Now that 2014 is in full swing and we are closer to the next MACNA than we are to the last one, it’s time to kick our 2014 MACNA pre-coverage in high gear. As you know the world’s premiere marine aquarium conference will grace Denver, the Mile High City, with its presence at the end of the summer. Following on the successes of last year the Denver MACNA committee is committed to producing a world class reef show, and the speaker lineup will a bigger part of the quality of MACNA than ever.
There are very few mature and graceful aquarists who could follow up with Rich Ross’s fantastic performance as Master of Ceremonies for the MACNA banquet and related activities, but this year MACNA is tapping Mitch Carl to be the MC. Mr. Carl has finely honed his dry, understated humor as years of being a pee-on algae scrubber at the Henry Do0rly Zoo in Omaha Nebraska, somehow snaking his way up to curator of all aquatic exhibits. We kid, just as we expect Mitch to jest and rib during his various MC-eeing duties throughout the show, but we have no doubt that his appearances will go a long way to setting the tone of a very fun and enjoyable event.
Dr. Todd LaJeunesse is a coral reef biologist whom most of you have probably never heard of, but his pioneering work on Zooxanthellae is the cornerstone upon which our modern understanding of Symbiodinium is based. Before Dr. LaJeunesse came along we knew very little about the diversity and distribution of different strains of zooxanthellae, heck we barely knew how diverse the “species” can be.
Across oceans and even within corals, very different symbionts can be found and just like corals, the Symbiodinium that drives reef building corals have very different strengths and weaknesses. You can’t really understand photosynthetic corals without understanding Zooxanthellae and while Dr. LaJeunesse’s presentation will be an idea-dense, lean-forward kind of presentation, we have seen him speak before and we can assure you that Todd will tell aquarists what we need to know about Symbiodinium in a format that we can all easily absorb, process, and apply to our everyday understanding of corals.
Mike Paletta is a reefer who needs no introduction – author of several books and countless articles, Mike is well known for his contributions to the reefing hobby in its early days and frequent talks at reef clubs, and some of the first MACNAs ever held. To coral collectors Mike is also regarded as a discerning coral fanatic and if Paletta is around, you better scramble to get the good corals before Mike because he will scoop them up, no doubt.
After a long sabbatical from the speaking and authoring circuit, Paletta is really excited to come out of semi-retirement to come present on this history of the aquarium hobby. This won’t be the stuffy kind of history lecture you had in high school – this is reef aquarium history and Mike is going to have the monumental task of summarizing the most important events, equipment, and advancements in the reefing world since its inception. As MACNA is a future-leaning reef aquarium conference, we are thrilled that Mike is giving this reef aquarium history talk because everything that is old will be new again, and we can’t really know where we re going unless we truly realize where we’ve been.