Eric stumbled into the world of aquaculture in 2003 by accident, when he volunteered to help a friend maintain the oyster hatchery at Oregon State University’s Molluscan Broodstock Program. He soon realized that he loved growing animals in water and decided to return to the east coast to pursue his academic endeavors in aquaculture. After a year working at the University of Florida’s Shellfish Research Program in Cedar Key, FL, he started work on a master’s degree in UF’s Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Program. During that project he was exposed to the issue of first feeding marine fish larvae and the problems encountered when examining certain ‘difficult to rear’ marine fish species.
In a nutshell, he began growing microalgae and copepods and gaining a greater understanding of marine recirculating systems. After graduating in 2009, he began a position at the University of Florida’s Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory. It was here that being exposed to many different projects allowed him to hone his skills in ornamental fish aquaculture. In his current position as assistant extension scientist, he provides assistance to Florida’s ornamental fish industry. This varied position acts as the bridge between academia and industry and entails a wide range of aspects dealing with both freshwater and marine ornamental fish production.