Learning by Doing

Photo by Nathan Morgan, UT Martin University Relations

UT Martin natural resources management students, Nathan Rorie (left, front) and Austin Morphis (left, back), speed across Kentucky Lake on Aug. 3, 2021, with workers from North American Caviar, Inc. on their way to catch Asian carp that have invaded the lake. Rorie and Morphis interned during the summer with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency to study the reproduction of Asian carp. According to the TWRA, there are four species of Asian carp in the United States and in Tennessee. They were imported into the U.S. for various aquaculture purposes back as early as 1970. They were unintentionally introduced into the country’s water system in the late 1980s and early 1990s when they escaped from aquaculture ponds in the delta areas of the Mississippi River during extreme floods. All four Asian carp species were first found in the Mississippi River, where they are still abundant. Carp are also known to have entered Reelfoot Lake during high flows through its spillway. All four Asian carp species can affect fish and aquatic life in numerous ways.