Wednesday, July 7, 2010

TTU Researchers Assisting "Dinosaur" Fish

Researchers at Tennessee Tech University have found one piece of a scientific puzzle that they say just may help save an endangered species from extinction. The pallid sturgeon is known as the “dinosaur” of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers and has been on the endangered species list since 1990. This primitive species has been around since the late Cretaceous period 70 million years ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Today, there are believed to be fewer than 10,000 left in the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. Scientists believe the endangered pallid sturgeon is no longer reproducing in its natural habitat in sustainable numbers because the rivers have been so altered by dams and channelization. And TTU scientists have now proven that commercial fishing is having a direct and detrimental impact on the species as well. The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service is considering what to do with that information.