mixture of straight male fish meal binders little bit everything goes into it so this
00:08:51really intrigue me so we tried it we we fed peanut butter with him also fight with the blender and just fed peanut butter to little moon jellies and surprisingly enough they grew and they thrive and got to the point where they're actually reproducing so was it was really
00:09:05funny for us to say Hey while this not only did this work but there was enough protein in peanut butter for these jelly fish to grow into thrive and to grow in a natural healthy rate which was hilarious so we wrote it up as kind of a half
00:09:17hearted joke what kind of a a look at this in a an aquarium journal and you know next thing I know national geographic's calling me because it went viral on the internet that survey the so has this not yet become a standard practice has become a standard practice
00:09:30yet it really really files the water okay I get moving on to Odyssey not long after that so I haven't had a chance to a lot of follow up drugs but I'd be willing to bet there is an application for peanut protein to replace some of the fish
00:09:44in the shrimp proteins in a lot of the foods we feed to our animals yeah and I mean that seems the definitely support that so that now that's cool so now on you are it in Connecticut now what made you decide to move from Arizona to Connecticut you
00:09:56know the defining factor for me as a as a marine biologist and somebody who works with Spanish especially a lot of marine fish is that I had been landlocked for about twelve years at that point I moved away from the coast was in Dallas for ten years at
00:10:09Odyssey for almost two and the opportunity came to move to an aquarium on the coast which was enticing was a smaller query him but a a really interesting collection focused on the Long Island Sound when I go somewhere I've seen a lot of aquariums so when I go
00:10:23somewhere I'm always more interested in the little aquarium that really focuses on the local habitat that to me is is often times more interesting than seeing the same types of you know they may be gorgeous but the same types of reef tanks and and fish displays that I've
00:10:39seen in other facilities I like seeing something new and something focused on the local habitat because ultimately that's what we're here to do is educate that next generation of kids and inspire them to care about their local habitats and inspire them to be a force for change in
00:10:52the world and of course it didn't hurt the fact that this facility happens to have an amazing conservation research program that we have scientists on staff and we have our own sixty eight foot hybrid electric research vessel was just kind of the icing on the cake well I
00:11:05kinda Segways really well into %HESITATION desert fishes you know what obviously these would be kinda local for us and and also %HESITATION kind of bringing it to attention some of the issues involved with that and I kind of agree with you I really do like the the cramps
00:11:19or not it's kind of almost like craft beer I guess you know if you think about it sort yeah you know you can get the same types of beer all over the place but the ones that are really unique to a specific area are kind of the ones
00:11:29that you really enjoy a little bit more I think right so farm to table approach in fishkeeping exactly so yeah so let's move on to a desert fish is now you know as we alluded to earlier you've deftly done a lot of work in the with a lot
00:11:42of different species of animals been all over the place so the desert fishes that kind of a kind of almost like an oxymoron this is kind of maybe in more of any ecology type question but how to fish and up in in the desert that's a great question
00:11:54you have the last thing people think of when they think of the desert's our fish not only living but thriving in those habitats but there are quite a few fish in the desert if you look at the US in particular and a lot of our western fishes in
00:12:05the arid lands are in a lot bigger trouble as well in their eastern counterparts but the way the fishes ended up there you look back about a hundred at it was at its peak at about a hundred to a hundred and ten million years ago most of the
00:12:18central U. S. was covered by what was called the Cretaceous the way it was a tropical probably coral filled see full of please your stores and Moses stores and fishes so most of what we think of now as desert is Texas New Mexico Arizona Nevada a lot of
00:12:33that was covered by a very shallow warm ocean a hundred and ten million years ago that started to recede as the continents moved around and I say just ended and the the climate started changing its now into what we call the Gulf of Mexico as a result you
00:12:46had all these little pockets of water left over in this dry land that were coming from springs in natural aquifer's and each of these pockets ended up getting deposited some fish I mean these are mostly %HESITATION mostly the publishes the good deeds Achille fishes the live bears there
00:13:03are still a lot of the small springs they probably were all the same species when the water receded but over time they involved in a diversified into kind of a menagerie of very very small habitats containing unique species of fish it's an absolutely fascinating process well we are
00:13:20definitely gonna delve into that little more but first let's take a short break we'll continue or are just with my guests Christie after the right back right after stay tuned does your dog itch scratch Danker shed like crazy come to dynamite for help order ninety day supply of
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00:14:02buy two get one free this is Henry look ascetic for dynamite NLB I. T. dot com our conversation with my guests %HESITATION of animal husbandry at the maritime aquarium in North so on your kind of give us a little bit of the %HESITATION history of desert fishes in
00:14:40the southwest so as you mention probably coming from the same maybe species you know millions of years ago what kind of biology commonality they have because of the desert habitat and maybe then we'll talk about some differences after yeah there's quite a few similarities and and quite a
00:14:56few differences as you would expect most of the smaller groups that we're working with our most a smaller fishes were working with in aquariums and a lot of hobbyists and dedicated individuals have at home tend to be the little diminutive fishes the publishes the good deeds alive bears
00:15:11now that being said there's quite a diversity of fish in the desert's of North America we have four desert's the snore in the %HESITATION show while on the Mojave and the Great Basin forty for desert for different climates different levels of precipitation in plant fauna and everything else
00:15:28so we have a wide right about a hundred and sixty five species total which includes some larger species the minnows some Sammons some on it there's there's quite a few about six species of endangered someone in the American west so the diversity in terms of taxonomy is huge
00:15:42there is a lot of different types of fish for the ones that we tend to focus on in aquariums and and keeping aquariums there are some some similarities these guys all come from usually springs or small spring fed rivers because that's often the only source of water in
00:15:56the desert so they tend to like very very hard water sometimes a little bit on the cooler side because they are from springs most of them are omnivores they eat a lot of insects but also plant material so there's quite a few similar is there in their biology
00:16:09and their behavior they're also most of them most of publishers tend to be fiercely territorial which is actually how they got the name up fish it was thought that they looked the males look like a puppy chasing each other around because the males can be fiercely territorial and
00:16:23beat up on not only each other but also on the females once they finish breeding so that's kind of how they got the name the good deeds are a little bit more peaceful they tend to behave very much like a live bearers they do well in large group
00:16:34they're not very territorial they call have a tape very nicely are generally a peaceful fashion there also the goodies are also live bears like the **** lips so we're gonna talk now a little bit about maybe some of the issues with with the desert fishes which some and
00:16:49then maybe a lot of them so maybe you will you may want to just talk about some of the more important ones which desert visions are listed as threatened or endangered and why sadly quite a few there's ten counties in the western U. S. that have more than
00:17:01five endemic endangered fish species there's over forty counties that have three plus endangered endemic fishes at the highest rate of endangered fish species anywhere in the country despite the fact that oversees a lot lower than say the southeast so there are quite a few in danger there's over
00:17:18sixty endangered species threatened or endangered listed at the federal level or at the state level and there's probably even more than that south of the border in Mexico that we don't have a great sense on they don't have the same protections in many cents up of the border
00:17:32that they have in the US so it's quite a few species there that we just don't know about they may be in trouble there's quite a few that aquariums have rescued and it propagated in order to keep them alive is living arc because we knew they were going
00:17:43extinct in their habitat was being destroyed but there's a huge number out there probably the poster child for endangered desert fishes is the devil's hole pupfish if you Google devil soul pupfish you'll find out a lot about this US fish and Wildlife Service has been doing a fantastic
00:17:57job trying to keep these alive and they were actually oddly enough these guys were the center of the first Supreme Court case to challenge the Endangered Species Act back in the nineteen seventies like I said a lot of these are spring dwelling fishes they live in groundwater so
00:18:11when we pump out huge amounts of groundwater to have agriculture in places where agriculture doesn't normally exist like the west we end up driving the water level down in those springs and destroying their habitat so this was actually like is that the devil's hole pupfish in particular that
00:18:26US fish and Wildlife manages they were a the first test case the first real challenge to the Endangered Species Act because the mining companies wanted to continue to pump the groundwater out which would have driven them extinct and this is a species biologically that's very very remarkable it's
00:18:42it's certainly unique animal they have the smallest natural range of any vertebrate on the planet they occur in a an area less than a hundred and fifty square meters and their population size is the smallest of any part of it on the planet for the devil's hole published
00:18:56in particular their average population fluctuates between a hundred and twenty and three hundred some odd individuals every year and some years it's gotten down as low as thirty these are numbers to a geneticist they're just unheard of you know no other vertebrate species has populations that low and
00:19:12can still maintain genetic diversity and thrive so with all that said how many are in captivity I guess relative to that number in the wild there's quite a few so there's about there's six hundred some odd species found in all the desert's of those there's about sixty seventy
00:19:27that are in trouble and I would say of those we probably have about thirty species in captivity we focus on a small handful of Mexican species within the ACA programs because the US fish and Wildlife Service focuses on all of the species that occur within the U. S.
00:19:43border we tend to focus on the Mexican species because they don't have the same protections that the U. S. species have you especially while I service in particular runs an amazing hatchery called the dexter national fish hatchery where they breed fifteen to twenty endangered or extinct in the
00:19:57wild fishes from within the US we tend to focus on some of the species that don't get as much love south of the border but we're in real real trouble so there's probably twenty or thirty in captivity a good way to get involved would be to go to
00:20:09any American killifish association meeting our local killifish club because you tend to see a lot of these guys especially the publishes ingredients occasionally pop up in auctions and many of these animals are critically endangered or they're extinct in the wild and they are really %HESITATION keeping them alive
00:20:24is is really warming like a an arc for the species and if on the off chance their habitat ever is restored in the while we still have the genetics we still have the species to put back so I think tori explaining all that parents are you seeing any
00:20:38positive results from your and easy ace efforts today you know when you're when you're working with endangered species it's it can be disheartening at time because you're you're dealing with these animals and often times there is no return to the wild for them their habitats of already been
00:20:53destroyed and they're gone out with a lot of the species that we have that AZ a institutions and other aquariums and zoos are maintaining and captive care we actually could have there's a light at the end of the tunnel for these animals so we haven't seen any restoration
00:21:06efforts yet on a large scale but we have these animals as a living art we have the genetics and the populations alive in captivity so that if any of these habitats are ever restored if there is a political sea change tomorrow and we stop removing is much groundwater
00:21:21from the desert in the air and lands of the American the Mexican west we actually have the animals to put back and we we can start to will never reclaim that habitat that was there and all of its glory but we we will be able to put some
00:21:33of these species back and partially restore that habitat actually a quick question referring to something you had mentioned earlier because the numbers can get so low down to thirty for some of the %HESITATION populations yes is there a pretty good explanation why that there is no major genetic
00:21:48issues you know or %HESITATION bottle necking anything like that that's a great question the best way I've ever heard it described to me by an actual puppets geneticist is that these animals we don't so much have to worry about the bottleneck because they already went through the bottleneck
00:22:02two hundred and fifty to five hundred thousand years ago these animals have persisted despite their very very small population sizes in the small springs in in the small rivers basically they're inbred but that inbreeding can create a number of problems there were probably many many more species that
00:22:19went extinct in geological time but because of that but the publishers for whatever reason have been able to survive despite this inbreeding actually able to have sufficient genetic diversity from these combinations to keep their populations alive it's it's really kind of a paradox a geneticist don't typically think
00:22:36of viable populations of a species being twenty thirty animals a hundred animals normally they're looking for at least several hundred if not several thousand one interesting case study we had a species alive in Dallas it was a a type of published in the scientific name was look up
00:22:51salon a forest that a a very talented aquarist Charles Yancey doctor Paul was L. from the New York aquarium went down and rescued from Mexico in the early nineteen nineties they collected the last two of these animals that were ever recorded in the wild before their habitat disappeared
00:23:06so we had a founding population of one male one female and Charles was actually able to breed these at the Dallas aquarium for almost thirty generations they have very short life spans and keep the population viable unfortunately numbers did go down and down and down because you obviously
00:23:20want to larger founder population to start with but we actually ended up with those animals with the generation of two males and we bought all was lost the species is gonna go extinct extinct in the wild we have the last remaining population but we work with the researchers
00:23:34at UC Berkeley and we're actually able to take those animals and hybridize them with another pup fish species in back cross it you know much the way the the Florida panther was saved back in the nineties %HESITATION in your home state and we were able to save the
00:23:46genome if not the species so least we have the genetics of this fascinating unique animal that's cool so there are different ways to kinda try to salvage some of it as you mentioned so on the %HESITATION and a hobby aside there is a group called man but and
00:24:02I know they're involved with some %HESITATION native fishes as well maybe you ought tell us a little bit about manned by in in your association or any work done with them or read them yeah I've been a member of man for three years and I think it's great
00:24:14for hobbyists recently became the regional representative for a state of Connecticut for nafta but the the native fishes association is a great group of really dedicated people a lot of these guys they have an online discussion forum it's all centered around you know American native species so a
00:24:30lot of your pretty little fresh water fish that often get overlooked you know I find it really interesting these guys are are dedicated to keeping them at home and and breeding them in advancing the husbandry of all these pretty little charters and shiners and all these cool fish
00:24:43that so often get overlooked working in public aquariums one of the things I find really interesting to me is that we often times go to great lengths to recreate these habitats from the Amazon in the Congo Southeast Asia when we're looking at fresh water tank circuits a reef
00:24:56tank you know Indo Pacific Fiji we go to great lengths to bring these exotic animals to our gas and we kind of ignore what's in our own backyards when I go overseas and I go to aquariums in Europe and the like you know they have American fish species
00:25:11starters and shiners and Florida flag fish and all kinds of really cool stuff that to them is very exotic but to us it's kind of a you know a guy guard my backyard it's not as big of a deal to us but I think we overlook our native
00:25:24fish species we have a huge diversity especially in the southeastern United States I think it be a really cool thing to see more of that in public aquariums because often gets overlooked for the flashier shinier Amazon African southeast Asian species yeah I definitely agree with you of and
00:25:39kind of %HESITATION as a side note we're actually working on some %HESITATION on native fish reproduction here because of the as you mention the great interest in Europe and in non US areas so yeah definitely so I guess I tagging along that question do you believe obvious can
00:25:54play a role in conservation of native dishes and why and maybe which species would that be helpful for absolutely I do one of our colleagues Dr Paul was out on the New York aquarium has said many times that the best thing an endangered fish can do to ensure
00:26:10its survival is to attract the attention of the hobby because if you look at so many fish species there many that we see in pet shops every day that we don't even think of as being extinct in the wild you know white cloud minnows for example are extinct
00:26:22in the wild bill's money rainbow fish for Madagascar are are an endangered if not critically endangered species so there's a lot of these that had been propagated we save that species the genome is out there in the hobby because they're in a trash active fish species so little
00:26:35bit further kind of your drill down on that question of somebody were interested really making a difference for conservation I think there's absolutely role for dedicated fish keepers to play one of the first things I would point towards is joining the American killifish association or their local Kelly
00:26:49club that's where a lot of these fish species tend to pop up you know they pop up on the auction table there being maintained in tanks under human care and not only they being maintained but they're being maintained in a very scientific studious way were maintaining the genetics
00:27:03of certain populations and they tracked these guys so there's a up phenomenal interest out there if you can get connected with it there's a lot of very dedicated hobbies keeping these dishes some examples of some that people could keep at home that might make a difference to conservation
00:27:17would be you know certainly the good deeds there's quite a few of those out there in the hobby amicus splendens the butterfly split fan is one that we manage an easy game stations that's one that's a little bit more commonly out there this is an animal extinct in
00:27:29the wild the you can read at home that you can find all the time and in the killifish circles there's a number of cichlids as well there's the Haplochromis cichlids from Lake Victoria still quite a few of those out there in the hobby they're being maintained %HESITATION especially
00:27:43in Europe but also here in the U. S. there's trouble cichlids from %HESITATION they get a lot bigger so they need a bigger bigger tank Abbott the paratroopers from Madagascar are another animal many of the species are in quite a bit of trouble and they can also be
00:27:55maintained at home and and speaking in Madagascar I mean once you start getting into their that's an island it's really got a lot of unique fish species and many of them are in trouble and many of the little Kelly fishes from Madagascar are are strikingly beautiful what a
00:28:09Paki Pentax in a lot of those other genera and species of fish are absolutely gorgeous and fairly easy to care for home so there's a number of avenues you can take you know on the salt water side even things as simple as breeding Banggai cardinalfish you know the
00:28:24Banggai cardinalfish was the sensation of the nineteen nineties and early two thousands we rediscovered this species and almost drove into extinction within ten years now people are starting to read those and so apply the demand in the hobby with tank raised fish so that we're not having to
00:28:38take those from the wild there's a number of avenues but I feel that anybody with the dedication and the time to put into it really can make a difference in conservation so I guess there's a couple kinda hard to that one is folks can be involved with sort
00:28:51of helping with maybe demand by breeding fish that they have some problems potentially in the wild and for those that are kind of interested in maybe trying to help with conservation efforts directly in terms of the maybe for restocking or that sort of thing is they're kind of
00:29:07an Avenue for that with the CA or is it kind of still a little bit more not so much what they see a but there are groups out there if you Google good deed working group or second on working group a lot of these guys are academics a
00:29:19lot of them are researchers at universities but a lot of these guys are just really dedicated home hobbyists better tracking the endangered fish is that their breeding at home and they're keeping very detailed notes and they're keeping track of their populations and providing annual census data to these
00:29:35servers are definitely two avenues for those that are interested would be to try and reach out to the the second on working group or the good deed working group as you can get involved and you can usually I like I said those are two organizations that are very
00:29:48heavily integrated within the American killifish association so especially with these species that we're talking about optician and good deeds the clearest Avenue into working with those animals is really getting involved with the Kelly fanatics that's great great advice so as we come to the close of this great
00:30:05interview I I'm going to ask you I and you kind of gave some suggestions that the beating but for a potential future budding aquarist with all the competition out there do you have any advice for how some of these people may eventually get a job at a public
00:30:18wearing yeah absolutely and it's absolutely the greatest job in the world I tell my staff all the time that we have the coolest job in the world and I don't think anybody takes for granted the competition like I said can be fierce there's a lot of people that
00:30:30want these jobs first and foremost I would really make sure your you're willing to take the vow of poverty that comes with being a professional animal keeper because they're not well paying jobs but their jobs you'll love every single day of your life but the best way to
00:30:43do it like I mentioned previously is is to gain experience however you can the great paradox in trying to work in a public aquarium is that you can't get your foot in the door and to get experience but you can't get experience until you get your foot in
00:30:55the door so doing an internship or volunteering at as many different places you can even if you only volunteer a few hours a week that really helps you build the knowledge and build the connections but you'll need to kind of demonstrate that you might be a good fit
00:31:09for these candidates and again like I said just it pays to be persistent it pays to not get discouraged if you get told no fourteen fifteen twenty times because on that twenty first interview you may get the job it may be the start of a fantastic career so
00:31:25I guess a follow up question what do you have any suggestions with regard to like education and you know things like that certainly I think in our our industry the bachelors of science kind of become the standard minimum you really need it a degree from university to pursue
00:31:39this field there actually is another great Avenue out there for anybody that really wants to work in public aquariums you can do a two year associates of applied science at Oregon coast community college that you have an aquarium science program set up or if you have a bachelors
00:31:54degree already in one of the natural sciences you can do a one year certificate program which is going to teach you the hands on skills you need to be an aquarist a public aquarium I started getting involved in this year when I visited the school did some mock
00:32:07interviews with the students and kind of evaluate the program and it's absolutely phenomenal so if you're really serious about it I would definitely look at the the Oregon coast community college aquarium science program but certainly education wise at the very least you need to have some college experience
00:32:21even if it's an associate sometimes that can be offset if you have a two year degree can offset that with a lot of hobbies experience I certainly don't limit myself to candidates that don't have a bachelor's degree but you need to have some kind of formal education for
00:32:34my the Koreans to get that first entry level job well thank you Fred definitely great advice unfortunately we're out of time I know I could talk to you for a long time and I'm sure I'll a set of some additional interviews on some of your other areas of
00:32:46expertise so what thanks very much I want to thank our guests Christie and our producer mark winter for making the show possible so did you have any final words of wisdom or information you wanted to impart to our listeners I would say the one thing I would tell
00:33:02any fish keeper whether you want to get into a public aquarium or or just be more successful in your home fish room is never pass up the opportunity to learn a new skill whether it's plumbing or electrical or welding veterinary skills you never know when it's gonna come
00:33:16in handy never pass up that opportunity to learn a new skill no matter how unrelated it seems what's great advice and actually that's probably great advice for life right exactly right well thanks again for joining us well thank you for having me please be sure to check out
00:33:30Barrett's weblinks end up there at all get as many links as you think are appropriate and %HESITATION may be helpful for others and I will put those on your a Grammy guess page I encourage all of you to visit my Grammy a blog on pet like radio if
00:33:43you have any questions comments or ideas for show email me at doctor Roy at had like radio dot com that are are alive and had like radio back until next time be sure to keep your local stores happy with it keep your tank clean and you're healthy and
00:34:01keep an eye out for updates on the status all that you can't let's talk every on the live radio

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