Richard Ross is known for his “Skeptical Reefkeeping” article series, his groundbreaking work with cephalopod husbandry, his entertaining and informative talks, and for managing the ambitious 212,000 gallon reef tank in the Steinhart Aquarium in the California Academy of Sciences. “I am so fortunate. I get to work on what interests me in a variety of ways; I write and speak about the practical philosophy of aquarium keeping and animal welfare in the hobby press, and I get to publish in academic journals. I get to practice the fascinating craft of aquarium keeping on a daily basis, as well as participate in various kinds of field work like coral sexual reproduction. Through it all, I have the ongoing challenge and honor of working with incredible species like pygmy seahorses, unique cephalopods, ghost pipefish and more”. Richard was presented with the MASNA Aquarist of the Year award in 2015, and his work has been covered by Scientific American, National Geographic, Penn’s Sunday School, NPR’s Science Friday, Discovery News and Fox News.
Richard Ross is a Senior Biologist at the Steinhart Aquarium in the California Academy of Sciences where he cultures and cares for exotic cephalopods, fish & coral, participates in ongoing field work on coral spawning, animal collection & transport, and manages tropical saltwater displays including the 212,000 Philippine Coral Reef exhibit. He is a prolific writer and speaker, authoring academic papers (notably on the Larger Pacific Striped Octopus) and a catalogue of articles on aquarium and reef related educational topics including his Skeptical Reefkeeping series which focuses on critical thinking, responsibility and ethics of aquarium keeping. Richard was presented with the MASNA Aquarist of the Year award in 2015, and his work has been covered by Scientific American, National Geographic, Penn¹s Sunday School, Science Friday, Discovery News and Fox News.
Richard has kept saltwater animals for over 25 years, has worked in aquarium industry and trade (maintenance, retail, wholesale) and has consulted for a coral farm/fish collecting station in the South Pacific. Before working in the animal world was a professional Juggler and corporate presentation script writer. He is an avid underwater photographer/videographer and has been fortunate to scuba dive many of the worlds reefs. At home he cares for a 300 gallon reef system and a 250 gallon cephalopod/fish breeding system, two hairless dogs, 2 hairless cats, 2 geckos and 6 chickens. When not doing all that stuff, he enjoys glass blowing, juggling, ice skating, horseback riding, mixed martial arts, exercising his philosophy degree, spending time with his fabulous daughter and his incredibly generous, intelligent, gorgeous and patient wife.
Richard has done a bunch of other stuff as well, including being a stay at home dad, glass blowing, juggling, corporate presenting, newspaper layout and design and philosophy. Links below the photos:
Why is there an octopus on Rich’s head?
While training divers on responsible and sustainable fish and coral collection in Tonga, we came across this octopus. As Tonga is mostly a substance culture, the divers we were training wanted to catch the octopus to help feed their families. One of them grabbed a claw hammer and proceeded to smash up several meters of coral while catching the octopus. One the boat I asked him ‘we just spent all day talking about how not to damage the reef, and there are easier ways to catch octopus, so why use a hammer?’. He answered ‘they bite’. ‘No they don’t’ I said, picking up the octopus and putting it on my head, where luckily it didn’t bite me, going on to discuss better ways to catch octopus. We then talked about how sustainable and responsible ideas applied to everything including fishing, and how respecting habitat means there will be creatures there for a long time to come.