From Reef Threads

rtheader

It’s our 175th podcast, also known as the Queen’s Plasma Centennial Jubilee podcast. This week we bring you a small bucketload of semi-interesting to absolutely fascinating discussion items about the reef-aquarium hobby, including NERAC events, Long Island Aquarium, collecting shore shrimp, Todd Gardner, Richard Ross and designer/feeder clownfish, instant-cycle goop from the Tanked people, and bottled bacteria. Download the podcast here, orsubscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter at reefthreads.—Christine and Gary

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From Reefs.com, by Tal Sweet

Part of the MBI’s goal is to promote captive breeding of new species that haven’t been done before and to recognize the efforts of those that succeed. To be granted a species first award, the breeder must be able to provide proof of the date of the success via a verifiable third party publication including, books, scientific journals, online forums, or the MBI system. Extremely detailed Journals within the MBI are required for this award. When granted a Species First Award, a star medal will be applied over regular success icon to indicate that it is a Species First. The MBI Council is proud to register and confirm the following Species First awards:

Sepia bandensis: Richard Ross, 2007

Sepia bandensis 1st MBI Species Firsts

TFH 5 of 6 300x199 MBI Species Firsts

http://www.mbisite.org/DReview.aspx?ID=89

http://www.mbisite.org/Forums/tm.aspx?m=47829

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By Sarah Medina on March 19, 2014 6:00 PM

Our city is chock-full of interesting people and wild personalities. Overwhelmed by the coolness? Every week we’ll pick one standout local we’d love to be friends with to answer seven essential questions about their life in the Bay Area.

As a Senior Aquarium Biologist at the California Aacademy of Sciences, it’s Richard Ross’ job to hang out with cool marine life all day. Ross cares for a diverse array of creatures at the museum, from corals and octopuses to Claude, SF’s beloved albino alligator, and a typical day at work involves making sure everything goes smoothly in the word’s deepest coral reef display. You’ve probably seen the colorful 212,000-gallon tank filled with thousands of tropical fishes and corals at Cal Academy, but it’s Ross’ job to make sure all those little guys stay happy and healthy. More »

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By  LINDA LOMBARDI, Associated Press, Updated: Tuesday, February 4, 11:08 AM
When Nancy King got a pet octopus, she made a serious commitment: She wouldn’t spend a night away from her home in Dallas the entire time she had it.“I had decided it would be an experiment in whether I could have a relationship with an octopus,” she says. “I sat with her every day and spent time with her, and I got rewarded for that.”
If the closest you’ve gotten to an octopus is sushi, you probably wonder: Rewarded how? In fact, octopuses can be very interactive, and show evidence of a surprising degree of intelligence — even what seems like mischief-making.
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Rich and Scott worked for years as a comedy juggling team, working everywhere from opening for the Smothers Brothers to Pier 39 to a million corporate performances. Here is one of their promotional videos

For more information on Rich’s juggling click here. For more information on Comedy Industries, click here.

 

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From Reefbuilders
by Matthew Pedersen 
baby-giant-clams

It’s the 4th annual installment of the Marine Breeder’s Year in Review (see past installments at 20102011a2011b, and 2012) and frankly, it’s been an interesting if not arguably “slow” year for a change, and yet I’ll probably write more than ever!

Breeders are pursuing all sorts of projects, but ‘success’ in terms of new species reared or otherwise projects meeting their goals often proved to be elusive. Perhaps the fact that this year’s biggest breakthrough was only written about once, and happened to be an “achievement by accident”, underscores the way captive breeding went in 2013. More »

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From Mr Saltwater Tank: “I’m kicking off my Reef Junkie Insider Interview Series by interviewing Richard Ross, Senior Biologist at the Steinhart Aquarium. Richard is known for his work with octopus, cuttlefish and approaching the saltwater tank hobby with a skeptical view point. In this interview, I ask Richard, “Does the data really matter?””

https://vimeo.com/81274832

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From Reefbuilders

By  on Dec 05, 2013
dr-seuss-fish-belonoperca-pylei-5

Leave it to Rich Ross to get it in his ceph-head that it is possible to pair and breed the highly prized Dr. Seuss fish. Not only does it take an investment of time and space, but money because as you know Dr. Seuss Fish are not cheap, not even by the pair, and they eat a lot.

After nearly a decade of working with all manner of Cephalopods, octopus and cuttlefish, Rich is aiming for something totally new, and completely uncharted territory. No one has ever raised soapfish, let alone spawned them and the closest species on record as having been spawned is probably the distantly related Liopropoma basslets. More »

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From Reefs.com

Many marine aquarium enthusiasts know about Richard Ross as the Aquarist Extraordinaire behind Steinhart Aquarium’s stunning 212,000 gallon Philippine Coral Reef. He has kept marine aquariums for over 25 years and has made a name for himself through his many conference presentations, articles and for just being an all around nice guy.

222527 358755317547273 1699593298 n L Life before the big fish bowl...A closer look at Richard Ross

Those of you attended the banquet at MACNA 2013 will no doubt recall Richard’s brilliant and somewhat unorthodox  performance as MC.  For those of you who missed it…he juggled swords while precariously balancing on a board on top of a pipe while standing on a stool! Before seeing his performance at MACNA, I had no idea that aside from being a darn good aquarist, he actually had a few other “tricks” up his sleeve.  I managed to catch up with Rich for a quick  interview just before his talk at Reef A Palooza last week. I was curious to hear about how he became such a good showman and where he learned all his cool death defying tricks. More »

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From and written by Animal World

October 5, 2013 by 

Tenting a Staghorn Coral Acropora cervicornis All Photos included here courtesy Richard Ross California Academy of Sciences

The Octo Mom pales in comparison to the Florida Keys Coral Spawn

An event that happens just once a year yet results in hundreds of thousands of babies. Imagine have just one such happening to produce all the offspring you could ever want! That’s the annual spawning of Elkhorn, Staghorn and other corals off the Florida Keys.

For just a short period of time each year, by a phase of the moon, thirty thousand coral colonies or more are synced-up and driven to reproduce. This happens in August or September, usually just a few days after a full moon.

Now that type of baby making is enough to stir the envy of any mom, Octo or otherwise! Granted, there’s not the same type of physical interaction mammals have, making babies in the animal world. There’s no dating or marriage, nor ongoing obligations. More »

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From Reefs.com

BBC_9960-L
There has been a strange sense of romance across reef dwelling animals of late, with reports of very large spawning events we do believe, love is in the air.  It seems a few people have taken on some interesting breeding projects, including this one by Rich Ross, the Dr. Seuss Soapfish Belonoperca pylei.  Rich reports that the fish are sleeping together and fingers are still crossed for no bad behavior between them.  Stay tuned for further updates and see our next post on the frisky lightning maroon clownfish.

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From Aquatic Envy

Richard Ross recently spoke at the Nebraska Aquatic Supply Anniversary Celebration about using skepticism, among other tools, to save not only money, but also the lives of animals in the process. We decided to share the video of him speaking, which you can watch at the end of this article. The first thing he recommends is to be increasingly skeptical about things you read and advice from people who deem themselves as gurus. Richard makes a lot of very good points and even cites specific examples. A surprise cameo from Sanjay Yoshi midway through the presentation makes it all the more interesting.

Richard Ross is well known as being a biologist for the Steinhart Aquarium in California. He has also recently come into the spotlight in regarding comments he made in public forum regarding fish collection. One particular activist group that goes by the name of Sea Shepard openly criticized him in a news release for their “Operation Reef Defense”.(Read our article here)

I assure you Richard is not at all the monster he is portrayed to be by the activist groups. I see a man who is plugged in and simply demands proof for the statements being made. This presentation is lined with the message of demanding evidence and thinking critically about the information being presented to you.

A big thanks to both Richard Ross and Nebraska Aquatic Supply for providing this opportunity to the local reef community.

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From Reef Threads

The Coral Restoration Foundation is doing important and amazing work in the Caribbean and doing so with strong support from the marine-aquarium hobby. This week we welcome Foundation president Ken Nedimyer and returning guest Richard Ross of the Steinhart Aquarium to talk about the Foundation’s work and a recent dive trip during a coral spawn. It’s an exciting and interesting podcast and the Coral Restoration Foundation is something all hobbyists should support with money or by traveling to Florida to help do the work. Download the podcast here, or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter at reefthreads.—Gary and Christine

Day-old developing elkhorn coral larvae are beginning to divide and develop into the "cornflake" stage. Later, they will become round again and begin to swim in search of a place to permanently settle.

Day-old developing elkhorn coral larvae are beginning to divide and develop into the “cornflake” stage. Later, they will become round again and begin to swim in search of a place to permanently settle.

Visit this site to see a more photos from the recent spawn dive

Coral Restoration Foundation - The Coral Restoration Foundation website

A local version of the podcast:

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From Key West Citizen, Photos by RIchard Ross

 

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Bob Redell takes a look at a rare breed of octopus on display right now in San Francisco.

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From Examiner.com

Richard Ross of the California Academy of Sciences is responsible for the well being of fish in the academy's coral reef exhibit
Richard Ross of the California Academy of Sciences is responsible for the well being of fish in the academy’s coral reef exhibit
Few biologists would put a live octopus on their heads, but Richard Ross isn’t just any biologist.

Working with a group of fishermen who were worried that the Octopus would bite, Ross decided to ally their fears with a demonstration.

“I dropped the octopus on my head to show that they didn’t bite and luckily it didn’t bite me,” he said. Ross, who serves on the staff of the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, is involved with another eight legged creature now but he doesn’t wear it on his head. More »

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from Reefbuilders.com

945534_10200182547710349_1217138170_n (1)

Shortly after posting the Belonoperca pylei on video in Japan, we were able to chat with our friend Rich Ross who is also a marine biologist at the California Academy of Sciences. It seems that he is the proud owner of a Belonoperca pylei, also known as the Dr. Seuss Soapfish. So yes you doubters, it is now on Reef Builders so you know its legitimate.

As one of those rare fish you don’t often have the opportunity to see in captivity, when the opportunity comes along to get a B. pylei and you have the means to care for it, you jump on the opportunity. According to Ross, the fish is eating like a pig and in its own display tank in his “Secret Laboratory”. We’d tell you where this is, but we are afraid trained and deadly assassins will be unleashed upon us.

All we know is the fish originated from the Marshall Islands along with a pair of Johnson’s wrasse (Cirrhilabrus johnsoni) and a Rhomboid wrasse (Cirrhilabrus rhomboidalis). We’re wondering if Mr. Ross can feel our jealousy all the way in his secret lair.

We are hoping to get over to see these creatures in person and hopefully secure some video as well

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Published on May 9, 2013

Rich Ross discusses his work at the Academy with cephalopods– octopus, squid and cuttlefish.
Rich discusses his ‘home-lab” and his exploration with the little-known Larger Pacific Striped Octopus – now in our Animal Attraction exhibit. Check out this video for a close up lookhttp://youtu.be/_6cSBzHl3a4.

 

https://vimeo.com/66640700

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Link to Part 1
From mrsaltwatertank.com

Making a 213,000 gallon reef tank look great requires a lot of t.l.c., but also a lot of equipment. In part 2 of my Steinhart Aquarium tour, Richard Ross shows me the equipment needed to make the Philippine reef tank at the California Academy of Sciences look great. And there’s of course lots more shots of the tank. – by Mark Callahan

https://vimeo.com/61349647

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From LiveScience.com • From Discovery.com • From HuffPost • From Fox News • From The Weather Channel • From Wikipedia • From NBC news

Rare Kissing Octopus Unveiled For the First Time

Tia Ghose, LiveScience
Date: 06 March 2013 Time: 10:18 AM ET
octopus-mating
Unlike other octopus species, Larger Pacific Striped Octopuses mate in an intimate clinch with their beaks and suckers pressed against each other
CREDIT: Richard Ross
And unlike other octopuses, where females have a nasty habit of eating their partners during sex, Larger Pacific Striped Octopuses mate by pressing their beaks and suckers against each other in an intimate embrace.The beautiful creature can also morph from dark red to black-and-white stripes and spots and can shape-shift from flat to expanded.The sea dweller will be on display starting today (Mar. 6) at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.”I’m thrilled that Academy visitors will have the opportunity to view this fascinating animal up close in the aquarium, where they’ll see just why its beauty, unique mating technique and social habits are intriguing the cephalopod community,” said Richard Ross, a biologist at the California Academy of Sciences, in a statement. More »
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From SF Chronicle • Reef Builders • Advanced Aquarist •  Sci- News • Giant Cuttlefish • Popular Science • Grist.com • Scientific American • Sci- News

scinews

 

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penn

enhanced-buzz-23689-1360016685-4

On Feb 18, 2013, I was on Penn’s Sunday School talking to Penn Jillette, Michael Goudeau an the gang about the my work with Larger Pacific Striped Octopus, flying squid, giant squid, TONMO.com, and why the picture of me wearing a martial arts uniform while holding my daughter upside down is only number 22 on the list of 27 events that can ruin your childhood.

For the full episode https://soundcloud.com/ribbit-starr/blow-it-out-your-squid-funnel or subscribe to the podcast on itunes - http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/penns-sunday-school/id504257078 . Click here for just my part of the show.

 

 

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From Reef Threads

The podcast is available in the above links or locally by clicking here

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Link to Part 2

From mrsaltwatertank.com

Tank dabbler, reef enthusiast or reef junkie…they all love the same thing: really big saltwater aquariums.  I’m a die-hard reef junkie and I’ve seen some big reef tanks in my live, but nothing compares to the Philippine reef tank at the California Academy of Sciences.  And who better to give me a tour, but Richard Ross, a.k.a “Mr. Cuttlefish” himself. – by Mark Callahan

http://vimeo.com/59303628

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pennOn Jan 20, 2013, I was on Penn’s Sunday School talking to Penn Jillette, Michael Goudeau an the gang about the upcoming Discovery Channel Giant Squid footage and apparently agreeing to do something kind of dumb but possibly oddly cool.

For the full episode https://soundcloud.com/ribbit-starr/who-is-more-libertarian-glenn or subscribe to the podcast on itunes - http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/penns-sunday-school/id504257078 . Click here for just the part of the show Rich was on.

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On August 20, 2012, Rich Ross was on Penn’s Sunday School talking to Penn Jillette, Michael Goudeau and Gilbert Gottfried about squid sex and coral sexual reproduction. Super fun.

Click here for just the part of the show Rich was on.  For the full episode http://soundcloud.com/ribbit-starr/penn-12-08-19-ss-squid-sperm or subscribe to the podcast on itunes - http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/penns-sunday-school/id504257078

PS – Regarding the split spawn and the close full moons, according to the Pittsburg Zoo, “ It is believed that this year there will be a split-spawn.  This means that the coral spawning will be potentially divided into two spawns due to the fact that there are two full moons in August because of a blue moon.  The blue moon is an extra full moon that occurs every few years due to the additional 11 days in the annual lunar cycle.”
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http://www.reefs.com/blog/2012/02/20/richard-ross-speaking-at-the-2012-marine-breeders-workshop/

From Reefs.com by Tal Sweet

Marine biologist, Richard Ross, was the first speaker to be announced for the 2012 Marine Breeder’s Workshop that will be held on July 28th at the Cranbrook Institute of Science in Bloomfield Hills, MI.

Richard Ross currently works as an Aquatic Biologist at the Steinhart Aquarium in the California Academy of Sciences, maintaining many exhibits including the 212,000 gallon Philippine Coral Reef. He has kept saltwater animals for over 25 years, and has worked in aquarium maintenance, retail, wholesale and has consulted for a coral farm/fish collecting station in the South Pacific. Richard enjoys all aspects of the aquarium hobby and is a regular author for trade publications, a frequent speaker at aquarium conferences and was a founder of one of the largest and most progressive reef clubs in Northern California, Bay Area Reefers.

His talk will cover the nuts and bolts of established and cutting edge Cephalopod breeding and rearing techniques, as well as discuss the successful spawning and larval rearing attempts of other marine animals at the Steinhart Aquarium. Stay tuned for more speakers and ticket details.

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From Reefs.com by Matt Pedersen

For those of you who want another aquarium podcast, don’t miss out on the monthly MASNA Live podcast that’s put together by At-Large Director Kevin Erickson.  This month’s release talks about my local club (with our surprise guest Marc Levenson), and the MASNA Speaks program that brought him to Duluth, MN.  The podcast continues with extensive coverage on Dr. Gail’s “Tang Release” and Hawaii’s ongoing debate over whether we’ll see a change to access to wild caught fish from Hawaii’s reefs.  This discussion includes a large panel discussion from many diverse viewpoints within the aquarium hobby and industry, including Dr. Andy Rhyne, Eric Cohen, Rich Ross, Tal Sweet, Jim Adelberg, Brandon Klaus and myself.  Kevin then kicks in with more from Ret Talbot.  It’s a shame that Hawaii is taking so much of our attention, but at the moment it seems that Hawaii is going to represent the most important “battle” of the marine aquarium industry and hobby this year.  You owe it to yourself to be educated and involved. Go get the latest podcast (as well as earlier releases) at http://www.masna.org/PublicArea/MASNALive.aspx

https://vimeo.com/37528731
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From various

Children watch as aquarium biologist Rich Ross, dressed as Scuba Santa Claus, swims away after hand feeding fish mysis shrimp and fish food at the 212,000 gallon Philippine coral reef at the California Academy of Sciences’ Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco.

 

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From Reefbuilders

By Matt Pedersen

It’s a rare event when something discovered by a recreational diver winds up validated in the scentific community.  But that’s precisely what’s happened with a story that first caught attention in July, 2011.  Godehard Kopp, a recreational diver, recorded a video in Lembeh Strait of a Mimic Octopus being followed around by an unidentified fish.  Had Kopp not thought to post this video online, the story may have ended there.  But he did note there was something worthwhile, and uploaded it.  Still, it may have gone no further where it not for aquarist Peter Schmiedel noticing it and bringing it to the attention of his fellow hobbyists, including cephalopod junkie Richard Ross.

The video then made its way around the scientific community, and ironically, while the behavior of a small fish following an octopus around was certainly unusual, it’s fair to say that simply finding an identification for this fish may have actually caused more interest.  The power of collective knowledge and open collaboration,working to solve a problem, quickly paid off, with the fish being indentified as a Jawfish, possibly down to the species level as Stalix histrio as documented by Rich over onPackedHead.  And once again, the story may have ended with a unique fish and a novel behavior that briefly caught the attention of the aquarium hobby world.  But it didn’t.

Dr. Luiz Rocha, who was exposed to this story first by Mr. Ross and Mr. Schmiedel, thinks this jawfish may in fact be a new species, and once again has elevated the story to the next level.  An article titled “Opportunistic Mimicry by a Jawfish” was published in the journal Coral Reefs on December 10th, 2011, in collaboration wtih Ross and Kopp.  While currently labeling the jawfish as Stalix cf. histrio, it leaves the door open for yet more research and more discovery.  The publication is one of the very rare examples in which the academic and scientific community grabs onto and recognizes the discovery of divers and aquarists.

It’s impressive that Coral Reef saw the value of sharing a story that had already made its way through the public literature – it’s my personal understanding that often times, any prior disclosures of information can outright preclude publication in a scientific journal.  We applaud the recognition and sharing of credit, and hope this serves as an example for future collaboration between the professional and amateur communities.  We also applaud the fact that a full text preview of the article as well as a PDF version is available online!

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From Reefs.com

by Chris Maupin

I have known Rich Ross for a long time, let me start by clearing the air with that disclaimer.  You also may read this post and feel like it is a bunch of ass-kissing.  If that was your conclusion, then apply for a MacArthur Grant, because that’s exactly what it is. Rich is a philosopher who should have been a scientist.

I say that not to belittle his life choices, but to compliment him on the fact that he is independently one of the best and most creative skeptical and scientific minds I have met.  He will openly tell you that he killed something or did something wrong, and, more importantly, tell you why it happened, and therefore how you can avoid having the same problem.  How scientific, right?  Not to mention, uh, productive and helpful.  This mindset and attitude has taken him from philosophy major to peer reviewed, published scientist, WITHOUT re-attending undergraduate with a science major, or attending graduate school.  How many can claim that?

Despite this introduction, the focus of this post is actually Rich’s home tank.  Every year I make a trek to the Bay Area for the largest annual scientific conference in the world, and every year the hospitality of Rich and his family is a highlight of my trip, allowing me to see the progression of an amazing example of home reefkeeping.  Rich managed to go from a respectable stay at home dad to rogue professional aquarist, responsible for hundreds of thousands of gallons worth of living coral habitat on display in the largest closed system living reef aquarium in the world.  Somehow, he still has not lost the passion for his tank at home.  Unfortunately for the eyeballs of reefkeeping community, he is WAY too humble about it.  So I’m calling him out.

The tank Rich set up and maintains is what folks these days would call a “fruit stand”.  In fact, it goes beyond that. It pretty much could be the reefkeeping definition of a stand of fruit.  I’ve come to understand there is a negative connotation in the community to the use of such a term, but I am at a complete loss to understand why.  Perhaps it’s a lack of patience in allowing such systems to mature?

Rich’s tank is coral after coral, anemone, clam, etc. set in a highly custom, faux built-in system.  The display is a tightly focused 150 gallons, with an additional 250 gallons to provide stability and dilution.  The set up is designed to be redundant without being overly technical.  The lights, heaters, water motion and returns from the sump are distributed across different electrical circuits.  The Vortech has a battery back up, a modified Maxi-Jet is on a UPS and there are multiple battery-operated Penn Plax air pumps.  There is a calcium reactor driven by a peristaltic pump and a fail-safe automated top off through a kalkwasser reactor.  Lighting consists of 4 x 250watt metal halides bulbs (2 x 14k and 2 x 20 k, with all of them being on at the same time for about 3 hours a day), blue LED supplementation with all lights controlled by different timers.  Rich is adamant about this.  A true skeptic at heart, he avoids a single point of failure, such as a controller.

Water motion is a fundamental pillar in Rich’s philosophy of the fruit stand.  There are two Vortech MP40’s, a 10 port Loc-Line manifold driven by a Sequence 5800, again, on its own timer, a modified Maxi-Jet, a Hagen 801 which pumps water out of an overflow back into a tank, also on its own timer (are you sensing a theme yet?).  There is a Poseidon Titanium pump that drives two eductors, both of which reside in the back bottom corners to keep any detritus from settling, and finally, an Ampmaster 3k serves as the sump return.

It’s a mature tank as well, despite a major crash only two years ago (http://www.reefsmagazine.com/forum/reefs-magazine/66910-epic-fail-anatomy-disaster.html), which gets to the crux of my awe for it.  Nothing looks muddled with.  Corals have been allowed to grow into each other, undergo warfare, and grow over each other.  There is depth.  Instead of everything being at the forefront where it is easily accessible to the viewer, every available square inch is utilized.  You have to crane your neck, peer around corners and squint.  You can stare at the tank for hours and still not see everything.  The closest thing I can liken it to is diving on a real reef.  Photos do it hardly any justice because of its depth and complexity.  You could see it today and never know that it had undergone multiple, accidental disasters.

To conclude, when it comes to reef aquariums, ultimately, I haven’t experienced anything close to the “holy expletive” factor of working on reefs of every variety in the Solomon Islands or Vanuatu, especially not with the recently hyped low-ecology systems, but to each their own.  That being said, I also haven’t seen anything near the “holy expletive” factor of Rich’s matured “fruit stand”.  Why?  Well because it’s the closest thing I’ve seen to the real deal.  Period.  And I say this as a reef scientist who REALLY likes looking at real reefs, and not as a modern art aesthetist.  I encourage more reef aquarists to exercise the patience it takes to get there.  Do it.  And f you make a terrible mistake, learn from it, tell people about it, and do it again.

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Hybrid Ornate Ghost Pipefish (Solenostomus paradoxus) and the Robust Ghostpipefish (Solenostomus cyanopterus) larvae at day 1

From Advanced Aquarist

On 2011 Philippine Biodiversity Expedition, biologists from the Steinhart Aquarium in the California Academy of Sciences collected two species of Ghost pipefish, the Ornate Ghost Pipefish (Solenostomus paradoxus) and the Robust Ghostpipefish (Solenostomus cyanopterus). In June 2011 we reportedon the spawning and rearing attempts of the Ornate Ghostpipefish and were proud to get the larvae to day 7, after which we unfortunately lost the female due to the end of these fishes short lifespan. However, we did have a female Robust Ghost pipefish and decided to display her in the same tank as the male Ornate Ghost Pipefish, and though we thought spawning between the two was possible we were surprised that courtship began on the very first day of co-habitation. It is unknown if these fish hybridize in the wild, and we are excited to present video of the first documentation of the hybridization.

We watched excitedly as the eggs that were held in the females fins began to develop eyes, and were even more excited to hatch the eggs and get the hybrid larvae to day 22 using different methodology than was used on the Ornate Ghostpipefish larvae.   Currently, the female Robust is carrying more eggs fertilized by the male Ornate Ghost Pipefish, and Steinhart Staff is looking forward to another oppurtunity to raise another batch of hybrid larvae.

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From Reef Threads

In this week’s podcast we welcome special guests Rich Ross and Matt Wandell of the Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco. Listen to this special podcast to learn about this excellent aquarium and the roles Matt and Rich play in caring for and displaying a vast array of unusual marine life. If you are able to travel to San Francisco in the future, be sure to put the aquarium at the top of your list of places to visit. Download the podcast here, or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter at reefthreads. If you like the podcast, please tell others.—Gary and Christine

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From Advanced Aquarist blog and TONMO

Last week Godehard Kopp posted the video above of a Mimic Octopus, Thaumoctopus mimicus, and an un identifiable fish swimming amongst its arms at the divesite Jahir in the famous muck diving area of Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi Indonesia (the video of the octopus and fish starts at about. :44). Kopp followed the one octopus and fish for 15 minutes filming what appeared to be a previously unknown fish/octopus comensal relationship – a relationship in which one organism derives a benefit while the other is unaffected. Flurries of emails lit up the interwebs as fish and cephalopod and fish enthusiasts tried to determine what was actually going on in the video. Is this a commensal relationship or is something else going on?

The colors of the fish were so matched to the arms of the octopus, that it could easily be thought that this fish must have a previously un-described commensal relationship with the octopus. On the other hand, there are small fishes that swim around foraging octopus arms in search of an easy meal, so it could be that this was simply taking advantage of a possible easy meal as the octopus made its way across the muck. On the third hand, these octopus have been photographed and filmed so much in this area of the world that it might be hard to believe that this behavior had never been seen before. Perhaps the fish happened to be in the wrong place and got scared as the Kopp moved to film in, and was trying to hide in the frist thing it found – the octopus.

Initially, the fish was thought to be some kind of Blenny, but quickly the tide turned and it was thought to be some kind of Jawfish. Soon a more positive ID was soon made: Black Marble Jawfish, Stalix histrio (or another fish in the Stalix genus) shown below from Indonesian Reef Fishes by Kuiter, R.H. & T. Tonozuka. (2001). Since both the fish and the octopus live in, and are trying to blend in with, the same muck background, it makes some kind of sense that the two should share the same kinds markings and color patterns. Of course, there could still be some relationship between the fish and the octopus, more study is needed, but even if this isn’t commensal, it seems to be a brand new behavior for the fish (and possibly a new fish species!)

It was great to watch science in action in regards to this video. Observation, hypothesis, evidence, discussion, new hypothesis changing minds – science rules!

Indonesian Reef Fishes by Kuiter, R.H. & T. Tonozuka. (2001).

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Nerd Nite SF #14: Ancient Rome, Cephalopod Sex, and Bed Bugs

Wednesday, 7/20
Doors at 7:30, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @ Van Ness
$8
All ages

Facebook event 

Here in San Francisco, July is NOT the month for chasing ice cream trucks, running around in sprinklers, and wearing cut-offs and tank tops. No, it is the month of advection fog. And we like it that way! But don’t let the fog roll into your brain; come check out three talks that are guaranteed to get you hot, a little bothered, and a lot smarter! A history buff recounts all the good stuff your teacher left out of the ancient Rome lesson, an aquatic biologist talks “ceph sex,” and a pest-control pundit explains how not to let the bed bugs bite. Be there and be square at your friendly, neighborhood nerdy-lecture-series-in-a-bar!

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“Hail Caesar!: The DOs and DON’Ts of Roman Dictatorship” by Caleb Bushner

Take a tour of the history, customs, and culture of the ancient Romans: who they were, what they accomplished, and how they shaped our modern world. And, of course, their murderous and dysfunctional political system that somehow endured for several centuries. There WILL be an assassination drinking game!

Caleb is an amateur Roman history buff and a professional nerd. He’s spent the past two years studying Rome, geeking out on primary source material and peer-reviewed scholarship, and wants to share the exciting stuff, while sparing you the trouble of all those paper cuts from old books.

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“Boneless Sex: How Cephalopods Make Sweet, Sweet Love” by Richard Ross

Octopus, cuttlefish, nautilus, and squid are not just smart, not just masters of camouflage, but also masters of reproduction! This talk, which amounts to ceph porn, is packed with dirty pictures and dirty video of your favorite 8-armed animals in various stages of dirty relations, from the deed itself to “birth.”

Richard works as an aquatic biologist at the Steinhart Aquarium in the California Academy of Sciences, maintaining many exhibits – including the 212,000-gallon Philippine Coral Reef – and caring for many cephalopods. An avid underwater videographer who has scuba dived all over the world, he enjoys spending time with his patient wife, his incredible daughter, and their menagerie of animals, both wet and dry.

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“Do You Know Who You’re Going to Bed With? Protecting Yourself From Bed Bugs in the Modern Era” by Brittany Clark

It’s the dead of night. You’re curled up snug in your bed, sound asleep. But wait! Dramatic music swells and an ominous figure appears at your bedside. The audience screams, but you slumber on, blissfully unaware as this creature leans in to consume your blood. Even in the recesses of sleep, you feel something. You stir and waken. The beast quickly retreats, but you don’t have to see it to know the horror that has come to you. You have just been bitten…by a bed bug! Despite the fact that we have lived with bed bugs since the first caveman threw down some animal hides and curled up for a nap, most of us have only ever heard of them in nursery rhymes and media horror stories. What are the real dangers of bed bugs and how can we protect ourselves?

Brittany is a licensed field representative and bed bug specialist for Pestec Integrated Pest Management company in San Francisco. She has a B.S. in psychobiology from the University of New England. She’s a Leo who likes long walks on the beach, dogs, and protecting her bed from parasites.

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Plus: DJ Alpha Bravo wielding slabs of vinyl and tweeting all about it. Alpha Bravo is VP of left-field pop label, Radio Khartoum, and was one of the forces behind legendary SF pop-club nights, Anisette and Schokolade.

And a new fake magazine unveiled!

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From Reebfuilders

 

Cuttles cuttles cuttles. You probobly know the drill, but there is some great footage in this KQED Quest piece.

 

 

 

 

 

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By Ryan Gripp
From Reefbuilders

The California Academy of Sciences which Reef Builders’ own Richard Ross works for has been getting busy in the maternity ward. A local TV station (ABC7) interviewed the different programs that have had success, those of Asian horned frogs and cuttlefish (cuttlefish starts at around 1:48). In regards to the cuttlefish breeding project Rich said “Oh, they are just the coolest animals in the world, aren’t they? They are like little humming birds in the sea who look at you.” Yes Rich, we agree.  It is interesting to point out that the work Rich is doing is the only cuttlefish breeding program in the United States, “about 350 cuttlefish have hatched so far. Both this and the frog breeding program have been so successful and the academy is now shipping babies to other aquariums and researchers around the country.” Way to go Rich!

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From Mercury News

mercnews

By Laurie Bouck

Aquatic biologist Richard Ross spent years learning to breed unusual sea creatures called dwarf cuttlefish for fun in his Alameda home. Now Bay Area — and the rest of the country — is benefiting from his expertise.

The 2- to 4-inch dwarf cuttlefish, native to the Philippines and the Indo-Pacific region, are biologically related to octopuses, squid, and even snails. Dwarf cuttlefish are “masters of camouflage,” said Ross. “They can change the color and texture of their skin at will,” even creating moving patterns on their skin. They are also excellent hunters, with eight arms, two feeding tentacles, a beak to eat and “a tongue like a cheese grater” that helps them break up food, Ross said. More »

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ScienceDaily (Nov. 12, 2009) — Anchored to an algae-covered rock in a 120-gallon tank at the California Academy of Sciences’ Steinhart Aquarium, a cluster of inky-colored cuttlefish eggs is beginning to swell — evidence of success for the Academy’s new captive breeding program for dwarf cuttlefish, Sepia bandensis. The program, pioneered by Academy biologist Richard Ross, is the first of its kind in a U.S. aquarium, and offers the Academy and other institutions the opportunity to study and display a species that is both captivating and — at 2-4 inches in length — less resource-intensive to keep than its larger relatives.

“By establishing a stable breeding population,” Ross explains, “our hope is to make it easier for aquariums to showcase cuttlefish and their remarkable characteristics without impacting wild populations.”

They may look like a cluster of purple grapes, but these inky balls are actually eggs from a dwarf cuttlefish, Sepia bandensis. As the eggs continue to develop, they become translucent, at which point the babies can be seen swimming inside their egg casings. To date, more than 350 dwarf cuttlefish have hatched at the California Academy of Sciences, most of which have been sent to other aquariums and research institutions. The academy is the first institution in the country to successfully breed these animals. (Credit: Richard Ross, California Academy of Sciences)

While called “cuttlefish,” these animals are actually not fish at all — they are members of the class Cephalopoda, which also includes octopus, squid, and the chambered nautilus. Perhaps best known for their highly developed brains, nervous systems, and eyes, cephalopods are a fascinating group of animals to both researchers and aquarium visitors. For scientists, cephalopods’ advanced capabilities pose a host of unanswered questions about the nature of intelligence in invertebrates and vertebrates. For everyday observers, the dwarf cuttlefish is a captivating ambassador to its Cephalopoda class, and its native Indo-Pacific region. Able to rapidly change its skin color, Sepia bandensis frequently flashes moving patterns across its skin, and can quickly blend into its surroundings — phenomena that can be seen regularly in the Steinhart Aquarium display. Beneath that ever-changing skin, the dwarf cuttlefish’s physiology is equally remarkable, with three hearts, and an esophagus that passes through its brain.

Behind the scenes at the Academy, hundreds of tiny hatchlings — exact replicas of their adult counterparts — are being hand-fed at least twice a day. In developing the breeding program, one of the most significant challenges Ross faced was identifying a successful feeding strategy for young hatchlings in the absence of existing literature. The key, he has discovered, is that young cuttlefish require live meals beginning with mysis shrimp, and increasing in size with age. Hunting with a pair of feeding tentacles, dwarf cuttlefish can devour prey the length of their own bodies.

As the eggs on display at the Academy continue to expand, they transition from an inky purple to translucent, at which point the babies can be seen swimming inside their egg casings. To date, more than 350 dwarf cuttlefish have hatched at the Academy, most of which have been sent to other aquariums and research institutions. Since North American waters do not house any native cuttlefish, only a handful of species are currently seen in zoos and aquariums in the United States. Now that these small animals are available from a sustainable captive source, Academy biologists hope that other zoos and aquariums will take advantage of the opportunity to share these intriguing animals with their visitors as well. This new captive breeding program joins several others that the Academy participates in, including those for African penguins, and golden mantella frogs, all of which are aimed at protecting populations in the wild.

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Richard Ross is a longtime hobbyist, author and authority on the captive care and breeding of cephalopods. He is a moderator on Reefs.org, former president of the Bay Area Reefers club and an aquarist at the California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco. Recently, Reefs Magazine editors Randy Donowitz and Dominick Cirigliano had the opportunity to sit down with Rich to chat about a remarkable range of things aquatic and otherwise.

If you’d like to listen to the unedited version of this rollicking conversation (we recommend it ) we have made it available in convenient MP3 format by simply clicking on the provided link.

http://www.manhattanreefs.com/forum/clientscript/audio/player.swf

Reefs Magazine would like to thank Rob Bray from House of Fins for use of his office and Dr. Beth Harris for her technical assistance with the audio post production.

RM: How did you get into the hobby?

RR: I got into the hobby because as a kid in Chicago, my dad had tanks. He had in our basement–I think it was two 50 gallon or two 60 gallon. They were huge for the time, like in the ‘70s I guess. One was African Cichlids and one was goldfish.

RM: So did you used to help him with them or did you ignore him?

RR: I think I used to ignore him and think I was all hip with the fish. And then when I was a little older we moved – we lived in South Africa for three years. We just had goldfish then, probably about thirty gallons. Then we moved back to the states. When I was around twelve, thirteen, fourteen, I guess, I started keeping my own tanks. And that very quickly turned into 20-25 tanks in the bedroom–brackish water at that point. At that time saltwater was impossible, it was hard, it was terrible! I was also doing reptiles at this time. In ’82, I started working at a fish store and learned more about saltwater at the time.

RM: This was in Chicago?

RR: This was in LA. and it was, you know, when bio-balls first appeared. It was when a tank covered in hair algae seemed totally cool ‘cause everything was alive.

RM: I remember the stories that Terry Seigel tells about the first reef tanks when they first got live rock, and aiptasia started growing and they were like WOOSH!

RR: Something alive! {laughs} And you know, we’d make these spray bars plumbed right from the bottom of the tank. No overflow tube, it was just like the bottom of the tank plumbed. Protein skimmers made with a piece of PVC with an airstone shoved down in it and it would just drain into the chamber. And they did work. They produced … goo. … which is the goal I guess. Typically for me, once we really started understanding things, I kind of got out of it. I went to college.

RM: Where did you go to college?

RR: UC Davis.

RM: UC Davis. I bet you rode a bike?

RR: I did, I rode a bike. And a skateboard. Mostly skateboards because parking a bike at Davis could be a real hassle. I was actually transshipping reptiles through my dorm room. Bad idea. There was a store that couldn’t get anything in Davis, so I used the people I knew in LA to transship stuff. I was bringing, like, mangrove snakes – they’re rear fanged – through so I’d have like 30 reptiles in the dorm. What was I doing? I was probably a real jackass.

RM: I bet this was very popular with the ladies.

RR: Totally. They love an escaped snake. Then I came home after college and got back into it [the saltwater hobby] about five or six years after that. I had moved to San Francisco and lived there probably about four years until it occurred to me, I should do a tank. I’d been thinking about it for a long time. Then I found out that everything had changed and spent a furious year unlearning bad things. I didn’t even know about, you know, high intensity lamps at that point. Still fluorescents and PCs.

RM: So then it seems you started on the usual trajectory of contemporary reef tank setups.

RR: Yes! Mushrooms and soft corals, and just right to hard corals as soon as I understood about lighting. I think that my wife got me Charles’ book, the first one. [The Reef Aquarium Vol. 1] And it was like, oooh, and I remember going through it and I went, let’s treat this like a textbook and highlighted it. We had a little 50 gallon aqua-system, you know with the sump built in kinda thing in the back and it slowly took over an entire wall of the living room with auto top-offs being built and all jinkied together. Terrible, horrible, ugly, disgusting, sad, I couldn’t believe she let me do it. And then when we moved out I ended up officially marrying her because she’d let me do stuff. Well, you’ve seen the pictures of the cephalopod room.



RM: We’ll get to cephalopods in a minute. I want to go back… you lived as a kid in South Africa? How did that happen, and what was that like?

RR: My dad was offered a job there. And… took it. That was kind of interesting because we were actually there for the Soweto riots. We could see smoke from them because we lived in Johannesberg but we didn’t know the riots were going on because, you know, totally state run media and everything so we had no idea until we got a call from my grandma asking if we were okay. I was six – six through ten, something like that. That was pretty cool! Good experience, great reptile park.

RM: Did that feed into your desire to smuggle reptiles?

RR: Ahh, I can’t believe I did that. And I had a parrot at the same time, a blue front Amazon and I remember one of the mangrove snakes escaped and someone came and found me and said you gotta go to your room and the snake was trying to eat the bird and it was just … what the hell was I doing?

RM: What did you study in college?

RR: I ended up studying philosophy.

RM: Philosophy! I in fact was a philosophy major as well. Who was your favorite philosopher?

RR: Spinoza. Loved the Spinoza. He’s internally consistent. Wrong, well maybe wrong but how are we supposed to know? Davis has a real good philosophy program, but it’s very small so they let you do the graduate classes. So I was doing that with Spinoza. Totally out of my league. It was great.

RM: So what was the title of your major paper?

RR: Metaphorical Love. Spinoza and Metaphorical Love. And it turned out metaphorical was actually the wrong word. It was terrible.

There was another class, one of the big classes with this guy Julian, I forget his name but he was a big Set theorist. He believed that Sets were actual things. So, it was like a 300 person class about logical fusions and we spent two days on this and he finally says that a logical fusion is a bicycle, the same bicycle through time. If you replace all the parts over time is it the same bicycle or it now a different bicycle? He said now with the logical fusion of parts we just logically say it’s the one thing. And I was sitting next to a grad student and I went, “excuse me! Isn’t that kind of a trivial distinction?” And she went, “Oh boy.” And she leaned away from me. I never got anything higher than a C in his class again. He hated me. And then, rightfully so because I kinda called him a jackass. So I got out of symbolic logic pretty quickly. But I went into college to be a marine biologist and couldn’t deal with the way the science program was worked. There was no counselor to come and help and so it appeared to me that I would be doing two to three years of make work in the lab and I had no interest in doing that. And the philosophy people were like, we’re very cool and we hate the psychology students and come with us we’ll bag on them!

It was great. I make fun of it because, you know, what do you do with a philosophy degree? But it really taught me to think and to write. I think the first paper I ever turned in was one page and got turned back and it said, “23 spelling mistakes in 24 lines. You should fix this.” And I was like, oh, okay. There was no guilt, or you’re bad, it was just, you shouldn’t do this again. And you have a chance to fix it now.

RM: Have you given any thought as to how that sort of mind training might influence your approach to the hobby?

RR: There are two things. I look at it critically so I can follow A to B to C to D to F, to wherever it goes to in a progression that’s fast and makes sense. You can kind of scope something out and understand it easily, and it’s like – this makes sense, this doesn’t make sense. Also my approach to anecdotal evidence and things like that – people saying “I changed my light bulb and cured my ich” – is that post hoc or proper hoc? I wanted to be the practical philosopher and I think that’s in the hobby a lot ‘cause it allows me to Macguyver things. I hate to use the phase. But you can use superglue for everything. It’s not just for frags, it’s for a billion uses if you just … think about them. So, I think that’s pretty fun.

RM: Okay let’s just jump around a little. Your career prior to your current one, how did that come about, how did you get into that and really what was that all about?

RR: I learned how to juggle when I was a kid. And then by the time I was sixteen I kind of submerged myself in the juggling culture. I just fell into it. I was doing shows already when I was sixteen and then I went off to college … and was doing shows through college. And I finished college and was like I don’t need a job, I can juggle. I was doing street shows and clubs and whatever gigs I could. I was often performing and became part of a dual act called American Dream Comedy Team. One of those guys, Scottie Meltzer, his partner moved away and so he folded me right in and it was like insta career.

We changed our name to Monkey Wrench, and then it became Comedy Industries. I stepped into a full blown career. The juggling is an excuse to be on stage and make funny things happen. We were doing TV, we were opening for The Smothers Brothers, and all kinds of stuff. And we started doing more corporate stuff. We did some trade shows where we talked about their products in our show and it turned out we were good at that integration and then so we became corporate whores. And that’s what we mostly did. We’d be writing, we’d be performing a show, memorizing next week’s show, writing the script after that and doing the initial meetings to touch base with the next show after that.

 

RM: So it’s sort of marketing for the company by lampooning them in front of an audience?

RR: Yeah, well we’d ask for their white papers and take their messages and turn it into English and then fold it into comedy bits. Sometimes we’d write custom things, but we sort of had a set of things where we could plug their information in. And you know, the hardest part was getting the conversation with them, getting them all not to pee on the script. So that got hard after a while. And then we had a kid, and my wife and I were making about the same amount of money, but she had insurance and therefore I become the stay-at-home Dad.

RM: What does she do?

RR: She’s a financial planner. It’s been a good couple of weeks [laughter]

RM: So you gave up the other thing?

RR: I gave up the other thing. I didn’t mind, I didn’t miss the traveling. I did that for ten years, it was a lot of travel. I guess that’s probably when I really sank into the hobby a whole lot because I had a bunch of time at home.

RM: Is that when the obsession with cephalopods started?

RR: It started about a year after that.

RM: At what point did you take the leap into trying to breed cephalopods?

RR: As soon as I could. The first group I had I wanted to breed, I had three. That’s when I built all those dividers and transparent doors and dark doors and let them see each other so they wouldn’t kill each other. But I didn’t have any real success in breeding them until I was able to get to raise a group up together.

RM: So you were never able to successfully introduce two?

RR: Yeah, I got some matings, but you know when they’re adults and they come in and they’re all stressed and you’re trying to introduce them together and trying to figure out how to keep them at the same time and what size tank do they need and things like that …

RM: Did you start with octopus or cuttlefish?

RR: Cuttlefish. Traditionally, I’ve been more interested in cuttlefish although that seems to be changing now. I need a new species of cuttlefish. If I could get, six flamboyants, I’d be all excited.

RM: You have had some major breakthroughs in the octopus realm recently though.

RR: Yeah … that’s pretty cool. It started with one Wunderpus – Its scientific name is Wunderpus photogenicus - being able to keep it ten months and get it to burrow. And you know, and it’s interesting now, thinking about how philosophy relates ‘cause there was a lot of ethical stuff going on about the Wunderpus on the cephalopod site, TONMO. I was at a wholesaler when it came in and it was healthy and small and I had an empty tank. And it was just serendipity that I happened to have everything available.

RM: So once you revealed on TONMO this sort of serendipitous circumstance, was there support?

RR: There was a rash of shit and support. I got both. There’s a couple people on there who are very anti. Everything to be left in the ocean kind of stuff, and it’s not that simple. From some researchers I got some grief, but I was very stable and said, you know, I understand and I disagree on this and I’m going to do the best I can and there were some people who said, well, if anyone can do it, if anyone should do it, it should be you. Which was very gratifying. You know, which I immediately of course dismissed because I know who I am, I know that I’m just a fraud. But I think everyone knows they’re a fraud.

RM: But in your fraudulent way, you’ve actually made a major breakthrough, right?

RR: I think it’s worked out, I’m doing good.

RM: So talk about your new breakthrough.

RR: The new one is Octopus chierchiae, which is just a little octopus, about golf ball size, the size of a blue ring,. They were last studied in ’86, that was the only paper on them. They’re a large egg species and the main problem with them is just getting them. They’re just hard to get, they never show up. I know Roy Caldwell at Berkeley actually sent people to collect them and they got completely skunked, they came back with nothing. We were able to get a female and a male. I’ve been looking for them for three years. They’ve been kind of the grail of aquarium octopuses because they’re large egged and the female will lay multiple clutches and not die. And I think we’re on our third clutch of eggs on the one female. They’re small and they’re easy to keep. They’re a good pet. I mean, they’re not super active but they’re there and you can see ‘em.

RM: Are they the only species that lay multiple clutches of eggs and survive?

RR: There’s a bunch actually. There’s an actual word for it, but it’s escaping me right now. Um… not sure, mercatorus might do it too. I’d have to double check that. I might be making stuff up. The larger egg ones are going to be more likely to do it. So we had the first batch and I think the ones we have from the first batch are over 100 days old, which is great. We’ve discovered a bunch of stuff already, like the female will continue to eat through brooding which the paper from ’86 says that they won’t. And just doing it, and documenting it has been pretty cool. I’d like to get them to the hobby, sell them, people want them, but we’re not ready yet.

RM: What do they eat?

RR: They eat amphipods when they’re little. I collect amphipods, culture them. And shore shrimp, I just buy a bunch of bait shrimp and freeze it. They eat almost anything. They’re easy octopus. So, easy and small. So you could always just plumb a small tank into your system and then when it’s done you could un-plumb it. You know they only live a year or however long they live.

RM: Alright, I know your car service is on it’s way, maybe just quickly, how did you end up at the Steinhart where you are now?

RR: That’s a crazy story. My kid’s five now, so it gives me a little bit more freedom. I started sort of volunteering and that was going well and there’s always the idea that oh, well, maybe that’ll be a job, but, you know, they’re pretty clear up front that volunteering doesn’t lead to anything and I understand that.

And then a biologist actually retired and Matt Wandell said, “Hey do you have a degree? Because you should apply for this because it’s opening up,” and there was a whole lot of discussion about well I have a degree in uh… philosophy. But that’s something. And then there was a lot of wrestling about do I want a job even. For me, coming at it from the hobbyist side, this is like my pretend career. When they started the move they needed real help, so I became what is called an as-needed biologist. And so it was like, okay, just work your ass off. So I’ve been working with them and they know me and they like me and I guess I’m competent and I get along with everyone and they found a little pot of money. I was on vacation in the summer for three weeks which I was worried about because it was right in the middle of the move and I thought, oh, they’ll probably let me go because of this and then I get an email that says, hey, as soon as you come back can you go full time and probably permanent. So then we got home and it was insane – we had to put my daughter in private school to make it work.

RM: What did your wife think about that?

RR: We had a lot of discussions about it. When the idea first came around, she was really supportive of it. She said, “You’ve been at home for five years with a kid. You should be around people.” We were in like a co-op preschool and I just wanted to kill everyone. It was just a nightmare, I just hated it. The point of the co-op was to teach me how to not kill other parents. I think that’s what it was.

And now the job is great, everyone there is great and it’s just real exciting to be part of it.

RM: Well thanks so much Rich , that must be you car service beating on the door. We don’t want you to miss your plane. 

RR: Thank You it was fun.

[Editor’s note: Rich did make it to the airport on time only to be delayed at JFK for 6 hours. So it goes……]

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