Ron Shimek

Bio Topic - Friday September 3 @ 4 pm

Dr. Shimek's research, done over the last 35 years, has resulted in about 30 scientific publications as well as invitations to speak at many international or national scientific symposia. He has primarily investigated the feeding and nutritional ecological roles of many marine benthic invertebrates but, in addition, has also examined some aspects of their reproductive biology. Awarded the 2001 MASNA Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Marine Aquarium Hobby, he has published two books, The Coral Reef Aquarium, An Owner's Guide to A Happy Healthy Fish and Marine Invertebrates. 500+ Essential -To-Know Aquarium Species, as well as writing over 100 articles focusing on the aquarium husbandry or natural history of marine animals appearing in Natural History, Aquarium Frontiers, Aquarium Fish Magazine, Aquarium Fish International, Coral, Marine Fish and Reef Annual, Aquarium USA, FAMA , ReefLife, Shells and Sea Life and other publications. As an invited speaker at national, regional, and local marine aquarium society meetings, he has discussed and promoted rational reef aquarium keeping based on the knowledge of natural systems and animal physiology. In addition to teaching at universities, he has taught online courses for advanced aquarists covering Invertebrate Biology, Invertebrate Reproduction and Embryology, and The Functional Ecology of Deep Sand Beds. Residing in Wilsall, Montana, he is currently researching feeding in azooxanthellate soft corals.

Food Capture And Feeding In Azooxanthellate Soft Corals

While zooxanthellate soft corals are amongst the easiest of aquarium animals to maintain, those soft corals lacking any algal symbionts are amongst the most difficult. Aquarists seem to be able to do everything for these animals except keep them alive for extended periods. This is largely due to problems in providing sufficient nutrition. These animals need to procure their all of their food from their surrounding water, and while that process may seem straight-forward, it most definitely is not. Successful feeding depends on a series of interactive parameters such as current flow type, current velocity and organism orientation. Using an azooxanthellate gorgonian, Diodogorgia nodulifera, as an example, I will explain why keeping these animals alive in a standard reef aquarium with its anorexic environment and chaotic water flow patterns is essentially impossible.