NERAC X will feature world-renowned speakers who will enlighten you on all aspects of the marine aquarium hobby!

Confirmed speakers are shown below — be sure to check back for updates

  • Scott Winters — CEO Coral Reef Foundation
       Topic: Updates on progress restoring Caribbean reefs
    Scott Winters
    Scott Winters

    Scott is a serial entrepreneur of 15 years following a career as an academic scientist. His ventures have ranged from entertainment, through consumer goods to healthcare. Highlights of his career include the development of the world’s most technologically advanced pediatric cancer center. He has served on the board of directors for multiple entrepreneurial ventures as well as international non-profits. Throughout his career he has published 2 books, over 50 technical articles and popular papers, and amassed over 750 hours of public speaking.

    Scott received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in two simultaneous programs (Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity and BioInformatics and Computational Biology), received his M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business, and is Phi Beta Kappa. Scott’s passion for ocean conservation brought him to the Florida Keys to inspire others to help save our ocean.



  • Greg Metzner — Scientific Charters 
       Topic: Shark breeding grounds off Long Island

    Greg Mertzger has been teaching marine science and aquaculture at Southampton High School since September 2001. In his 14 years, he had the opportunity to design and build one of the most state-of-the-art marine labs found in a publicly funded high school in the country. His program educates hundreds of individuals of all ages each year in the area of marine science and the industry of aquaculture.

    Most recently, Metzger and a group of fellow researchers formed the Long Island Shark Collaboration (LISC). This team has set out to better understand the population dynamics of all large coastal sharks found along the south shore of Long Island. In addition, LISC hopes to begin to unlock the mysteries of the young of the year white sharks found in these local waters.

    Metzger is an adjunct professor of aquaculture at Stony Brook University. He also has held a Master Near Coastal U.S. Coast Guard license since 2005 and runs a successful charter business. He has delivered public lectures and conducted workshops educating citizens on the basic biology of sharks and the scientific methods used by shark biologists to gather data.

  • Eric Cassiano — Univ. Florida, Biologist / Ph.D. Student
       Topic: Breeding Hippo Tangs
    Eric Cassiano

    Eric Cassiano is a Biological Scientist at the University of Florida’s Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory (TAL).  He has been at TAL since 2010 where his research focuses on the production of live feeds for and larviculture of marine ornamental fish species.  He has given many presentations as well as written numerous scientific journal articles, technical papers, and magazine articles on TAL’s research findings.

    He stumbled into the world of aquaculture in 2003 by accident, when he volunteered to help a friend maintain the oyster hatchery at Oregon State University.  After realizing that he loved growing animals in water, he decided to return to the east coast to pursue his academic endeavors in aquaculture.  In 2006, he began a project that exposed him to the issue of first feeding marine fish and the problems encountered when examining certain ‘difficult to rear’ marine fish species.  In a nutshell, he began growing microalgae and copepods and gaining a greater understanding of marine recirculating systems.  In 2010, he began his current position at TAL; which is a member of Rising Tide Conservation.  Rising Tide Conservation is a group of research facilities, industry partners, and public aquariums dedicated to providing an alternative to wild-caught fisheries by developing aquaculture techniques for marine ornamental fish species.  As a Rising Tide member, the TAL team currently focuses on developing captive breeding protocols for marine ornamental fish species; including Pacific blue tangs, milletseed butterflyfish, yellow coris wrasse, and melanurus wrasse.