Tennessee Aquarium to launch new facility for freshwater conservation
To help save imperiled freshwater species and protect habitats, the Tennessee Aquarium is constructing a new biological field station -- the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute -- in the city of Chattanooga that will become a leading freshwater science center.
|Rendering of the new Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute|
CHATTANOOGA, TN, Nov. 4, 2015 -- The Southeast United States is home to the highest diversity of freshwater animals in North America. To help save imperiled freshwater species and protect habitats, the Tennessee Aquarium is constructing a new biological field station -- the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute (TNACI) -- in the city of Chattanooga that will become a leading freshwater science center.
The new 14,000-square-foot riverfront facility will be constructed to serve as the only freshwater science center in the Southeast. This biological field station will house propagation systems for reintroduction programs, three fully-equipped labs for researchers, a spacious teaching lab for rising high school and college students, and a meeting space for collaborative projects with other scientists.
Leading up to creating a centralized hub for this important work, TNACI has been hiring additional experts. Scientists with extensive backgrounds in conservation genetics, field and cave biology, and geographic information systems are now on staff. The team's scope of work is expanding to include new research projects with turtles and salamanders. Eight to 10 scientists and educators are expected to move in when the doors open sometime in the late summer or fall of 2016.
The new location, on the south campus of the Baylor School, connects TNACI to the Tennessee River and opens the door for more educational opportunities for schools throughout the region. These programs will focus on high school, college and graduate students who are really dedicated to careers in environmental science.
Consolidating scientific efforts within a state-of-the-art facility will enable the Aquarium to focus on the research and restoration of freshwater animals and their habitats throughout our region in ways never before envisioned. With continued community support, the Aquarium hopes to grow its commitment to freshwater science to $8 million over the next five years.