Southampton Students First In World To Raise Shrimp Gobies

Pictured Above: A lagoon shrimp goby, courtesy of Fish Guy Photos

Propelling through Southampton High School’s aquarium waters is a school of about 150 juvenile lagoon shrimp gobies — they are the first in the world to have ever been raised in a lab setting. 

Lagoon shrimp gobies are native to the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, where they are found on fine sand bottoms in protected areas.

The feat to raise the one-centimeter species wasn’t an easy one — five aquaculture students worked alongside aquarist Dan Elefante and teacher Greg Metzger for more than a year.

The students performed daily lab work, including growing algae, keeping zooplankton cultures clean, and monitoring and adjusting water quality to ensure that the aquarium’s environment was ideal for raising the species.

In March, the fish deposited their first clutch of eggs. Unfortunately, the larvae were lost before they could develop. The students researched, made some adjustments and, when the fish deposited a second clutch of eggs, the larvae began to develop. 

“A lot of this is trial and error, since every fish species has its own unique requirements during its larval phase,” said Mr. Elefante. “There are so many variables to test that it really opens up the chance for students to help with replicated research similar to what they would be doing in college or a career in research-based science.”

With so much success, the students are working toward raising three other pairs of fish that have never before been raised, including Rusty Angelfish, Bella Gobies, and Longnose Hawkfish. They are currently spawning intermittently with no long-term success as of yet. 

“Without the daily work of our students in the lab, none of this would be possible,” said Mr. Elefante. 

Southampton High School’s 2,600-square-foot wet lab is currently home to 30 species of fish. It houses a greenhouse, an algae culture room, 70 oceanography system tanks and 18 broodstock system tanks where fish are bred. The lab provides hands-on experiences for students taking oceanography and aquiculture classes. 

Beth Young

Beth Young

Beth Young built her first boat out of driftwood tied together with phragmites behind her family’s apartment above the old Mill Creek Inn in Southold. Nowadays, she spends most of her time kayaking, learning about shellfish, writing newspaper stories, trying to sail a Sunfish, and watching the way the bay changes from day to day. You can send her a message at [email protected]

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