Matt Wittenrich is a marine biologist who has been deeply involved with the aquarium world since the age of 15. A native of western New York, he began breeding saltwater fish in his parent’s basement, successfully raising 13 species by age 18. Matt obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology from Long Island University, Southampton College. He has been part of diverse research projects from sex change strategies in pseudochromids, examining if larval clownfish can hear the natal reefs where they hatched, and understanding how larval fishes feed. Matt received his PhD from Florida Institute of Technology looking at marine fish rearing based on larval morphology.
As a senior scientist at the University of Florida's Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory he is tasked with developing rearing protocols for small egg pelagic spawning species such as angelfishes and butterflyfish. Dr. Wittenrich’s current research continues his focus how tiny marine larvae survive in the wild as well as developing novel methods for rearing them in captivity.
Matt is the author of The Complete Illustrated Breeder’s Guide to Marine Aquarium Fishes. The Breeder's Guide, published in 2007, is a cornerstone publication for the breeding of ornamental marine fish. It provides a compendium of the first 40 years of marine ornamental aquaculture. Dr. Wittenrich gained the most notoriety within the commercial and private aquarium realm by demonstrating that large-scale culture of mandarin dragonets (Synchiropus spp.) was a viable commercial possibility. This forever changed the outlook for this species group, which are among some of the most challenging fish to keep in captivity, but also some of the most-harvested as well. Dr. Wittenrich received MASNA's Aquarist of the Year Award in 2010 in recognition of his impact on the future of the aquarium hobby and industry.