Feb. 11, 2020| Rachel Head, a VISTA with the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute, gave a presentation at an event entitled "Science on Tap”. Science on Tap is an event that the Tennessee Aquarium presents every month at a local bar/brewery in Chattanooga, TN. Science on Tap events are hosted by different conservation and research-minded organizations throughout the country. The aim is to make scientific topics accessible to the public, create a unique platform that encourages researchers to share their scientific findings in an informal and fun way, and increase scientific literacy in the community. “It is a really fun program and attendees come away learning new or weird biology or ecology fact.” For instance, Rachel learned that jellyfish can reproduce asexually by cloning themselves, and that the same genetic individual can exist as a larva, polyp, and medusa all at the same time!
At one of these events, Rachel presented some of her thesis research on cave conservation – “Why protecting caves in our area matters and the work I am doing as a graduate student to monitor subterranean life at Sequatchie Cave State Natural Area.” Tennessee is the "Land of 10,000 Caves," so this topic was both relevant to the community, many of whom have heard tales about spelunking or have been in unsafe, prohibited cave trips themselves, and relevant to the work of the Aquarium, which is to empower citizens to make good decisions regarding water and wildlife.
Rachel giving her presentation on caves at the local Science on Tap