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Anthony Donahue ’21

Anthony recently graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology & Sustainable Aquaculture and works as a Lab Assistant at the University of California Davis – Fish Conservation and Cultivation Laboratory.

“I completed my B.S. in Marine Biology & Sustainable Aquaculture with a 4.0 GPA in December of 2021. Since February of 2022, I’ve been employed as a lab assistant at the University of California Davis – Fish Conservation and Cultivation Laboratory (FCCL). At FCCL we cultivate endangered Delta smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus) and Longfin smelt (Spirinchus thaleichthys) from egg to adult stage in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS). The adult smelts are ultimately released into the wild to supplement the smelt populations in the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta, Suisun Bay, San Pablo Bay, and San Francisco Bay. We also cultivate Rotifers (Brachionus plicatus), Brine shrimp (Artemia franciscana), and Ramshorn snails (Helisoma anceps); identify Columnaris disease, Mycobacterium, Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, etc., then treat with appropriate prophylactics; and conduct cleaning and maintenance of RAS. 

My education at Unity College prepared me for my current position quite well. There were a few specific classes that gave me the knowledge necessary to have a relatively easy transition into my current position, which allowed me to hit the ground running from day one.

In MBAQ 301 – Sustainable Aquaculture Techniques 1: Growing Shellfish & Finfish, I learned how to cultivate numerous organisms, how RAS function, and how to cultivate a unicellular microalga (Nannochloropsis oculata); which is used as a live feed for fish, mollusks, and numerous other marine organisms. At FCCL we use Nannochloropsis Spp. My course project was titled, “Aquaculture Business Opportunity Plan – Restoration of Olympia oyster (Ostrea lurida) in the San Francisco Bay.” Being afforded the opportunity to focus my course project on where I currently live also helped prepare me for my current career.

In MBAQ 303 – Sustainable Aquaculture Techniques 2: Crustaceans & Pathobiology, I learned how to cultivate crustaceans (shrimp, lobsters, crayfish, etc.), more in-depth functions of RAS, and how to identify and treat numerous pathogens/diseases. My course project was titled, “International Aquaculture Development Plan – Queen conch (Strombus gigas) in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.” Queen conch is not a crustacean, it’s a gastropod mollusk, however, I was afforded the opportunity to focus on this species since it requires one of the most complex processes of cultivation over a 3-5 year duration.

In MBAQ 307 – Ichthyology & Fish Health, I learned internal and external fish anatomy, fish morphology and meristics, how to perform a fish dissection, how to identify numerous fish diseases (viral, bacterial, fungal, parasitic), and how to treat them, as well as the importance of biosecurity protocols in cultivation systems; which is of the utmost importance on a daily basis in my current career.”