J. Charles Delbeek B.Sc. M.Sc. B.Ed. is currently Curator of the Steinhart Aquarium, California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, California which is currently celebrating its 95th anniversary. Prior to working at Steinhart, Charles spent 13 years working at the Waikiki Aquarium in Honolulu, Hawaii. Charles has been involved in several award winning exhibits and conservation programs such as the 2003 AZA MACE Award for Exhibit Excellence (South Pacific Marine Communities), the 2016 AZA Exhibit Award (The Twilight Zone: Deep Reefs Revealed) and the 2003 AZA Bean Award for Long-Term Coral Propagation program at the Waikiki Aquarium. Charles is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and serves on the Steering Committee for the Aquatic Invertebrate Taxon Advisory Group (AITAG).
Charles’ professional interests include the ecology and captive husbandry of marine and freshwater fishes, live corals, mangroves, seagrasses, freshwater aquatic plants and cephalopods. However, Charles began keeping tropical fish when he was 8 years old and started with marine aquariums when he was 12. He was one of the founding members of the Marine Aquarium Society of Toronto in 1986. While a member of MAST, Charles originated the concept of a conference devoted exclusively to marine aquaria and thus was one of the driving forces behind creating the very first MACNA conference in Toronto in 1988.
During his career Charles has lectured at over 90 aquarium-related conferences and meetings, and published over 130 articles and papers in the scientific and popular aquarium literature over the last 30 years. In addition to writing scientific papers, monthly reef aquarium columns and numerous online and print articles for various magazines and websites, he co-authored three popular aquarium books with Julian Sprung from 1994 to 2005; The Reef Aquarium series, which have long been considered by many to be the definitive English language works on the subject. In recognition of his long history of contributions to the marine aquarium hobby he was honored with the MASNA Award in 2008.
Topic: Herding Elephants: A 10 Year Retrospective of the World’s Largest Live Coral Exhibit