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Black anemonefish find new home in the German Oceanographic Museum

Since 2009, ZMT researchers have been breeding anemonefish, also called clownfish, at the marine experimental facility. Through their studies on the life cycle and optimal breeding conditions, the scientists seek to help ensure that fewer fish from wild fisheries end up in aquariums.

Pia Kegler, a PhD student at the ZMT, has now succeeded in breeding a less common variant of the anemonefish in the aquarium facility. This variant differs from the red anemonefish, the famous “Nemos” in the black colour of its scales. Only the snout and the cross bars are white. Like its red relatives, this variant serves the PhD student as a model organism for coral reef fish. In her dissertation Kegler aims to elucidate how increases in temperature and thus climate change impacts the survival and distribution of the larvae.

Since the black variant only exists in the wild around Darwin, North Australia, it is in hot demand on the aquarium market. Due to Australia’s strict export regulations, the import of wild specimens is hardly possible. That is why fish bred in aquariums are becoming increasingly important, even if they are more expensive due to the high cost involved in fish care and maintenance.

Some of the “black Nemos” from the offspring bred by the ZMT have found a new home in the German Oceanographic Museum in Stralsund. As of last week they are on view there as part of a permanent exhibition in a newly created display tank, showing the symbiotic relationship between anemonefish and sea anemones as it occurs in nature. According to Mirko Becker, technical director of the aquariums at the German Oceanographic Museum, all living form variants of the anemonefish will be swimming in this aquarium tank. In exchange, the ZMT shall receive coral cuttings, which shall be used in a project on ocean acidification.

Further information:

Dr. Achim Meyer (Head of the MAREE marine experimental facility)
Phone: +49 (421) 23800 – 131
Fax: +49 (421) 23800 – 30
e-mail: achim.meyere-mail addresszmt-bremen.de

Pia Kegler
Phone: +49 (421) 23800 – 69
Fax: +49 (421) 23800 – 30
e-mail: pia.keglere-mail addresszmt-bremen.de