Update March 18, 2020

AALSO & RAW Joint Symposium & Workshops

Scheduling Update


PLEASE NOTE: University Plaza Hotel Corrected Number Below 



Due to travel and meeting restrictions surrounding the global COVID-19 pandemic, the AALSO Board of Directors have decided to cancel this years Joint AALSO/RAW Symposium.


Due to the federally mandated international travel restrictions, CDC recommendations on public gatherings and local legislation restricting public gatherings the first ever joint AALSO/RAW will be cancelled.

We appreciate all the hard work the RAW leadership and our committees put in to helping us plan, what was shaping up to be, a tremendous Joint Symposium, but we have to place the health of our membership above all else.

We fully understand there has been a lot of uncertainty in the last couple of weeks and we have answered many of your email inquiries with vagueness.  Please understand that the decision to keep our membership safe is of the highest importance but there are also legal and binding contractual obligations that needed to be negotiated and finalized before we could actually publicize any of those decisions.  I will provide much more detail on this subject to you all when we are together at our 2021 Symposium in Pittsburgh (and at the 2021 RAW Conference in Orlando) as it is too much to go into in this format.

Vendors and Attendees alike will receive a communication shortly inquiring how you wish to proceed with refunding expenses paid to date. If your facility is in a position to help our organization out, we will accept donations of registration fees, or deferments of refunds as credit towards next year, however, we understand that many facilities will have significant financial impacts caused by COVID-19 related closures, and will refund your registration fees. Please understand that $20 annual membership dues are not refundable. Most airlines are offering assistance with flight waivers in light of the situation. You will need to personally cancel hotel reservations you have made and please note you must do this by phone.

Please call 417-864-7333 to contact the University Plaza Hotel.

Please call 417-862-0070 to contact the Q Hotel & Suites.

We greatly appreciate your patience as we have worked through this process, admittedly it took longer than we would have liked.  Feel free to email treasurer@aalso.org with any financial questions or questions in general, you can reach out to info@aalso.org as well.


Thank You,





AALSO: 669-23-AALSO (22576),  Address: 2896 Shell Road #76 Brooklyn, NY 11224

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Update March 4, 2020

Workshop session signups are now open.  Please use the link below to sign up for workshops at the 2020 AALSO & RAW Joint Symposium & Workshops.  This link is for you only, it is tied to your Symposium registration!

Workshop abstracts can be found HERE
The Workshop schedule can be found HERE
The Lecture Agenda can be found HERE

Please keep in mind there are times when there are Lectures going concurrently with Workshops.  Also be aware that each workshop has a maximum capacity in order to keep our instructor to attendee ratio low enough to ensure a quality learning experience.  When a workshop becomes full, it will no longer be selectable on the form. 

Regarding LSS and WQ exam options. You must take exams in order.  No one will be allowed to sit in on an exam without passing the previous exam at a earlier time. You may sign up to take exams in any of the following orders.

  • LSS level 1 
  • WQ Level 1
  • LSS Level 1 and WQ Level 1
  • LSS Level 2
  • WQ Level 2
  • LSS Level 2 and WQ Level 2
  • LSS Level 3
  • WQ Level 3 

You may not take levels 1 and 2 of the same focus in the same year, and if you are taking either Level 3 exam, you will not be able to take any other exams this year.

If you have any questions, contact us at info@aalso.org.

See you in a few weeks!



Update March 3, 2020


Workshop Signup Details

Keep an eye in your inbox this Wednesday for a link to add workshops to your agenda at the 2020 AALSO & RAW Joint Symposium & Workshops!

You must be registered to attend the Symposium & Workshops to receive the link.  If you registered for a group of people, and used your email on their registration, they will NOT be able to sign up!  Please locate your registration confirmation email(s) and verify every attendees email address.

ALL WORKSHOPS REQUIRE YOU TO SIGN UP IN ADVANCE.  To keep our workshop instructor to attendee ratio at a level that each attendee gets the most of the course we do limit the registration capacity.  Courses fill up fast, so use the following documents to help decide what courses you'd like to take before Wednesday.

If you have any questions or problems, please let us know at info@aalso.org


CLICK HERE to view the workshop abstracts


CLICK HERE to view the workshop agenda and time blocks

(Zoom in, this is a BIG PDF)


CLICK HERE to view the Lecture Agenda

Keep in mind that workshops and lectures run concurrently at times.


Click here to be taken to our 2020 Symposium and Workshops info page







Update September 11, 2019

The 26th annual Aquatic Animal Life Support Operators Symposium and Workshops will be a joint symposium with RAW (Regional Aquatic Workshop), hosted by Wonders of Wildlife in Springfield, Missouri and take place March 28th - April 1st, 2020.  We are now accepting abstracts for both Lecture and Poster Presenters (lectures should be no more than 15 minutes in length). 

If you would like to present, please carefully follow the “Instructions for Presenters” and submit your information by following the link here.  Come be a part of history as we host the first ever joint symposium and workshops!

Download Call for Abstracts Here:



Update August 26, 2019

We’re thrilled to announce that for the first time, RAW and AALSO (Aquatic Animal Life Support Operators) are joining forces for a joint symposium in 2020. The conference will be held in Springfield, Missouri and hosted by the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium (WOW). This joint conference is an unprecedented opportunity for aquarists, curators, biologists, and researchers to collaborate, share information, and connect with life support operators, water quality technicians, and mechanical systems professionals from across the aquarium and zoological industry.

AALSO / RAW Joint Symposium FAQs


When, Where, What, How?

For all conference information including online registration, schedule, travel & lodging, abstract submissions, and workshop sign-ups, please follow the AALSO / RAW symposium link at the top of the RAW conference webpage. Or go directly to aalso.org.

Why is the registration fee more expensive than usual for a RAW conference?

The early symposium registration rate will be $395, significantly higher than previous RAW conference registration fees. But in addition to all standard RAW conference program opportunities, the registration includes:

    • Free attendee admission to Wonders of Wildlife on Sunday, March 29th with conference ID badge.
    • 2020 Conference T-shirt
    • Daily hot breakfast during the main conference.
    • Daily lunch during main conference.
    • Icebreaker event admission to Wonders of Wildlife, including transportation, food and (2) beverages
    • Includes all hands on, dry and/or classroom style workshops.
    • Includes all hands on, wet workshops on the B.A.W.L (Big Automated Water Loop)
    • Includes all admittance to all lectures
    • Includes ability to take LSS or Water Quality Certification exams
    • Admission to final night Certification Banquet, with buffet dinner
    • Access to ~75 industry vendors at the expo.

We’ve negotiated a very low, $121 / night rate at the main conference hotel which will be more affordable than
most recent RAW conference hotels. We expect that the total cost for attending 2020’s conference will be in line
with past RAWs or even cheaper, depending upon your travel logistics.

Why do I have to become an AALSO member to register for the conference?

As a legal functioning body, AALSO must provide insurance to cover the conference activities of a formal membership body.  The nominal $20 AALSO membership fee provides you AALSO membership for one year. You MUST be a member of AALSO before you can finalize your registration. If you are not already an AALSO member, you’ll be prompted to join prior to your online symposium registration.


What will be different this year from past RAW conferences?

In addition to our traditional robust schedule of talks, networking opportunities, and TAG activities, the AALSO /
RAW joint symposium will offer exam opportunities for both LSS and WQ certification programs, access to dozens
of hands-on workshops, a massive vendor hall, and the world-famous BAWL (Big Automated Water Loop). It’ll be
everything you’ve come to expect from RAW and more!


Will there be a registration cap this year? How about presentations?

There will be no registration cap for the 2020 joint conference. We expect at least 600 attendees and potentially
many, many more. There will, as always, be limited space in the program for formal presentations and a call for
abstracts will go live in the fall of 2019.


What about next year and the future of RAW?

For now, the RAW / AALSO conference partnership is a one-time event. We’ll return to a standalone RAW
conference in 2021 in Orlando, FL.



Update July 4, 2019

This is a long over-due announcement, but I hope you all will still enthusiastically join me in congratulating the following presenters from the Regional Aquatics Workshop (RAW), hosted by the Columbus Zoo in May.  These presenters have been selected as the Best of RAW 2019!!  Their presentations were great and really represent all of us and the amazing work that is going on in our industry.  Way to go!!

On behalf of the judges and RAW Program Committee, I present to you the Best of RAW 2019:
  • Thinking Outside the Aquarium: Taking an interdisciplinary approach to animal husbandry- Lauren Harper
  • Visualizing Sand Tiger Shark (Carcharias taurus) Space Use in Aquariums using ZooMonitor and ArcGIS- Nancy Pham
  • Design and Testing of a Self-Contained, Wirelessly Monitored and Controlled, Automated LSS System for the Transport of Large Teleosts and Elasmobranchs- Kevin Curlee
  • Not a Fluke! Eliminating Neobenedinia sp. From a Group of Wild Caught Pacific Fish in Quarantine- Rachel Moote
  • Using novel behavior training to increase visitor impact- Michelle Benedict
  • Duped by a Fish: Livebearing Adventures in Larval Rearing of the Black Brotula, Stygnobrotula latebricola -Allison Waltz-Hill and Jeremy Brodt
  • Parthenogenesis in the epaulette shark Hemiscyllium ocellatum- Sarah Tempesta
  • Chambering the Chambered Nautilus: Raising Nautilus pompilius hatchlings in pressure chambers- Ellen Umeda
  • The Use of Visible Implant Elastomer (VIE) Tags in Jellyfish- Rachel Stein
  • Accomplishments and Challenges for Rising Tide Conservation- Judy St. Leger
  • Renovating a Two‐Decade‐Old Artificial Reef- Jessica Nishimoto
Congratulations to all!!


Update April 17, 2019

Check out the schedule page for a link to download a draft of the schedule! Or, just click here!



Update March 13, 2019

As part of AZA’s commitment to building one of the largest wildlife hazards response networks, we are excited to announce that the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) and the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) will be holding a HAZWOPER 24-hour training workshop for wildlife responders at this year’s RAW! This two-day, free training will take place May 18th and 19th, 2019.   OSHA requires all potential responders to be HAZWOPER certified to work with hazardous materials such as oil. This training is essential and must be completed before getting near an oil spill site or working with oiled wildlife.  We are looking for motivated and dedicated professionals who want to be active and visible within the response community and will remain current with their annual 8 hour HAZWOPER refresher training (can be completed online). Once trained you will be able to respond to a wide-variety of environmental disasters anywhere in the United States and possibly beyond.  It is important to include aquarist/life support personnel in these workshops; in the event of a real response, they would play vital roles. Class is being held at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.  Transportation will be provided from the hotel to the zoo on both class days.  Space is limited, register today.  Please click Here to register.  Registration is open now and will close April 22nd, 2019. 

For questions about this training class, please contact Carrie Pratt at carrie.pratt@columbuszoo.org


Update January 21, 2019

Registration is open!  The deadline to submit an abstract is February 1st, 2019.  Click on the Sponsors tab to check on the businesses that are making Retro RAW possible.


Update August 25, 2018

Over the past 30 years, the Regional Aquatics Workshop (RAW) has traveled all over the country and even abroad. We are excited that it has finally come home to Ohio and, on behalf of the original group, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is proud to host the 2019 Regional Aquatics Workshop May 13th -17th, 2019. Retro RAW will celebrate how far our industry has come in 30 years, and what is ahead for the next 30.   

Retro RAW registration will open in November, 2018. For budgeting and travel plans, please note that the weekly program for RAW will be different than in years past.  TAG reporting meetings will be dispersed into the general sessions.  Monday morning will be the official start of RAW with presentations going through midday Friday.  We can’t wait to see you in Columbus!  


Update July 1, 2018

May 13-18, 2019

Hotel is Hyatt Regency Columbus with a room rate of $154 a night.


More info coming soon!


Update May 29, 2018

Another RAW-mazing conference is on the books. Thanks to the entire Florida Aquarium crew for putting together a great week!!
The RAW Program Committee would again like to recognize some of the fantastic presentations as the Best of RAW. These presentations are innovative, thought-provoking, and representative of our industry. It's not easy to choose, so a special thank you to our at-large judges selected from the audience:
Rob Brynda
Amy Tillman
Allen McDowell
Kendra Bottini

It's my pleasure to announce the winners of this year's Best of RAW:

Developing Land-Based Coral Facilities to Stimulate Multiple Ex-Situ Broadcast Spawning Events Per Year for Reef Restoration/Craggs

Utilizing 3D Printing as an Alternative Method to Compensate for Buoyancy Imbalance Issues with Chelonia mydas in Public Aquariums/Knott

AC/DC - The Advantages of Converting to Direct Current Pumps/Bailey

Sand Tiger (Carcharias taurus) Shark Plasma Testosterone and Semen Seasonality for In-Situ and Ex-Situ Sharks/Wyffels

Blood in the Water/Schreiber

Laboratory Results at Hobbyist Pricing: Optimizing Water Quality Testing for Accuracy and Efficiency/Emmet

Rescue, Husbandry, and Disease Treatment of Atlantic Pillar Coral (Dendrogyra cylindrus)/O'Neil

Determining In-Situ Habitat Use and Migration of Sand Tiger Sharks (Carcharias taurus) in the Western North Atlantic/Paxton and Fatzinger




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of the webmaster ©2012-2017. All rights reserved.

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