Presentation Title: Rock Flower Anemones (Phymanthus crucifer) and How to Aquaculture them at Home
Presentation Summary: This anemone has been a central pillar of Coral Morphologic’s body of work, both artistic, scientific, and commercial. Coral Morphologic shared the first film of spawning of this species in May 2012 and has continued to work to close the life cycle of this highly-ornamental anemone species. Since the decline of the Ricordea florida populations in Florida in 2014, ornamental marinelife collectors have now turned to P. crucifer as their primary source of income. Due to their inability to clone easily, and limited distribution across Florida reefs, this species is vulnerable to over-collection in the few locally abundant sites left to collect them commercially. Currently there are no daily collection/catch limits on P. crucifer, lending itself to legal over-exploitation. Demand is so high that in the summer of 2018 a commercial collector in the Florida Keys died after working underwater for hours collecting anemones on a hookah rig. Coral Morphologic believes that in order to reduce dependence on these limited wild populations as demand continues to increase, the sexual reproduction of these anemones in captivity is necessary to sustainably supply the aquarium hobby into the future. In the past 2 years we have successfully raised F1 anemones to a salable size in our Miami laboratory and documented every phase of the live cycle from sperm to birth. Through our research we’ve identified this species as dioecious, which lends itself well for the artificial selection of high-value, ornamental traits to produce highly-desirable ornamental traits, like other captive bred marinelife (clownfish, etc). The MACNA talk will feature high-definition videos of the spawning, brooding, and birthing process, as well as plenty of ‘eye candy’ of all our most colorful broodstock (likely the most diverse and colorful captive assemblages of this species on the planet).
Bio: Colin Foord is a marine biologist, coral aquaculturist, artist, and filmmaker educated at the University of Miami and James Cook University in Australia. He is co-founder of marine biological art duo Coral Morphologic, through which he operates the world’s first multi-media coral aquaculture studio located in the heart of Miami. It is Colin’s mission to bridge the gap between art and science by exploring corals in a relatable fashion, such that people of all ages can relate with the mystery and importance of conserving the world’s tropical reefs.
Beyond Miami, Colin has dived the reefs of Indonesia, Jamaica, Australia, Fiji, Cook Islands, Bahamas, Hawaii, Arabian Gulf, Colombia, and the Solomon Islands. His work has been featured by the BBC, Nat Geo Channel, The New Yorker, the Miami Herald, Vice Magazine, NPR, The New York Times, and CBS Morning News.