Aquarium Science Students to Attend AALSO-2010 in Galveston, Texas

Thanks to the thoughtful and generous financial support from two Aquatic Animal Life Support Operators (AALSO) member firms, TJP Engineering (Imperial Beach, CA) and Ozone Water Systems (Phoenix, AZ), and in-kind support from Moody Gardens, several Aquarium Science students will be able to attend the Aquatic Animal Life Support Operators symposium hosted by Moody Gardens in Galveston.

John Overby, Director of Sales for Ozone Water System endorsed student participation by stating, "On behalf of AALSO, Ozone Water Systems is proud to sponsor students of Oregon Coast Community College’s Aquarium Science Program to attend the upcoming annual conference. The input and scholastic perspective from the students is highly valued in the support and advancement of aquatic life habitats and displays. They are our future operators and their input allows all to advance our field of science through education, shared experience and research. We look forward to seeing them in attendance."

Likewise, Robert Satchell, VP-Principal Engineer enthusiastically noted that as one of the original AALSO commercial members, TJP Engineering, “Is proud to sponsor students from Oregon Coast Community College’s Aquarium Science Program to participate in AALSO’s 2010 Symposium. The program’s goal of educating future aquarists and animal husbandry professionals matches well with AALSO’s commitment to education to enhance the environments of marine animals. TJP is dedicated to furthering education and supporting AALSO’s purpose.”

During the conference, the selected students and program director, Bruce Koike will present information about this specialized curriculum which includes a Life Support Systems Design and Operations course.

Koike noted that “The attendees at the AALSO-2009 Symposium in Seattle fully embraced our students who attended. I was impressed with the collegial nature of the interaction between students, life support operators and vendors.” The opportunity to involve students in 2010 symposium is a clear demonstration of the industry’s interest and support of our educational efforts.” Jack Felts, a consultant for Harrington Plastics, Inc, served as the liaison between Koike and the AALSO Board of Directors.

The Aquarium Science Program began in 2001 with a planning grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The proposal was to develop a skilled and knowledgeable workforce (aquarists) for the aquatic animal husbandry industry. Information resulting from the planning grant led to another NSF grant award of $779,000 to develop and implement this specialized curriculum. The first cohort of students began their studies in 2003. To date, 43 individuals have graduated from the program with either a one-year certificate or an Associates of Applied Science degree. Graduates are working at public aquariums, fish hatcheries, research facilities, ornamental fish businesses and a fish collecting business.

The Aquarium Science Program is currently accepting applications for the fall 2010 cohort.  An application booklet is available for downloading from the aquarium science webpage (  This year’s cohort relocated from Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Kansas, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and Washington.  Within Oregon, students hale from the Corvallis, Toledo, Portland, Eugene, Ashland, Hermiston, and LaGrande.  Enrollment occurs only during the fall and is limited to 20 individuals.

For more information about the Aquarium Science Program contact Bruce Koike at (541) 867-8677, or