New Research: Aquariums have a crucial role to play in sustaining aquatic species vulnerable to climate change

The full potential of aquariums to aid and inform species conservation may run deeper than we know, according to study published this month in Journal for Nature Conservation.

In the study, researchers from Species360 Conservation Science Alliance, IUCN SSC, and the Zoological Society of London found that aquariums and zoos hold 21 percent of coral species that are Vulnerable to Climate Change (VCC)Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE), and assessed by the IUCN Red List (IUCN)

Aquarium populations offer an enormous representation of diversity that makes them uniquely equipped to help develop conservation strategies,” said Dr. Dalia Conde, Director of Science, Species360, and Associate Professor at the University of Southern Denmark.

Read more about the Conservation Science Alliance study, get the full Open Access published paper, or download the Open Data research.

The Florida Aquarium Raises Coral for Reef Rebuilding

Since 2014, fast-moving disease has killed vast populations of coral in the Florida Reef Tract, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protections, and consequences of the loss are economic as well as environmental. Marine activities linked to its coral reefs generate $2.36 billion in sales and income annually.

Aquariums are a big part of efforts to rebuild our reefs. Species360 members The Florida Aquarium and MOTE Marine Laboratory are among those leading discovery, breeding, and re-introduction programs central to recovery efforts.

We asked Roger Germann, CEO of The Florida Aquarium and a member of the Species360 board of trustees, to share perspectives on their current work.

“The fate of the Florida Reef Tract is thoroughly dependent on our ability to remove healthy coral, and genetic material from the wild and preserve it by serving as an ark, as well as increasing populations and genetic diversity through land-based breeding programs,” said Germann.

“We have been at the forefront of this effort and in early April will plant more than 3,000 new coral fragments raised from larvae into the Florida Reef Tract to contribute to this critical restoration initiative. Aquariums have seen the writing on the wall and are taking action now.”

The recent study in Journal for Nature Conservation demonstrates the potential power within aquarium holdings.

“We were able to identify that more than half of the coral species dying off the coast of Florida are in aquariums. These populations can provide critical knowledge and hope for re-introductions when the threats are controlled,” said research author Rita da Silva, fellow of Species360 Conservation Science Alliance and PhD student at the University of Southern Denmark.

Read More about Coral conservation work now underway at The Florida Aquarium.

AFdPZ and Species360 Members Collaborate to Translate ZIMS in French
As participants gather this week at Association Française des Parcs Zoologiques (AFdPZ), we want to thank AFdPZ and more than 22 Species360 member institutions who are contributing support, time, and expertise to translate ZIMS in French in 2019. The work is nearly one-third complete!

We extend a special thank you to corporate sponsor and wildlife nutrition and equipment provider St Laurent, who saw the value of helping the global wildlife and species conservation community with this project. St Laurent serves the wildlife community in many ways, and financially supporting the ZIMS translation project falls directly in line with their mission. Why not have a look at what St Laurent has to offer for your nutrition and equipment needs?

Species360 members span more than 96 countries, and this ZIMS translation will make important resources available to wildlife care teams and conservationists for whom French is their native language. Similar community efforts have resulted in the introduction of ZIMS in Spanish, Russian, and Japanese. Read More

We thank the volunteers working to translate ZIMS in French.

Anthony Dabadi, Arnaud Dazord, Brice Lefaux, Eric Plouzeau, Fanny Blais, Franck Haelewyn, Géraldine Blanchon Pothet, Lucie Brisson, Margaux Pizzo, Marie-Pierre Lessard, Marion Laurent, Rudy Wedlarski, Stéphanie Bosc, Wendy Noordermeer, Tatiana Beuchat, Jean-Pascal Guery, and Laëtitia Lassalle.

Also, thank you to the Species360 members supporting their work:

African Safari / Association Française des Parcs Zoologiques (AFdPZ) / Aquarium du Quebec / BioParc de Doué / CERZA Centre d’Etude et de Recherche Zoologique Augeron / Château et Parc Zoologique de la Bourbansais / Citadelle de Besançon Grand Parc du Puy du Fou  / Jardin Zoologique Varois / Marineland (Antibes) / Parc animalier de Gramat / Parc Animalier Le Pal / Parc d’Isle / Parc de l’Auxois Parc ZOO du Reynou / Parc Zoologique de Champrépus / Parc Zoologique de Chateau de Branféré / Parc Zoologique de Lille Parc Zoologique Et Botanique Mulhouse / Réserve Africaine de Sigean / Safari Parc de PeaugresTouroparc / Zoo de Bordeaux-Pessac / Zoo de Guadeloupe / Zoo de La Barben / Zoo de La Boissière du Doré / Zoo de La Palmyre / Zoo de Lyon / ZooParc de Beauval

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Thanking our sponsors: Support from Species360 corporate sponsors helps reduce member fees and support training, translations, and in furthering conservation science and innovation. We'd like to extend special thanks to 2019 sponsors MAZURI Exotic Animal Nutrition and Kasper Faunafood.

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