workshop speakers


Sam Borstein

Sam Borstein is a PhD candidate in Brian O'Meara's lab in the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Sam's main research interests include determining how various fishes are related, the evolution of feeding specialization in fishes, and identifying what ecological factors allow certain groups of fishes to become so diverse. His research has taken him to Costa Rica three times where he has collected and researched a variety of the native cichlids. Aside from his research, Sam is an avid aquarium hobbyist and master breeder in the Greater Chicago Cichlid Association (GCCA), having spawned over 130 different species, from New World to Old World cichlids. He is also a longtime member of the American Cichlid Association (ACA). Check out his blog, named fish4thought for articles and videos on his aquariums and research projects.

Ghanzafar Ghori

Ghanzafar Ghori has been involved in the Aquatic Plant hobby for over 25 years and is well known as a frequent contributor to The Aquatic Gardener, Amazonia, Tropical Fish Hobbyist and other international publications, and is an internationally known speaker at aquarium conventions.  Ghazanfar has led many innovative efforts in plant culture and aquascaping, including popularizing home tissue culture and introducing new and rare plant species into the hobby, especially Cryptocoryne.  He was President of the Greater Washington Aquatic Plants Association (GWAPA) for several years, promoting the hobby within DC Metro and nationally via the Aquatic Gardeners Association.

Gerald Pottern

Gerald Pottern has been fascinated with fish, insects, and animals throughout his life. He was active in the Pioneer Valley Aquarium Society in Springfield Massachusetts as a teenager and came to North Carolina to study biology in college. In 1982 while chatting to a felloe aquarist at the now defunct Goin's Pet Shop, he discovered the newly founded Raleigh Aquarium Society and has been a member ever since, serving as President , board member, and various chairman roles. He has researched North Carolina stream fish communities during graduate school in the mid-1980's and native fish quickly invaded his tropical tanks. He now keeps a mix of small freshwater and brackish tropicals and natives, including dwarf cichlids, wild-type bettas, wild-type gouramis, characins, barbs, hillstream loaches, pygmy sunfish, shiners, dace, darters, killifish, catfish, gobies, and others. Gerald conducts biological surveys at the Robert J. Goldstein & Associates Environmental Consulting firm and is the North Carolina regional representative for the North American Native Fishes Association (NANFA). He leads a variety of field trips for NANFA, aquarium societies, land conservancies, the Virginia Nature Camp (VNC) and others for any excuse to muck around in creeks and swamps.

Lonnie Ready

Lonnie Ready is a lifelong and passionate aquarium enthusiast, beginning with a family-owned pet store 46 years ago.   He studied biology at Univ of South Carolina and has worked for many familiar companies in ornamental fish farming and aquatic product manufacturing, including EkkWill, Quality Marine, Tetra, Marineland, Instant Ocean, Kent Marine, All Glass and Aqueon.  Lonnie is currently the Pet Industry Liaison for Project Piaba, working to increase the environmental, animal welfare, and social sustainability of the Amazonian aquarium fish trade. He has participated in Project Piaba field expeditions to the Amazon for the past four years, and works on the front line of Project Piaba’s strategic planning with collectors, exporters, and fishery management agencies. By promoting trade in wild-caught aquarium fish, Project Piaba creates economic incentives for protecting Amazon streams, forests, and the livelihoods of indigenous communities.