Posted on August 30, 2014 by  —  from Aquanerd

Richard Ross

Behold your 2014 MASNA Aquarist of the Year, Richard Ross.

We are so excited to announce that Rich has won this prestigious award. For those of you who don’t know Rich, or at least follow him on social media, he has to be one of the most talented hobbyists with such an amazingly diverse background. He currently works for the California Academy of Science in their Steinhart Aquarium, maintaining their 212,000 gallon Philippine reef exhibit which has an added perk of getting to travel to the Coral Triangle for collecting and other awesome activities. He has done phenomenal work in the areas of cephalopod research, fish breeding, coral aquaculture, and spreading knowledge about the aquarium hobby. Rich pens the Skeptical Reefkeeping column on the Reefs Magazine and often contributes to other blogs and aquarium organizations.

As for his past in hobby, Rich was actually educated in philosophy at the University of California, but started to volunteer at the Steinhart Aquarium in 2008. Being a lifelong aquarist, this was a no brainer, and eventually he turned that into a very successful career as a full-time staff biologist.

When he’s not playing with aquatic life, Rich juggles, does a little stand up here and there, and dabbles in blowing glass. At MACNA 2013, Rich was the master of ceremonies and entertained the crowd with some amazing juggling skills and some all around good fun.

We couldn’t think of a more perfect candidate for the MASNA Aquarist of the Year award and we’d like to congratulate him once again.

Thanks, Rich. You’re AWESOME!

 


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From BBC

Mimic Octopus Thaumoctopus mimicus Lembeh Strait Celebes Sea Sulawesi Indonesia. Image shot 2008. Exact date unknown.
Presented by
Katherine Harmon Courage

Male octopuses have a big problem: female octopuses. Each male wants to mate and pass on his genes to a new generation. The trouble is, the female is often larger and hungrier than he is, so there is a constant risk that, instead of mating, the female will strangle him and eat him.

The males have a host of tricks to survive the mating process. Some of them can quite literally mate at arm’s length. Others sneak into a female’s den disguised as another gal, or sacrifice their entire mating arm to the female and then make a hasty retreat.

It’s all very macabre. It’s also a paradox. Octopuses are some of the most antisocial, unfriendly animals alive. Yet their bodies have evolved in such a way that they must mate in the most intimate way possible: the male has to insert his sperm directly into the female’s body using one of his arms. The resulting mating practices are not just a curiosity: they are a window onto how octopuses have evolved into the creatures they are today.

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Wunderpus octopuses (Wunderpus photogenicus) mating (Credit: Roy Caldwell)

Octopuses and their close cousins the squid all belong to a group of animals called cephalopods. Both are actually molluscs, making them close relatives of oysters and limpets, but they have lost their shells.

Octopuses tend to be profoundly antagonistic towards each other. Unlike gregarious animals like dolphins, they appear to see their own kind primarily as competition, and sometimes food.

There’s always the threat of cannibalism

Squid, which are downright social by comparison, mate in a distinctly unromantic way. A male squid swims by and deposits sperm in one quick move outside of the female’s body. She can decide later whether to accept it.

But not so the octopus. “Octopus mating is definitely different than other cephalopods,” says marine biologist Jean Boal of Millersville University in Pennsylvania. The male must deposit his sperm inside the female’s body, at the risk of his life.

“There’s always the threat of cannibalism,” saysRichard Ross of the California Academy of Science’s Steinhart Aquarium. More »

From Reefbuilders, by Jake Adams
Local copy of video here: https://vimeo.com/124146969

“Phosphate does not mean what you think it means” is probably one of the most profound things any speaker has said about this much maligned nutrient in our reef tanks. While PO4 gets a bad rap in our tanks, nothing, not the fish, the corals, the invertebrates, or the microbiology could even begin to happen without some amount of this very essential element for all biological systems.

We know that phosphate can inhibit certain parts of the calcification process in stony corals, recent research has shown that some species of coral can actually grow faster in the presence of higher phosphate concentration. The gist of this talk is that what we know about phosphate theoretically, doesn’t necessarily line up with our experiences and with our practical observations.

Many reefers like to brag about their super low phosphate levels, and a simple search of “phosphate” on this website will reveal a whole cottage industry to dealing, removing, and testing for phosphate. It is true that phosphate can be the root of many problems in home aquariums, and in natural environments, plenty of successful reef aquariums run a much higher than prescribed level of phosphate in their water.

From ReefsMagazine

By Rich Ross and Dr. Chris Maupin

At MACNA 25 in Denver, the potential for the new ICP-OES aquarium water testing by Triton Lab in Germany made many saltwater hobbyists swoon. The possibility of getting a real good look at what is going on chemically with the water in our glass boxes for an affordable price is incredibly appealing, since traditional ICP-OES testing is expensive and time consuming. In this installment of Skeptical Reefkeeping, we explain how ICP-OES testing works, explore the challenges of testing saltwater with ICP-OES, develop an understanding of the methods used to address those challenges, and discuss the results from the testing of a certified artificial saltwater standard that was sent to Triton Lab. 

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A partial look at some of the Triton Lab results taken from the available downloadable PDF. A discussion of the “Triton Method”, the “setpoints” used by Triton Lab, or what levels of which elements require action on the part of the aquarist is beyond the scope of this article.

 A Brief Reminder to Set the Scene Skepticism is a method, not a position. It can be defined as a method of intellectual caution and suspended judgment. As a Skeptical Reefkeeper, you decide what is best for you, your animals, and your wallet, based upon critical thinking, not just because you heard someone else say it. The goal of this series of articles is not to provide you with reef recipes or to tell you which ideas are flat out wrong or which products really do what they say they do or which claims or which expert to believe. The goal is to help you make those kinds of determinations for yourself, while developing your saltwater expertise in the face of sometimes overwhelming or conflicting advice. Introduction: Why We Don’t all use ICP Testing Already When reefkeepers daydream about water testing, they tend to imagine testing their aquarium water with a university or research institution’s complicated and expensive inductively coupled plasma (ICP) mass spectrometer or optical emission spectrometer, because, when properly calibrated and used, these instruments can produce incredibly accurate and precise results. However, a request to test tank water often is met with the response “Get that the hell out of my lab” from the lab technician, or by a seemingly outrageous price from a commercial lab. Saltwater presents ICP testing with special problems. Most notably, it can be detrimental to the instrument’s components, and the saltwater itself can help produce unreliable results. Compensating for these issues makes the testing expensive and time consuming. Sometimes months are required to get results, and at considerable financial cost: sometimes hundreds if not thousands of dollars per analysis of each individual element. However, Triton Lab is now offering ICP OES testing of 321 elements in a saltwater sample for a reasonable cost and a fast turnaround2 – a service that no other ICP-OES lab seems willing to provide. In the Skeptical Reefkeeping series, we often quote They Might Be Giants – “Are you sure that that thing is true, or did someone just tell it to you”3, and in that spirit we looked at some of the Triton Lab claims and are sharing our results. It is important to note that that being skeptical is not the same as being cynical, and that nothing would please us more than an inexpensive, accurate and precise water test providing values for 32 elements in a single report at a relatively inexpensive cost; however, understanding traditional ICP-OES and the numbers from our experiment tell a more complicated story. How ICP-OES Works In chemistry class, many of us became familiar with a flame test, where you put some stuff in a Bunsen burner and watch what color the flame burns, indicating what elements are in the stuff you burned. Table salt, for example, turns the flame yellow/orange (fun fact – both authors suffer from poor color perception) due to the presence of sodium in the salt. This test is the beginning of many a mad scientist – Muhahaha! Colored flame! An ICP-OES, when distilled to its most bare fundamentals, is a sensitive, quantitative means of performing a flame test. Instead of a natural gas flame in a Bunsen burner, it uses an argon plasma torch to burn the ions and record the colors they produce, and how brightly, which tells us what elements in what amounts, are in the sample. Muhahaha plasma! The ICP in ICP-OES is the inductively coupled plasma, while the OES stands for optical emission spectrometer.  More »

From http://www.reefs.com/blog/2015/01/19/reef-table-ret-talbot-rich-ross-sustainability-conservation/

WAIT! Don’t tune out – this will be interesting. Is it a glamorous topic? Not at all. I sat down (giddily) with one Ret Talbot and one Richard Ross to talk about sustainability, conservation and what it means to the hobby. We talked about just how sexy it is (spoiler alert: it’s not even the tiniest bit sexy).