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Science as Leisure

Liz Marchio

I am a trained ichthyologist interested in what gets people interested in natural history, biological sciences, and science careers. My passion is to find out what fuels curiosity for the natural world.

Biology-related serious leisure activities can impact people's interest in ecology, biology, and natural history. Do these activities promote biological understanding? If so, how does that progress and to what level does it progress to? 

If you're interested in a starting a dialogue, please feel free to contact me. If you're curious about how I got here, my story can be found on the About Me page.


NotW: Aaron Roland- A Natural Born Naturalist

This week I showcase a "non-professional" ichthyologist, Aaron Roland.

Don't let "non-professional" fool you... I'm betting Aaron could school any marine biologist on fish and coral husbandry, propagation, and even native habitats and geography.

No Doctorate? No Problem! 

Aaron (almost) in his natural environment.

Aaron (almost) in his natural environment.

I used to work for aquarium and pet stores in Columbus, Ohio from 2000-2010. During that time I met and worked with a multitude of people, most of them amazing in their own way. As I progressed from working at a pet store to working at a fish-only aquarium store, the people I worked with became more specialized and actually, increasingly passionate about conservation and wild stocks of fish.

Perhaps your're wondering how conservation and aquariums goes together... Well, I'll touch more on that in another post, but think about it- as I said above, as I specialized in my work (and leisure) the people involved in the hobby did too. This specialization in a serious leisure activity allows people, like Aaron, to progress to a level that rivals "professional" ichthyologists. 

The art of nature as seen through the lens of Aaron's camera. 

The art of nature as seen through the lens of Aaron's camera. 

Not only is Aaron a very smart non-professional-degreed ichthyologist, he uses his free time to study and keep fish.

Aaron lives and "breathes" fish! 

This intense passion for aquatic life has spurred him to new heights in knowledge and awareness. As many aquarists know, keeping fish is a double edged sword- conservation and consumptive hobbies can deplete resources such as ornamental fish. However, with people like Aaron at the helm, someone infatuated with the natural world and absolutely well-known in Columbus for his willingness to help any aquarist who needs it, the aquarium hobby and evolve and progress into a conservation-minded force!

For these reasons Aaron Roland is the Naturalist of the Week! 

Click the Rivers to Reefs logo to visit Aaron's facebook page.

Click the Rivers to Reefs logo to visit Aaron's facebook page.

Thank you, Aaron!

You've educated and guided so many people to be stewards of the natural world rather than just consumers. 


Aaron is currently working on opening his own aquarium-only store in Columbus, Ohio. If you live in the area and want to keep a conservation-friendly aquarium (and get some really good advice and help on all things aquatic), please consider offering him your future business. As I said in my last post, there are stores that only consider fish as products- Aaron considers them ambassadors to the wild world of fish. 

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