Reflecting the Wild Reef

The Biotope Approach to Replicating

Natures Microhabitats

Microhabitat Aquariums

n opportunity to return to pigeon key came precisely one year after my first visit. Dr. David Etnier, who was to influence my professional development profoundly over the next several years, was offering a new course, "Coral Reef Ecology." Students would attend a series of lectures dealing with the reef ecosystem, identification of invertebrates, and, especially, the biology of the fishes found around coral reefs. The course would culminate with a field trip to the Florida Keys. I signed up immediately.

Pigeon Key was supervised by a crusty caretaker — dubbed by one of us The Meanest Man in the World — who lived with his wife and two children in a house at the center of the island. The Key was his exclusive domain, and he ran it with the brusque manner of an irritable ship captain

Teeming Pacific diversity, with a large leather coral (Sarcophyton sp.) and a shoal of Peach Anthias (Pseudanthias dispar). Top: Tubastraea coccinea.

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Aquarium and Fish Care Tactics

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