The MASNA Award is the pinnacle of recognition in the North American marine aquarium hobby, awarded annually during the Marine Aquarium Conference of North America (MACNA).

The MASNA Award is the pinnacle of recognition in the North American marine aquarium hobby. It is awarded annually during the Marine Aquarium Conference of North America (MACNA).

via Marine Aquarium Societies of North America (MASNA)

Orlando, FL – August 26, 2019. MASNA is proud to announce Dr. Craig Bingman as the 2019 MASNA Award recipient for his foundational role in understanding the chemical processes in aquariums, and Tom Bowling as the 2019 MASNA Aquarist of the Year for his recent achievements and progress in marine ornamental spawning and aquaculture development.

MASNA will be awarding its annual MASNA Aquarist of the Year and MASNA Award to the recipients at the MACNA 2019 Saturday Night Banquet on Saturday, August 31st, 2019 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel.

Annually, MASNA awards the prestigious MASNA Award and Aquarist of the Year Award to deserving individuals for their work in helping shape and influence the marine aquarium hobby in a way that positively contributes to the ongoing sustainability of the hobby to the future marine environment. Together with MASNA, previous recipients of the MASNA Award confer to decide who from a selection of nominees has given the most to the hobby and industry to deserve that year’s awards.

Dr. Craig Bingman, the 2019 MASNA Award Winner, will be speaking at MACNA 2019 at 11 AM in the Neptune Speaker Room at the WDW Dolphin Resort on Sunday, September 1st, 2019.

Award Recipient Biographies:

Tom Bowling – MASNA Aquarist of the Year, 2019

Tatiana, Tom, and Maya Bowling at Biota

Tatiana, Tom, and Maya Bowling at Biota

Tom Bowling is a marine biologist and founder of Biota Marine Life Nursery in Palau. With an understanding of localized fish population behaviors, Tom perfected the use of wild gamete collection techniques to produce and raise many new species, not only marine ornamentals, but also food fish and threatened species for reintroduction to the wild. These include the ever-popular Clown Triggerfish, Blueline Sea Bream found in public aquaria, and the Bumphead Parrotfish.

Captive-raised Mandarin Dragonets, various gobies, Aiptasia-eating Filefish, deep-water Borbonius Anthias, and Yellow Tangs are among the 20 currently marketed ornamental fish species. Over a dozen asexually propagated soft corals and half a dozen species of clams are being produced under Tom’s leadership. Tom has also worked to educate the public and interested parties in Palau and greater Micronesia on the current state of aquaculture, including an understanding of sustainable practices that can be incorporated into their local reefs. Working with research facilities and other partners, Tom is helping further the knowledge and success of ornamental marine aquaculture.

To learn more about the MASNA Aquarist of the Year, visit:

Dr. Craig Bingman – MASNA Award, 2019

Dr. Craig Bingman

Dr. Craig Bingman

In his own words: “From the primordial ooze of the nascent internet, people with interesting and quirky hobbies found each other and formed online communities. One of those problems was ‘how to keep corals alive in closed aquariums, isolated from the ocean.’ A really amazing group of people self-organized and worked on this problem in North America and across the globe. I was fortunate to have played a foundational role in understanding the chemical processes in aquariums.

“It is my enduring pleasure to have provided solutions to several important problems that are still used today. This is the tale of the reef hobby in North America in the 1990s, when corals stopped dying and we achieved long-term success with these animals in aquariums.

Who am I? I was that eight-year-old kid subjecting his first fish tank to way too much pH down and pH up, in his first real exposure to a chemical test. I was a member of that group of people who figured out reef aquarium chemistry. I was and am a biochemist who uses incredible X-ray sources at National Labs to make pictures of the molecules that make life possible. I also love freshwater planted aquariums, orchids, and carnivorous plants. Most importantly, I’m the father of a two-year-old. Watching his mind bootstrap and develop his own personality and interests is the greatest pleasure of my life. I’ve noticed he really likes clownfish.”

To learn more about the MASNA Award, visit:

About MASNA, Marine Aquarium Societies of North America

MASNA is a non-profit organization composed of marine aquarium clubs, individual hobbyists and industry partners from North American and abroad, totaling several thousand individuals.

MASNA’s goals are to:

  • Educate our members with online and published material, the MACNA conference, and other sanctioned events,
  • Assist in forming and promoting the growth of clubs within the hobby while ensuring a sustainable future for the marine environment,
  • Support the efforts to eliminate abuses in collecting and transporting marine organisms through education, assistance, and encouragement, and
  • Encourage the ethical growth of the marine aquarium hobby and support captive breeding/propagation efforts.

MASNA’s charter and additional information about MASNA can be found at

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