Open Access Presentation
East Tennessee freshwater ecosystems comprise an abundance of an extremely diverse selection of species. This presentation examines Acipenser fulvescens and Ictalurus furcatus, two of the largest freshwater fish in the Appalachian area, which play significant ecological roles within the benthic dimension of our freshwater environments. Commonly known as “bottom-feeders,” Benthivorous species enjoy a broad range of food sources including other fish, detritus, crustaceans, and more. The extensive variety of food consumed by A. fulvescens and I. furcatus permits population control of other, denser, aquatic populations inhabiting other regions of the water column, as well as other organisms included in the freshwater ecosystems in this region. The survivability of the ecosystem without the roles these two species play is significantly lower. Observing these species and behavior in a community setting (aquarium) will provide information on their significance in aquatic interactions. My research will include both primary and secondary sources, including interviews with conservationists at (Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute), to consider the wider implications of these benthic beasts’ vital ecological roles
Thacker, Stewart, "Benthic Beasts: The Ecological Significance of Lake Sturgeon and Blue Catfish in Eastern Appalachian Waterways" (2023). Research Day. 5.