Friday, May 23, 2008

An Evening with Cousteau

Last night, the Tennessee Aquarium was fortunate to host Jean-Michel Cousteau and Gavin McKinney as part of the premiere for Dolphins and Whales 3D. After watching the movie, Mr. Cousteau spoke for over an hour about the health of our oceans, and the connectivity of all of our ecosystems. He especially noted the need to preserve our life support systems. It was a remarkable lecture, and we enjoyed it thoroughly. An added bonus was the donation of all proceeds to the Aquarium's Conservation Society for the benefit of TNARI. If you ever get a chance to hear Mr. Cousteau lecture, don't miss it!

For more about the lecture, read here.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Welcome Home, Kickapoo!

Gap Creek Elementary School, our partner school in Knoxville, has been rearing a Lake Sturgeon in their classroom this spring. They named him Kickapoo Tanasi, and he's been quite a lively addition to their classroom, from what we hear. Kickapoo came back to TNARI today, where he'll be keeping visitors amused by his antics at the public aquarium at Cohutta Fishery Center. Thanks to Gap Creek for doing such a good job raising him, and happy graduation to the 5th graders!

Friday, April 25, 2008

This week, we picked up 48 Barrens Topminnows (Fundulus julisia) from Matt at the Tennessee Aquarium. The Barrens Topminnow, (or BTMs), are one of the most imperiled fishes in the southeastern U.S. They are restricted to three counties in central Tennessee, and much of their habitat has been affected by human encroachment and ongoing drought. Worst of all has been the introduced Western Mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis), which outcompete BTMs. Drought conditions have been so severe at times that biologists have had to "rescue" populations from shrinking bodies of water that are nearly dry. The fish we received at TNARI are from one such population. TNARI will provide additional husbandry space for BTM propagation to help restore this beautiful southeastern fish.

If you would like to see a picture, click on the link below:

Monday, April 14, 2008

Happy Anniversary, TVA v. Hill

This week marks the 30th anniversary of one of the most famous environmental law cases in the US--TVA v. Hill. This case was the first time the Endangered Species Act was really tested--could a small fish from eastern Tennessee stop the construction of a $100 million dam? The answer was yes--for a little while.
This case has already been endlessly debated, and we're not likely to change anyone's minds now. Here at TNARI, we're happy that there are still snail darters around to study and conserve. They're a good reminder that we ought to be considering the impacts of our actions on all of biodiversity, not just the commercially important species.

If you'd like to read more about this, this Knoxville News article talks about the case and recent , or for a more legal angle, a Tennessee Bar Association article written by the attorney who argued the case on behalf of the fish.