Farmingdale State College: From Concept to Classroom 

Article by John Ottstadt, Production Manager

One could argue this project was 18,000 years in the making.  Likely being formed by the result of glacial water flow, Long Island Sound is home to a multitude of bays, harbors, rivers, inlets, creeks, and diverse marine life. 

Dr. Park
Dr. Park

Seated between the Harbor Hill and Ronkonkoma Moraines, Farmingdale State College has intimate and valuable access to the fresh and saltwater marine life within Long Island Sound. As Professor Amanda Shore states “We firmly believe that there is no better place in the world to teach marine biology, freshwater biology, and fish biology. We are surrounded by…estuaries, rivers and streams, lakes and ponds, and the Atlantic Ocean”.  

It seems only fitting that the Biology Department at FSC should have a modern bioscience laboratory to aid students and educators in their research and understanding of the flora and fauna of the Sound. Over the last two years, the Farmingdale College Foundation, along with support from Broadhollow Bioscience Park, funded a $45k renovation of FSC’s Bioscience Aquarium Laboratory.  Lobster Life Systems, Inc. was fortunate enough to partner with the Biology Department’s Dr. Peter Park in creating a unique 75-gallon touch/viewing tank for the new space. In addition to fostering an environment for an array of specimens for study, Dr. Park wanted to allow his students to view the processes at work that allowed this artificial environment to function. “Often, all the mechanisms in any type of aquarium are hidden from view in models sold for fish markets and supermarkets for aesthetic reasons,” says Dr. Park. “However, because teaching was the central focus of this tank, it was custom built, top-to-bottom so that every working component, such as the protein skimmer, filtration unit, pump, chiller, and UV sterilizer, has its own window or access space such that each part can be viewed by students separately for teaching purposes. Now, students will be able to see this process in real-time.”  

We met with Dr. Park in April of this year to discuss his vision. The final product, pictured below, was the result of wonderful collaboration, a budding relationship with Dr. Park and, of course, the dedicated team here at Lobster Life. 

Along with our tank, the new facility is home to a freshwater flow-through system and saltwater aquariums installed by Island Fish and Reef, a 45-gallon Saltwater Frag for sponge and coral speicmens, and a 200-gallon saltwater vat. The new Bioscience Aquamarine Lab hopes to promote conversations about the local wildlife and will allow students to dive into their surrounding environment. For more about this project click here.  


LLS will continue to support the lab with ongoing phone support, supplies including our proprietary blended marine salt, and fabricating other components as the program evolves.  “We are proud to support FSC in ushering in the next generation of “aquaholics” says Thomas Olsen, LLS President.  


About the author – John is the LLS Production Manager and has a Bachelors degree in Supply Chain Management from Rutgers University. Living in Bergenfield, NJ with his longtime girlfriend Mara, John enjoys playing guitar, video games, and working out! About this project John said “Taking on this tank was fun because it was different with unique features specific to the clients needs.”    


Here are some other pictures of the Grand Opening celebration.

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