August Club Program

Phillip Gillette, Aplysia

Our program for August is returning Phillip Gillette. He is the resource manager at the University of Miami’s Aplysia Resource Facility. He is originally from Central Florida. He writes, “ I went to the University of Miami for my undergrad degree, graduated in 2004 with a double major BS in Marine Science and Biology.  During undergrad, I interned one year at Harbor Branch working on Queen Conch and Florida fighting conch aquaculture, which got me interested in invertebrate aquaculture.  After graduating, I took a job in the late summer of 2004 at the UM Aplysia Resource Facility (where I’ve worked ever since) as a larval culture technician.  While working, I completed my Master’s in Marine Biology (from UM) in 2012.  My research interests include invertebrate culture, larval culture, coral husbandry, coral reef ecology.

I became interested in Marine Science as a child because of shells actually.  My grandfather was in the Navy, and as a result my dad spent 4 years living in Guam as a teen, and he amassed an impressive shell collection.  I used to make him spend hours in the garage going over all of his shells, identifying them, telling me the stories of how he found them.  We would spend a week every summer in the Keys, snorkeling and shelling, and that fueled my interest.  I have a modest shell collection of my own, with my favorite group being cowries”.

Phillip will be telling us about the work that is being done at the UM facility, the importance of Aplysia californica, the mollusk being studied and used and how important it is to medical research. We will also discuss another possible field trip to the research facility. The club was invited to tour the facility a few years ago and it was a big hit with