National Marine Aquarium (UK) Research



Thanks to Dr Deborah Cracknell at the National Marine Aquarium (Plymouth, UK) we are able to provide details of a huge number of aquaria based research projects that may have had a positive impact on animal welfare in a public aquarium setting. The details for all these projects would make the page unmanageable so here we have a list of titles, the broad area and the year in which the project was carried out. If you are inspired by, or want to know the results of the as yet unpublished projects then please contact Dr Cracknell via us (below this post is a contact form) and we will send information requests in groups to make her life easier! Please be patient, some of these studies are over ten years old may not be quickly accessible.


**It must be noted that there is no guarantee these projects are completed to such a degree that results and conclusions can be wholly adopted. Many projects do not work out as intended, arrive at non statistically significant values or were not designed/performed in an ideal way. What this info is meant to provide is inspiration and ideas that may increase welfare in captive aquaria animals. We are very grateful to the NMA for sharing this information. We will do our best to bring any further information to you**

Category Title of Project/Scientific Paper Academic Year
BEHAVIOUR (general/misc.) Are intraspecific aggressive interactions of the Banded Butterflyfish (Chaetodon striatus) at the National Marine Aquarium affected by the addition of rocks? 2011-2012 (originally started 2010)
An investigation into the stereotypic behaviours of the common stingray, Dasyatis pastinaca, in captivity 2010-2011
Investigating Enclosure Utilization of Captive Corkwing Wrasse (Crenilabrus melops), at the National Marine Aquarium 2009-2010
Echinoderm Righting Behaviour as a Tool for Environmental Monitoring 2007-2008
Do Threadfin Butterflyfish (Chaetodon auriga) Perceive Objects as a Whole, or as a Component of its Parts? 2006-2007
Shoaling Behaviour of the Orbicular batfish, Platax orbicularis 2006-2007
Tank Colouration – Does it Affect Behaviour in Bangaii Cardinals (Pterapogon kauderni)? 2004-2005
BEHAVIOUR Adapting visual target training to improve animal welfare and husbandry care of nurse sharks (Ginglymostoma cirratum) by adding a second discriminative stimulus 2015-16
Studying the activity budgets and interactions of sand tiger sharks (Carcharias taurus) before and after the introduction of new individuals 2015-2016
The effect of food anticipation on abnormal behaviour: Does abnormal behaviour in captive sand-tiger (Carcharias taurus) and nurse sharks (Gingylmostoma cirratum) increase before a predictable feeding schedule? 2011-2012
Sharks that don’t hunt: A behavioural artefact of captive breeding on the foraging motivation of the small-spotted catshark, Scyliorhinus canicula 2011-2012
Environmental Changes and Patterns of Behaviour in Captive Sand Tiger Sharks, Carcharius taurus 2009-2010
The Effects of a Controlled Feeding Regime on Captive Sand Tiger Sharks (Carcharias taurus) 2007-2008
The Behaviour of Sand Tiger Sharks, Carcharias taurus, in Captive Environments 2001-2002
The Effect of Relocation and Husbandry Techniques on the Behaviour of Captive Sand Tiger Sharks, Carcharias taurus 2001-2002
BEHAVIOUR Investigating differing aquaria environments and their influence on natural behaviours and breeding patters of captive-bred short-snouted seahorses, Hippocampus hippocampus (Linnaeus, 1758) 2012-2013
(mating behaviour) Observing daily rhythms and mate competition of short-snouted seahorses (Hippocampus hippocampus) in captivity 2011-2012
Mating Choices in the Bangaii cardinalfish Pterapogon kauderni 2004-2005?
A  Behavioural Study on the Effect of Artificial Weed Substrate on Morning Greeting and Other Behaviours of Pair-bonded Adult Lined Seahorses Hippocampus erectus (Perry, 1980) 2001-2002
An Investigation of Greeting Behaviour in the Lined Seahorse, Hippocampus erectus 2000-2001
BEHAVIOUR The effect of target training on the behaviour of two captive smooth hounds (Mustelus mustelus & Mustelus asterias) 2014
(feeding/time-place learning) The effect of target training on the behaviour of two captive smooth hounds at the National Marine Aquarium 2014
Using positive reinforcement to train five captive nurse sharks (Ginglymostoma cirratum) to wait inside a sling 2012-2013
Using time-place learning and anticipation in feeding aquarium fish 2011-2012
Effects of predictability of feeding schedule on the behaviour of Monodactylus argenteus in a public aquarium 2011
Enrichment through time-place learning in Atlantic Ocean fish species
Time-place learning, food anticipatory activity and the welfare of fish in an aquarium environment
Manipulation of feeding patterns using time-place learning in aquatic animals housed in a mixed species exhibit
A test of time-place learning in fish living in a public aquarium  2010-2011
The Effects of an Additional and Unpredictable Feed on the Behaviour and Distribution of Fish in a Coral Seas Tank, with Particular Focus on the Silver Mono (Monodactylus argenteus) 2008-2009
Combating Feeding Anticipatory Activity and Encouraging Enclosure Use in Silver Moonfish (Monodactylus argenteus) 2008-2009
Exploring Influences on Behaviour in Coral Reef Fishes 2007-2008
The Effect Feeding and Husbandry Routines have on the Behaviour of Fish in a Coral Ref Tank and the Orbicular Batfish (Platax orbicularis) 2007-2008
Temporal Conditioning in Clownfish (Frenatus amphiprion) 2005-2006
Investigating learning in Cichlids (Cichlidae spp) Using Two Stimuli 2005-2006?
Enrichment Octopus Enrichment 2009-2010
The Effects of Enrichment Objects on the Behaviour of a Giant Pacific Octopus, Enteroctopus  dofleini  2008-2009
Feeding and Nutrition The effects of Artemia nauplii and two non-live diets on the growth and survival of laboratory reared moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) ephyrae 2012-2013
The effect that light, food and their subsequent deprivation has on the growth and development of the Upside own Jellyfish, Cassiopea xamachana  2012-2013
An investigation into the effects of alternative diets on the growth and survival of white spotted jellyfish Phyllorhiza punctata 2011-2012
An Investigation into the Dietary Feeding Pattern of Captive Blacktip Reef Shark Carcharhinus melanopterus under Aquarium Conditions 2009-2010
Growth and Feed Performance of Juvenile Turbot (Psetta maxima) Fed on Frozen Mysid and Cultured Live Mysis (Neomysid integer) Enriched with Yeast and Commercial Product 2008-2009
Growth, Feed Utilization and Behaviour of Juvenile Atlantic Turbot (Psetta maxima) under Varying Photoperiod Treatments 2008-2009
Continuous versus Discrete Feeding Regimes in Aquaria: its Effects on Feeding Behaviour and Mortality Rates of Juvenile Hippocampus reidi (Teleostei: Syngnathidae) 2006-2007
The Effects of Replacing Live Enriched Food by a Novel Artificial Diet on the Growth and Survival of Seahorse Fry (Hippocampus kuda) 2005-2006
The Effect of Enrichment of Artemia and Mysis on the growth and survival of Sub-adult Hippocampus barbouri 2003-2004
The Effect of Differing Sex Ratios on the Feeding and Behaviour of the Big Bellied Seahorse 2003-2004
The Clownfish Amphiprion frenatus: how supplementary diets effects growth rates of juvenile specimens 2003-2004
ALSO – Propagation Needs of the Marine Aquarium Trade and its Future Considerations, with Emphasis on Marine Clownfish – A Literature Review
Astaxanthin Administration to Hippocampus whitei  (Bleeker 1855) and Hippocampus kuda  via Bioencapsulation in Artemia sp. 2003
The Psychological Significance of the Goldfish (Carassius auratus) 2002-2003
An Investigation into the Feeding Rates of Juvenile Hippocampus barbouri and whether they are time dependent 2002-2003
The Effect of Tank Background colour on Feeding and Mortality Rates of the Captive juvenile Whites Seahorse, Hippocampus whitei 2002-2003
The Effect of Tank Background Colour and Light Intensity on Prey Attack of Captive Juvenile Knysna Seahorses, Hippocampus capensis (Teleostei: Syngnathidae) 2001-2002
Growth and Survival of Seahorse (Hippocampus erectus, Perry 1810-1811) fry Fed Artemia Nauplii with Varying Enrichment Time 2000-2001
The Effects of Stocking Density on the Growth of Juvenile Hippocampus capensis Boulenger, 1900 (Teleostei: Syngnathidae) 2000-2001
A Behavioural Study, with Targeted Histological Examination, on the Use of Gustatory and Olfactory Senses, and the Effects of Tank Colour and Stained Artemia on the Feeding Behaviour of the Lined Seahorse Hippocampus erectus (Perry 1810) 2000-2001
Feeding Rates and Food Preferences of Hippocampus erectus 2000-2001
Growth Rate and Survival of Juvenile Spotted Seahorse, Hippocampus kuda, Fed on Live Artemia Salinas Nauplii Enriched with Two Different Diets 1999-2000
A Preliminary Study Assessing Commercial Diets on the Java Rabbitfish, Siganus javus, in Aquarium Conditions
An Investigation into the Satiation Point of Juvenile Hippocampus erectus Seahorses
Husbandry Techniques
(e.g. exhibit requirements) Sediment Preference in the Juvenile Cuttlefish Sepia  officinalis 2008-2009
Do Captive Seahorses Exhibit a Preference for Artificial Zostera? 2008-2009
The Importance of Artificial Structures as Seahorse Habitats 2007-2008
An Investigation into the Optimum Flow Rates of Plumose Anemones (Metridium senile) 2007-2008
Research Project on the Pink Sea Fan Eunicella verrucosa. 2007
A Taxonomic Study Using External Body Measurements of Different Seahorse (Hippocampus) Species to Produce a Simple and Practical Method of Identification: including an investigations into the use of image analysis as a tool to measure morphological differences 2004-2005
An investigation in to aquarium nitrate levels 2003
Water Quality and Microbiology A comparison of two alternative methods for the maturation of the nitrogen cycle in newly established aquariums 2013-2014
Bacterial Diversity Associated with the Mucus Microlayer of Three Genera of Aquarium Kept Soft Coral 2012-2013
Evidence for Phosphonate Usage in the Coral Holobiont # 2009-2010
Diversity of phnA Gene Homologues in Temperature-Stressed Cnidarian-Associated Bacteria 2008-2009
National Marine Aquarium Coral Tank Refugium Diversity and water Quality 2007-2008
Diversity of Bacteria Found in Water Systems and Corals in the National Marine Aquarium Plymouth (UK) 2008-2009
Assessing the Effects of Aquarium Filtration Systems on Water Quality 2006-2007
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