Creating a neighborhood pond
 Student involvement at UF
 UF/IFAS aquaculture and pond management...
 Native and exotic catfish in Florida...
 Azolla pinnata
 Student involvement at UF...

Group Title: Waterworks
Title: Waterworks. Volume 5, Number 2. 2001.
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00067314/00007
 Material Information
Title: Waterworks. Volume 5, Number 2. 2001.
Uniform Title: Waterworks
Physical Description: Serial
Creator: Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Publisher: Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Publication Date: 2001
Funding: Florida Historical Agriculture and Rural Life
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00067314
Volume ID: VID00007
Source Institution: Marston Science Library, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Holding Location: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station; Institute for Food and Agricultural Services (IFAS), University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Table of Contents
    Creating a neighborhood pond
        Page 1
    Student involvement at UF
        Page 2
        Page 3
    UF/IFAS aquaculture and pond management update
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Native and exotic catfish in Florida part II
        Page 6
    Azolla pinnata
        Page 7
    Student involvement at UF continued
        Page 8
Full Text

University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service / Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Volume 5 Number 2 2001

April 24
Managing Ponds for Fishing Workshop
Agriculture Center/Bronson, FL
Anthony Drew 352/486-5131

May 12
Annual Eco-Gardening Conference
USF Campus/ Tampa, FL
Sydney Brown 813/744-5519 ext 145

May 14-18
Aquatic Weed Control Short Course
Ft Lauderdale Research & Education Center
VernonVandiver, Jr. 954/577-6316

May 14-25
Diseases of Warmwater Fish
Ruskin/St. Augustine, FL
Ann Groover 352/392-5930

Nov 27 Dec 1
Marine Ornamentals
Conference 2001
Walt Disney Resort/
Buena Vista, FL
Beth Miller Tipton

OfCJi~ i~

4 e

Creating A Neighborhood Pond

Neighborhood reten-
tion ponds are normally
not a thing of beauty-
unless someone puts
some serious work into
getting rid of the cattails,
and making improve-
ments. But how? Just
ask Jack Kennedy of
Hillsborough County,
who has helped turn his
neighborhood pond into
a work of art.
"Before, you couldn't
even tell it was a retention
pond, it looked so bad,"

says Kennedy. "It was
solid weeds before we
started, with no visible
water. When we were
through, it looked so
nice, the county com-
missioners presented
us with a certificate of
appreciation. They also
gave us a metal park
bench for the pond."
The pond is perhaps
an acre in size, and suf-
fered from years of ne-
glect. It was a lot of hard
and dirty work.

"Three of us worked
diligently at it, although
one of the guys recently
moved away," said
Kennedy. "It was hard to
get the neighbors to help.
"Hillsborough County
is good about providing
dumpsters on request for
this kind of work. They
Continued on page 3.

Insitute of Food and Agncultural Senc ......

The following UFIIFAS
faculty and staff are
available to answer
questions or provide
technical support for
aquaculture, fisheries
and aquatic sciences,
and pond manage-
ment. Feel free to
contact them.

Frank Chapman
Reproductive Biology
352/392-9617 ext 247
Chuck Cichra
Pond Management &
Fish Biology
352/392-9617 ext 249
Ruth Francis-Floyd
Fish Health/Aquaculture
352/392-9617 ext 229
Ruth Ellen Bowen
Fish Health
352/392-9617 ext 230

Andy Lazur
Food & Bait Aquaculture
Debbie Britt Pouder
Food & Bait Aquaculture

Craig Watson
Research Coordinator

Roy Yanong
Fish Health/Aquaculture

Eric Curtis
Fish Health

Ken Langeland
Aquatic Plants

Chuck Adams
Marine Economics
352/392-1826 ext 223
David Zimet
Freshwater Economics

Ray Bucklin
Aquaculture Engineering

John Brenneman
Polk/Hillsborough Counties
Chris Brooks
Dade County
305/248-3311 ext 230

Max Griggs
Escambia County
Bill Mahan
Franklin County
Leslie Sturmer
Shellfish Aquaculture
Don Sweat
Pasco County

Undergradate and graduate students are an important part of the teaching,
research, and extension programs at the University of Florida. Student involve-
ment is highlighted in each issue of WaterWorks.

Jeff Wlcox has been
interested in wet slip-
pery sea creatures
since his first fishing trip
to the Gulf of Mexico at
age four. A late
bloomer, he got his
Bachelor of Science in
Marine Biology from
Florida State University
under Dr. Bill Hennkind in
He earned his Mas-
ter of Education from
Florida A&M University,
taking cooperative
course work in Maricul-
ture and Oceanography
underWnston Menzel at
FSU in 1976.
There he stayed for20
years, teaching science
and aquaculture at the
School forApplied Indi-
vidualized Learning, a
nationally recognized
alternative high school,
and later serving as an
Aquaculture Extension
Specialist at Florida
A&M University. While
doing this, he also
owned and operated
Fossil Fish Farm and
served as secretary on
the board of directors
forthe FloridaAquacul-
ture Association for ten
Late in life, hedecided
that what he really
wanted to do was fun-
damental research in
the marine sciences,
which brought him to
the University of Florida
to obtain his Ph.D. in
Fisheries and Aquatic
Jeff works with
Nematostellavectensis, an
estuarine sea anemone.

known as the Starlet or
Dwarf Mud Anemone.
Small, easy to raise and
reproductive both sexu-
ally and asexually
throughout the year, the
Nematostella is serving
as Jeffs model for answer-
ing fundamental questions
about reproduction and
early embryonic cell
Under the tutelage of
Dr. Wally Clark, Jeff
added this species to the
short list of Anthozoans
(anemones and corals)
known to release eggs
that have finished meio-
sis before ever meeting
a sperm. The egg of
nearly every other sexual
animal must be activated
by spermatozoa before it
can complete reduction
ofthe female chromosome
set to a haploid state.
Throughoutthe animal
kingdom, the norm is for
the male sperm to arrive,
activate the egg, and
then waitforthe female egg
to get ready forthe main
event: fertilization. Jeff has
shown that this is not so
with the Nematostella.
The female is ready for

fertilization as soon as
the male arrives.
He has also deter-
mined that this little
anemone regulates
early embryonicdivision
the same way humans
do. When he splits the
first two cells apart,
they become identical
twins; if he splits the
four cell stage apart,
they become identical
quadruplets. Octuplets
are harder to get to
survive,just like humans,
but he has succeeded
a few times even with
Jeff's most exciting
work has shown that
Nematostella embryos
can be manipulated to
get the division of the
cell without a preced-
ing duplication and di-
vision of the nucleus.
Since it has long been
thought that cell division
was merely the result
of nuclear division, it
has been presumed
that they were part of
a single regulatory
pathway. While this
work builds on the pre-
ceding work of other
scientists, it serves as
proofthatthese are two
separate and distinct
Two pathways rather
than one means that
now there should be
twice as many oppor-
tunities for researchers
to discover a means to
intervene when cell di-
vision goes wrong (the
result of which we call
Continued on page 8.

Continued from page 1.
left it, we filled it.
"They also showed us the 'good' and
the 'bad' vegetation, and what species to
plant. They've been wonderful, especially
John McGee and Julie Palaschak at the
Hillsborough County Adopt-a-Pond pro-
gram." Funding assistance was provided
by the Southwest Florida Water Manage-
ment District.
Some species of plants were already
in the pond when they started. The white
lilies, for instance, were growing but had
to be thinned and were relegated to the
pond's center, where they protect the fish
from birds. Pickerelweed and swamprush
was also already there.
"It was all low-tech work, lots of shovel
work," said Kennedy. "We had to remove
all the cattails. We used a menzi machine
provided by the countyto get the cattails out.
Initially, we hauled off eight or 10 pickup
truckloads, but that didn't make a dent. So
we called the county and asked about the
Last year the water got very low. How-
ever, the nice thing about retention ponds

is that an inch or so of rain will often raise
the water level at least a foot.
Last summer, the pond dropped down
to only two feet deep at the center. During
low water, Kennedy's group, called the
Cumberland Manor Swamp Rats, worked
on the edges of the pond, which could be
mowed. Last winter's freezes killed a lot
of the vegetation. They raked and gath-
ered the dead stuff. Out deeper, they
removed the lilies exept in the middle.
When they received a merciful two inches
of rain in March, the pond level rose at least
two feet. Theirwork each year is generally
done before it gets too hot in summer.
Early on, they tried putting triploid grass
carp into the pond to eat hydrilla. But blue
herons killed the carp, which were actually
two feet long, too big for the herons to
eat. Today, the pond has bass and blue-
gill, snakes, frogs and turtles. It's a pretty
diverse wildlife population for a small pond.
As for birds, they now have mallards,
moor hens and grebes that utilize the
shoreline vegetation for cover. Daily visitors
include various herons, storks, and the

occasional roseate spoonbill.
Mosquitofish, which eat mosquitos,
were already there and have proliferated.
No one complains about mosquitos.
Today, the water is clear. The shoreline
plants, which provide cover for wildlife,
also filter nutrients washing in from
stormwater runoff. They've had no nuisance
algae blooms.
"It all has to be maintained," says
Kennedy. "We have several garbage bags
of trash washing into the pond after each
storm. The trash has to be cleaned up.
We're proud of the pond and working on
it, like a garden, it's good therapy. It's good
low-tech work, sometimes hot and dirty,
and with no computer skills necessary."
The best way to get started?
"You begin with the county, see if they
will provide a grade-all, a boom excava-
tor, something to take out the undesirable
vegetation with a minimum of back work.
Somebody in the neighborhood has to be
motivated, make the phone calls, and be
in charge. It helps to have someone there
to organize."

UF/1AS Aquacu ltur

and Pon Maaemn Update@.


Cedar Key

UF Teams Up With
USDA To Address
Shellfish Research
A research grant was
recently awarded to the
University of Florida Ag-
ricultural Experiment
Station by the U.S. Dept.
of Agriculture, Coopera-
tive State Research, Edu-
cation, and Extension
Service. These federal
funds were allocated to
address priority needs of
the shellfish and food fish
aquaculture industries in
Florida and should con-
tinue for several years.
CongressmanAllen Boyd,
Jr., a friend of aquaculture,
was instrumental in secur-
ing this federal commit-
ment and partnership.
Also in support of
aquaculture, UF/IFAS
has identified program
areas that warrant special
attention in the years to
come.They include:water
quality and manage-
ment, global competitive-
ness, and food technolo-
gies. In addition, aquac-
ulture advisory commit-
tees have identified areas
of immediate concern.
The following research
projects addressing shell-
fish aquaculture will be
initiated this year:
* Expert Assistance and
Distance Identification
Network (EADIN). A sys-
tem and protocol for rapid
distance identification of
biological samples, in
particular phytoplankton,

will be developed. This
will link shellfish aquac-
ulture industry members
with experts on the ecology
and biology of their region.
* Preliminary Investiga-
tion of Blood Ark and
Ponderous Ark Culture -
Procedures for hatchery
seed production of two
potential commercial bi-
valve species will be de-
veloped. Their growth
and survival under com-
mercial conditions will be
* Genetic Issues in Hard
ClamAquaculture: Molecu-
largenetictechniques will
be developed and used
to examine the issue of
hard clam stock diversity.
Impact of Temperature
Acclimation on Clam
Shelf Life and Bacterial
Content during Summer
Harvest. Previously de-
veloped dry tempering
methods will be refined to
increase clam survival in
refrigerated storage.
The microbial conse-
quences of tempering will
be assessed to ensure a
safe and high quality
This collaboration pre-
sents an opportunity for
UF and USDA to make a
long-term commitment in
addressing pertinent re-
search needs of the
shellfish culture industry.
Industry participation and
involvement is critical in
all phases. Information
generated from these re-
search projects will be
made available through
the shellfish aquaculture
extension program.
Leslie Sturmer

Sam Mitchell


Teachers, Just
Point and Click!
Aquaculture is increas-
ingly being incorporated
into the classroom at all
grade levels-not only as
vocational training but
also as an excellent teach-
ing tool that integrates
math, science, art, social
science, language arts,
environmental awareness,
life skills, and more.
Students practice
theory through hands-on
applications that increase
understanding and skill
levels. However, integrat-
ing aquaculture into the
classroom can be a daunt-
ing task forteachers new
to the subject. Fortunately,
with the growth of the
Intemet, great information
is at your fingertips.
Here are a few good
websites to check out.
* UF/IFAS aquaculture
publications can help in
the technical aspects of
planning and operating
an aquaculture facility.
They can be downloaded
for free from the
web.(Feel free to make
copies for your students.)
http:l/edis. ifas.ufl.
* At theAquaNICwebsite
you'll find discussion
groups, publications, and
links to more aquaculture
sites than you can imagine:

+Over 150 aquaculture
publications can be found
at the USDA's Regional
Aquaculture Center site.
Click on the Southern
region for publications
most applicable to our
region. Materials are free
and can be copied:
* The University ofArizona
in Tucson has developed
many aquaculture pro-
grams and materials for
teachers and students
including an Aquaculture
in the Classroom website:
+The table of contents
and ordering information
for Aquaculture and
Fisheries Management:
Renewable Natural
Resources Student
Reference (Dept. ofAg.
Education/Univ. ofArizona)
can befound at the follow-
ing site. The book includes
sections on external fish
anatomy, fish pathology,
water quality, fisheries
management, aquaculture
systems, hydroponics,
production manage-
ment, and more:
* The National Council for
Agricultural Education
has many publications
available for aquaculture
in the classroom, some of
which can be down-
loaded for free! Ordering

information for other pub-
lications by the Council
such as the hefty Aquac-
ulture Curriculum Guide
and Aquaculture "How To"
manuals can also be found:
http:// ffa.agriculture.
* Be sure to incorporate
information specific to
Florida by visiting two
Florida Dept. of Agricul-
ture and ConsumerService
sites. Learn about our re-
cently streamlined permit-
ting process including Best
Management Practices
and the Aquaculture Cer-
tification program at the
Division ofAquaculture
+You'll find colorful Florida
promotional and market-
ing materials, a product
suppliers directory, terrific
recipes (get the culinary
arts class involved!) and
species brochures with
nutritional, information,
buying and preparation
tips at the Bureau of Sea-
food and Aquaculture
Marketing site:
* Find outthewho, what,
and where of Florida's
aquaculture products by
checking out the latest
review of the industry
conducted by the Florida
Agricultural Statistics
http: //www.nass.usda.
go vf l/rtocOa.htm
Debbie Britt-Pouder



Miami Fishing
Last winter, Florida
Sea Grant Extension
Agent Marella Crane
helped organize a Youth
Fishing Foundation Clinic
on Virginia Key in Miami.
An estimated 72 youth
from the Catholic Charity/
Boys Town and various 4-H
clubs from Broward and
Miami-Dade counties had
the opportunity to fish in
a pond full of red drum.
Also present were five
representatives from the
District 11 juvenile justice
system, to observe and
interact with the children.
Youngsters, aged 15
and younger, gained ex-
perience on how to tie a
knot, bait a hook, and cast
a line-in addition to
catch and release fishing.
Marella Crane and Cliff
Kunde, Executive Direc-
tor of the Atlantic Game-
fish Foundation, gave a
brief talk about grouper
and snapper.
The event was a great
success. For some chil-
dren, it was their first
fishing experience. Each
child went home with a
free fishing rod and reel,
plus a handful of educa-
tional coloring books and
stickers. All participants
went on a guided tour of
the University of Miami's
Research Aplysia Facility/
Participants were able
to observe sea slugs,
long-spine sea urchins,

flounder, red drum, and
nurse sharks. In addi-
tion, a special ceremony
took place recognizing
Ellen Prager, assistant
dean and Tom Capo,
senior research associ-
ate from the University of
Miami, for their support
and contributions to the
Youth Fishing Foundation.
Sam Porco


of Fisheries

and Aquatic

Fishing For Success
Forthe past few months,
Fishing For Success (FFS)
has been hosting Family
Fishing days for various

groups from the Gaines-
ville community. On Feb.
10, FFS held the Third
Annual Law Enforce-
ment Family Fishing
Day, open to all area law
enforcement personnel
and their families.
More than 100 people,
representing five different
law enforcement agen-
cies attended the event.
Participants fished from
stocked "catching" ponds
of the UF/IFAS Depart-
ment of Fisheries and
Aquatic Sciences (FAS),
and stayed quite busy
catching sunshine bass,
bluegill, channel catfish
and largemouth bass.
On hand to assist
were volunteers from the
Alachua County Sheriffs
Office, FAS graduate
students/staff, and mem-
bers of the UF Marine
Biology Club (who set up
a marine petting pond).

Trophies and prizes
were awarded for various
categories, and everyone
who participated in the
casting contestwon a small
pack of fishing tackle.
On March 7, FFS hosted
IFAS employees and
their families for more
fishing. Nearly 200 people
attended that event, and
after a bit of a slow start
in the moving, the fishing
was fast, furious, and fun.
Judging from the smiles
of the participants, both
of these events were en-
joyable and memorable
events. One parent ex-
claimed, "this is the best
family day we've ever had."
FFS plans to host one
large event a month
throughoutthe year, target-
ing a different group each
time, so stay tuned for
more fishing opportunities.
Tom Glancy
352/392-9617 x236

Some thirty UF/IFAS graduate students fom the Department oj i ',,. ..' andAquatic Sciences gave their oral
presentations at the Fourth Annual Graduate Symposium Program onApril 16-17. Topics ranged from the shallow
water octopii of Fiji to the viability of highway barrow pits for rearing largemouth bass. Pictured here are FAS
graduate students, faculty, staff and visitors that came to hear the talks.

Native and t Cf i

by JefHl

This is the second ofa two part series
covering how to dirnerentirte native and
exotic catfish and providing informa-
tion on exotic catfish in Florida.

Armored Catfish/Plated
Catfish (Family Callichthyidae)
A single species of the plated
catfish family is currently estab-
lished in Florida. The Brown Hoplo
Hoplosternum littorale is found in
the upper Kissimmee and St. Johns
rivers and in coastal areas bordering
the Indian River Lagoon in central
Florida. Its appearance was first
noted in ditches near the Indian
River Lagoon in 1995 and its range
is spreading. The origin of its
introduction is unknown.
The Brown Hoplo is native to
much of tropical South America
east of the Andes Mountains and
the island of Trinidad. It is a small
species only reaching lengths of

about 9.5 inches. Its body is cov- I
ered by rows of interlocking armor
plates which provide protection. There is
a stout spine in each pectoral (side) fin
and a somewhat smaller spine in the dorsal
(top) fin. As the name suggests, the over-
all color is brown with numerous dark
spots on body and fins. There are two pairs
of prominent barbels around the mouth.
Brown Hoplos feed on invertebrates
(e.g., insects and worms) and detritus
(organic matter) found on the bottom. It
reproduces in an unusual way. The male
builds a floating nest of bubbles to protect
the eggs. He secretes a sticky mucus
which makes the bubbles last a long time
and continually adds to and repairs the
bubble structure.
Mating with the female occurs underthe
nest. She expels a small number of eggs
at a time which the male fertilizes. He then
takes the eggs into his mouth and blows
them up into the nest. After laying her
eggs, the female leaves and takes no fur-
ther part in caring for the offspring. The
male guards the nest until the eggs hatch
and the young are free swimming.
Brown Hoplos live in shallow, weedy,
mud-bottomed waters in their native range.
In Florida, they have invaded similar habi-

tats such as marshes, ponds, and ditches.
Brown Hoplos are also found in canals. This
species has the ability to breath air, allow-
ing it to survive in stagnant, low oxygen
waters that would kill many other fishes. It
may even crawl across the ground for short
distances to find water if its habitat goes dry
and to colonize new areas.
The effect of Brown Hoplos on native
fishes in Florida is unknown. Their range
is expanding and they may reach high
densities in certain habitats.
Although fairly small, Brown Hoplos are
eaten in South America and by a few people
in Florida. The meat is said to be of high
quality. Most Brown Hoplos are collected
with a cast net rather than hook and line.
Suckermouth Armored
Catfishes/Plecos (Family Loricariidae)
At least three species of suckermouth
armored catfishes (plecos) are established
in Florida. (As a group, members of this family
are also commonly called plecos or
plecostomus catfish in the tropical ornamental
fish trade.) Two established species are in
the genus Pterygoplichthys, commonly
called sailfin catfish.
The Vermiculated Sailfin Catfish

P disjunctivus is established in
coastal streams of Florida's Gulf
coast north and south of Tampa
and in some inland areas in the
central part of the state.
The Orinoco Sailfin CatfishP
multiradiatus is found in Broward,
Dade, and Palm Beach counties
of south Florida. This species
has been in Florida since about
1971. Plecos of this genus have
also been found in the upper
Kissimmee and St. Johns rivers.
A third established species be-
longs to the genus Hypostomus
and is found in relatively low num-
bers in canals in south Florida. A
few other species in this family
have also been collected in
Florida, but they are not known
to have established populations.
The introduction ofthese species
is believed to be the result of

aquarium releases or escape from
ornamental fish farms. Sucker-
mouth armored catfishes are
native to tropical South America.
The nomenclature (i.e., technical aspects
of names) of this family is complex. Addi-
tionally, the species are often difficult to
distinguish. These factors confuse the
issues of which species are present in
Florida and where are they found.
At one time in the literature, the genus
name Pterygoplichthys was replaced by
Liposarcus, but Liposarcus actually does
not referto the species we have in Florida.
There is also some confusion concern-
ing records of the genus Hypostomus in
Florida. Some records were probably based
on misidentifications. However, individuals
and populations of Hypostomus apparently
turn up in various places in Florida, persist
for sometime, and then seemingly disappear.
Nevertheless, Hypostomus occur in south
Florida and have for several years.
Plecostomus has also been used as a genus
name for members of this family, but it is
not a valid name.
Sailfin plecos are readily distinguished
from other fishes in Florida by their hard,
rough, armored skin, sucker-like mouth
with a prominent barbel on each side, and

Orinoco Sailfin Catfish Fi .. 'i,,. riu multiradiatus

large, sail-like dorsal fin. These are rela-
tively large fish, growing to about 27
inches in length. The basic color pattern
is numerous brown or dark gray spots on
a lighter background. There is a single
large spine in the dorsal fin, each pectoral
fin, and the anal (bottom) fin. The pectoral
spines may be covered with numerous
smaller spines that are larger in the males
and are most prominent during breeding.
The head is large and wide and the eyes
are very small.
These species are difficult to tell apart
except by a specialist. Hypostomus is simi-
lar to Pterygoplichthys, but differs in hav-
ing only 7 dorsal fin rays as opposed to
10 or more in the sailfin catfish.
Plecos feed along the bottom or sub-
mersed objects using their sucker-like
mouth to hold onto the substrate. Their
diet includes algae, detritus, and small
invertebrates. They dig holes for shelter
in canal banks or under rocks or logs. The
male uses a hole to serve as a nest for
the eggs and fry. The female deposits her
eggs inside the hole (sometimes on the
top of the cave) and the male guards the nest.
In South America, plecos live in a variety
of habitats including rivers and marshes.
In Florida, they live in canals, rivers, lakes,
and ponds. Although they may reach high
densities, the effects of plecos on native
species in Florida are little known. They
may damage canal or levee banks by
burrowing, resulting in increased siltation.
Although eaten in their native range,
plecos are not generally valued as food
fish in Florida. A few people, however, do
eat them and their meat is said to be of
high quality.



Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

WaterWorks is published by the UF/
IFAS Department of Fisheries and
Aquatic Sciences. Subscriptions to
WaterWorks are free, available upon
request. See subscription form on
page 8. Questions, comments or edi-
torial submissions may be submitted
by contacting:
Editor Joe Richard
352/392-9617 ext 290
Faculty Advisor Chuck Cichra
352/392-9617 ext 249

There's a new little invasive plant pop-
ping up in the United States and Florida
which could become more prevalent
here without some vigilance. This latest
menace, Azolla pinnata, actually re-
sembles tiny Christmas trees growing in
water. It's common name is the feathered
mosquito fern.
Occurring fromAfrica to Australia, this
plant has been cultivated for centuries
in rice fields of Southeast Asia and
southern China, where it acts as a fer-
tilizer while decomposing. Listed as a
weed in seven countries, Azolla has
been designated a principal or common
weed in India, Thailand and the
In the United States, it has earned a
rather bad reputation and is now ranked
as a Federal Obnoxious Weed. Quick-
growing, this "water velvet" will easily
blanket the surface of a water body in a
short period of time under the right
Growth requirements include slow or
still water, mild temperatures and a lack
of insect predators. Preferred temperature
range is 59 to 86 degrees, but it can
reportedly survive from 23 to 92 degrees.
Most of Florida fits nicely into this range.
How does itfeed?Azolla obtains nitrogen
internally via a symbiotic relationship
with the blue-green alga harbored in its
leaves. The fern's growth is quickly en-
hanced by the presence of phosphorous.
In the past year, the plant has turned
up in the United States as an incidental
in nursery cultivation at scattered loca-
tions, including on spot in Florida. Last
spring it was found by a Florida Depart-
ment of Environmental Protection
(FDEP) regional biologist in a few bird-
baths at a nursery in the Stuart area.
Once identity was confirmed, the plant
was destroyed by the nursery, in coop-
eration with federal and state obnoxious
weed staff. Other small colonies have
been discovered and destroyed in North
Carolina, Indiana and Tennessee.
Our native mosquito fern, Azolla
caroliniana, looks much like this new
invader. However, the exotic fern's
shape is usually deltoid, or triangular.
The shape derives from the plant's pin-

nate-type branching system, a distinctive
feature among the six or seven Azolla spe-
cies known world-wide. Our native species
has two nearly equal branches arising from
each growth point. This pattern of branching
makes the overall shape of a mature plant
irregular, instead of geometric.
One can also look at the plant's roots
as they float in a bit of clear water. For
Azolla pinnata, note that each root has
many extremely fine lateral branches,
making the roots appear feathery. The
native species has lateral root branches,
but they are sparse and harder to see.
Azolla pinnata is often described as much
larger in size when compared to Carolina
mosquito fern. However, this character
can vary a lot depending on the local grow-
ing environment.
The color of mature plants can be a clue
as well, but don't count on this aspect to
be a clinching feature. Generally, Azolla
pinnata is a lighter green than Azolla
caroliniana. Both can be affected in color
by local growing conditions. In addition,
each may tum reddish-brown when ambient
temperatures are too high ortoo low, light
is too bright, and/or nutrients too low.
Keep a wary eye out for this little tree-
shaped "ornament" invader. It may lurk in
water gardens, aquatic plant nurseries,
ponds, canals, and any other pool of wa-
ter, large or small.
To confirm the identity of a
suspicious-looking mosquito fern,
contact your local FDEP regional
biologist or the FDEP Tallahassee
office at 850/487-2600.
With thanks to Kathy Craddock-Burks,

Stdn Inovm n at UF (cnine frmag

This diminutive relative of the corals
has a great future as a research model.
It can serve as a biomedical model for
early human development, since it
divides the same way we do (i.e., inde-
terminate cleavage). It forms muscles,
nerves, and digestive tissue from a
single cell, just as we do, and with similar
genes to those humans use (e.g. Hox
The anemone can also serve as a bio-
assay organism for estuaries, where
there are only a few other non-migra-
tory species available forthis task. They
can be raised as clones under controlled
conditions, sampled for baseline chemi-
cal data, put in the field, and resampled
later, to identify pollutants which might
be missed by other monitoring protocols.
Most importantly, this close relative
of the corals may serve as a model to
illuminate how corals regulate their re-
productive cycles, what chemicals and
which environmental cues trigger
spawning, and how corals regulate their
early development.
While most people are unaware of the
StarletAnemone, despite its occurrence

from Portsmouth UK to Vancouver BC,
nearly everyone has heard of corals,
known for their beauty and also home to
a wondrous assortment of fishes and
Jeff hopes that the work he is doing
now, and in the future, will help both corals
and people long after he is gone.

Top Photo:
Cell division in a sea anemone embryo with
nuclear replication suppressed (i.e., no
nuclei in the embryo). Further nuclear
division would fragment chromosome sets.
The jft ,... '.... t stain shows that this does
not occur Cell division proceeds in the
absence ofnuclear division, independently,
many times. The glow from theDNA of the
mitochondria is all there is to see.

Bottom photo:
Cell division in a sea anemone embryo.
Dividing nuclei are atAnaphase and are
fluorescently stainedfor DNA. Cell division
only occurs after nuclear division, and was
presumed to be dependent upon nuclear
division for proper results. Note the back-
ground glow ofthe DNA in the mitochondria.

---llllllll ----------------------------- EuI


For a free subscription to WaterWorks please complete the following form
and send it or fax it to the address below.

PLEASE Check One:

Please add my name to your mailing list.

Please remove my name from your mailing list.



Copy or clip out order form and send to: f' of
Editor / WaterWorks
University of Florida Z
Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 3 I
PO Box 110600
Gainesville, FL 32611-0600
Phone: 352/392-9617 ext. 290 Fax: 352/846-1088
E-mail: fishweb@gnv.ifas.ufl.edu

---IIIIIIII ----------------------------- ElI


Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

The Institute of Food and
Agricultural Sciences is an Equal
Employment Opportunity -
Affirmative Action Employer
authorized to provide research,
educational information and other
services only to individuals and
institutions that function without
regard to race, color, sex, age,
handicap or national origin.
Inclusion of material in this
newsletter does not constitute
endorsement, nor does exclusion
represent censure of any item,
organization, individual, or
institution by the University of
Florida/Institute of Food and
Agricultural Sciences.

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs