Contributions You Can Make
Volunteering, as mentioned earlier, will allow you to indulge your passion while contributing to a better understanding of wild animals and wild places. It is very important that you bear in mind that the most basic facts about many aquatic animals are largely unknown. Because of this, just by witnessing your own aquatic pets, you can observe behavior that has possibly never been seen or written about.
Interesting and important facts are routinely uncovered by amateurs observing their pets or exploring natural areas accessible to them. The potential for discovering new facts (and even new species) is greatly increased for those with an interest in invertebrates as opposed to vertebrates. We are unaware, even to the nearest degree of magnitude, of their numbers and even more ignorant of how they live their lives. Record everything and anything that you observe as you pursue your hobby. You may wish to employ the help of interested friends and relatives in your observations. People, especially children, are often fascinated by observing live animals and may gladly spend long periods of time watching your aquarium. Such people can serve as your eyes when you are not available and will no doubt surprise you with what they discover.
Many governmental bodies sponsor surveys of natural places or species of particular concern, and often these are done largely on a volunteer basis. Even if these activities do not lead to a career, you will no doubt thoroughly enjoy yourself and be rewarded with the knowledge that you have contributed to important work.
Above all, be generous in sharing what you have seen and learned with others. Become involved with special-interest organizations, and publish your findings whenever possible. The fact that an observation first appears as a note in an informal publication may lessen its impact but not its importance. The local newsletters of aquarium organizations are often the starting points for professional researchers interested in particular animals or environments. Don't be trapped into believing that you must be a professional to contribute. As you will discover by reading about nearly any animal, very little can replace direct observation as a means of discovering new information.