The Pier Aquarium is an intimate 2,000 sq. ft. aquarium and marine education center established in 1988 as a 501(c) 3, not-for-profit organization in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida.

Founding sponsors, which included the University of South Florida College of Marine Science, the National Marine Fisheries Services, Florida Sea Grant, Pinellas County Schools, Florida Progress, Inc., St. Petersburg Times and Chase Bank of Florida, saw the Aquarium as a testament to the numerous nationally recognized marine research institutions located in the city. It would be a unique resource for public education with the laboratory, Tampa Bay, right outside the building doors.

The Aquarium’s uniquely trained Scientific Staff – students from local colleges and universities – translates the scientific information on the oceans, aquatic animals, conservation and up-to-date environmental issues to Tampa Bay area students, teachers, residents and visitors to make learning a more personal, entertaining experience. Our “Fresh Fish Theater,” the aquarium facilities, provides an educational, yet fun way to explore and discover what is literally in our own backyard!

The Pier Aquarium is the 2006 WEDU Be More Award Winner for Innovation for The Big Fish Move book, a project of the Saturday AM Coffee Break/Book Nook by the Bay program.


E. Howard Rutherford, Executive Director, graduate school, University of South
Florida College of Marine Science, chemical oceanography; B.S., marine chemistry 
Kevin Kowzan, Curator of Exhibits, graduate school, University of South Florida College of Public Health, toxicology; B.S., biology
Erica L. Moulton, Education and Public Outreach Director, M.S., conservation and environmental education, Prescott College; B.S., biology
Emily Stehle, APR, PR/Marketing Director,  B.S., journalism
Mary Berryman, Museum Store buyer
Jane McCurdy, Museum Store
Paul Zimmermann, Museum Store, St. Petersburg Collegiate High School
Patty Zimmermann, Office Assistant

Marine Education Staff

Cassie Bryant, B.S., University of Colorado, biology
Yoelly Burgos, B.S., University of Puerto Rico, natural sciences with major in coastal marine biology
Misty Carr, undergraduate, Eckerd College, marine biology
Courtney Conover, graduate school, University of South Florida, education; A.A., specialization in education
Kris Custer, undergraduate, Eckerd College, marine biology
Drew Glaser, undergraduate, St. Petersburg College, marine biology
Natalie Richards, B.S., Eckerd College, marine biology and environmental studies
Kevin Riskowitz, B.S., chemistry, biology


Jasmina Kuljanac, B.S., University of South Florida, biology
Kate Page, B.S., Eckerd College, marine biology
Butch Ringelspaugh, B.S., University of South Florida, environmental science, marine biology, avian science, ecology
John Wolters, B.S., Jacksonville University, marine science; M.S., Marymount University, Arlington, Va., information management

Board Members

Lari Johnson, President
Mark Luther, Ph.D., vice president
Lou Kavouras, secretary/treasurer
Peter Betzer, Ph.D.
Tijuana Bigham
Norm Blake, Ph.D.
Alice Eachus, Emeritus
Sheila M. McDevitt
Merrill Moore, Emeritus
Don Sweat
Susan Wallace