Aquarium Projects


The Long Island Aquarium staff is always working to further our understanding of the animals under our care, and to enhance their conservation.

Here’s your opportunity to learn more about current research projects at the Aquarium.

Aquarium Behind-the-Scenes Aquaculture Program

Besides keeping world-class Aquarium exhibits, Long Island Aquarium has an extensive behind-the-scenes aquaculture program.

Why is Aquaculture Important?
All around the world, populations of various marine organisms are in decline and in danger of extinction. There are a number of reasons, including pollution, overfishing, and habitat destruction, to name just a few. Every year, it is becoming more difficult to meet the demands of human consumers. Aquaculture provides a source for many of these animals and plants without having to remove them from the wild. Fish farms also help to contribute to local economies by providing jobs (in some cases, for displaced fishermen).

What Types of Animals does Long Island Aquarium Raise?
One group of animals that we focus on is corals. Our coral reef exhibit is one of the largest of its kind; a 20,000-gallon closed system. From this system we do a lot of coral propagation. As the corals grow, we take clippings from them. These clippings, or “frags,” are then transplanted into specially designed troughs. These troughs are shallow, with a lot of light and current. These conditions enable the corals to grow rapidly–up to a millimeter each day, in some cases. The coral frags are kept in the troughs until they are large enough to either transplant into a display tank, or to be traded to another Aquarium or a university.

But corals are just one group of animals that we raise. We have also successfully raised many species of both marine and freshwater fishes and invertebrates. Below is a partial list of such organisms.


  • False Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris)
  • Clark’s Clownfish (A. clarkii)
  • Saddleback Clownfish (A. polymnus)
  • Maldives Clownfish (A. nigripes)
  • Maroon Clownfish (Premnas biaculteatus)
  • Neon Goby (Elacatinus oceanops)
  • Yellow-line Goby (E. figaro)
  • Broad Stripe Goby (E. prochilos)
  • Lined Seahorse (Hippocampus erectus)
  • Long Snout Seahorse (H. reidi)
  • Dwarf Seahorse (H. zosterae)
  • White Spotted Bamboo Shark (Chilosyllium plagiosum)
  • Motoro Stingray (Potamotrygon motoro)


  • Peppermint Shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni)
  • Shore Shrimp (Palaemonetes vulgari)
  • Nudibranchs (Berghia verrucicornis)
  • Moon Jelly (Aurelia aurita)
  • Lagoon Jelly (Mastigias sp)

Our aquaculture research generates information that enhances our understanding of the biology and ecology of the organisms we raise. It also helps to advance the worldwide state of aquaculture. By sharing what we learn through articles and public presentations, we help benefit aquarists and aquaculturists around the world.


The Beauty of Training: The Story of Gray Beauty – a Rescued, Blind Gray Seal

Candy Paparo, Senior Marine Mammal Trainer, attended the 33rd Annual International Marine Animal Trainers’ Association (IMATA) Conference in November 2005.

Trainers from around the world gathered at the conference and gave presentations on a variety of topics, ranging from new husbandry procedures and health issues to the implementation of solutions to daily challenges and new customer interactive programs.

“I was excited to attend two seminars before and after the conference,” Candy said. “They were given by Ken Ramirez, who is the director of training and husbandry at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.” Candy also gave a poster presentation on Gray Beauty; the rescued, blind gray seal that shares the true seal exhibit with the harbor seals at the Aquarium entrance. This poster showed some of Candy’s training experiences and successes working with Gray Beauty.

Candy explains, “It’s great to attend such worthwhile conferences. Just having a forum for Marine Mammal Trainers to gather and help better manage and care for the animals with which we all work is important.”

Gray Beauty Poster

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