The First Virtual Larval Fish Science Town Hall

The First Virtual Larval Fish Science Town Hall

via the 44th Larval Fish Conference & University of Connecticut

The 44th Larval Fish Conference was originally planned to be held in Mystic, CT, from June 21-26, 2020. But, as with so many gatherings, conventions, and conferences, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused organizers to cancel this year’s event. Though they rescheduled it for 2021, organizers weren’t content to just sit this year out. Instead, their solution to offer a one-day online conference could serve as an inspiration to aquarium clubs and event organizers.

The First Virtual Larval Fish Town Hall begins on June 23rd, 2020, with introductions at 9:45 AM EDT, and the virtual event ends at 8:00 PM EDT.

Dr. Paul Anderson, Scientific Steering Committee Member, Marine Ornamental Aquaculture

Dr. Paul Anderson, Scientific Steering Committee Member, Marine Ornamental Aquaculture

The event promises:

  • A fun mixture of science talk and online networking for our community to enjoy while we remain connected
  • Four science sessions of one hour and four talks each, spread over the day to accommodate speakers from all time zones
  • Virtual breakout rooms with many of the section’s “Greats of Larval Fish Science” for an hour of interaction, chat, and networking
  • Picture wall and photo contest!

While perhaps most casual marine aquarium hobbyists won’t find them of interest, breeders of marine fish might find value in a wide range of individual presentations.

Paul Anderson, PhD, CAPM,  highlighted several topics of interest to marine ornamental breeders, including:

  • Roi Holzman / The physics of being little: how are swimming and feeding different for larval fishes? 10:15 AM EDT
  • Taras Pleskun / Domestic production and application of concentrated algae pastes 11:15 AM EDT
  • Igal Berenshtein / Marine fish larvae consistently use external cues for orientation 11:30 AM EDT
  • Theresa Rueger / Natal philopatry increases relatedness within groups of coral reef cardinalfish 4:00 PM EDT
  • Amanda Hodo / Propagation on display: The Aquarium Conservation Laboratory at Mote Marine Lab and Aquarium 7:00 PM EDT
  • Peter Buston / Limited dispersal explains the spatial distribution of siblings in a reef fish population 7:15 PM EDT

Perhaps more importantly, with the ongoing pandemic-related cancellations and a generally uncertain future, this event could serve as a test-case or model for other similar events opting to “go virtual,” rather than simply cancel.

Registration is open through June 21st. The only requirement to attend is membership in the American Fisheries Society’s Early Life History Section (ELHS), which is $15 for non-members.

Learn more and register to participate at

If you attend, be sure to share your experiences in the comments after the event!

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