$320,000 Funds Florida Tech Coral Reef Fish Research
– Dr. Ralph Turingan, Florida Tech associate professor of biological sciences, has received $200,000 from
FILDUTCH Ventures and $120,000 from Florida Sea Grant (NOAA).
Front L-R, Vutheary Hean, Alexandra Didoha; Back L-R, Justin Anto, Matthew Wittenrich, JR Kerfoot and Dr. Ralph Turingan
The combined funding supports his research on the biology of coral reef fish larvae over the next two years. This includes salaries for four
graduate-student research assistants in Turingan’s lab. They are Matthew Wittenrich, Alexandra Didoha, Vutheary Hean and Justin Anto.
Turingan’s research focuses on the early life history of coral reef fishes, particularly species that are exploited by the aquarium industry. The work will
involve spawning and larval rearing of coral reef fishes from the Caribbean and Southeast Asian regions. The team will also characterize the community
structure of fishes that congregate on coral reefs in the Philippines.
Turingan’s research will examine the first-feeding period in the development of marine fish larvae. This is considered a bottleneck in the life history of
coral reef fishes, both in the wild and in culture. The study makes his research important to understanding the population dynamics of coral reef fishes
and the sustainability of the aquarium industry in Florida and elsewhere.
FILDUTCH Ventures is an emerging company of Dutch and Filipino businessmen, subsidized by the Dutch government.