CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- Aquariums in Chicago, Connecticut and Iowa are helping the Tennessee Aquarium save an endangered minnow.
Habitat destruction and invasive species have severely reduced the range of the barrens topminnow. Isolated populations now live in just a half-dozen streams in Middle Tennessee.
Matt Hamilton is the curator of fishes at Chattanooga's Tennessee Aquarium. Two years ago, he reached out to other aquariums with the goal of breeding a large, genetically diverse population of barrens topminnows to reintroduce to the wild.
Three institutions signed up: Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Connecticut, and National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa. The first of the minnows bred through that collaboration were recently released into Tennessee streams.
Maritime Aquarium Aquarist Bert Sadler said of the collaboration, "Losing even the smallest species can have a profound impact on an ecosystem. As such, we should do all we can to help any species that needs assistance."