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What We Do

We work every day to better understand our aquatic surroundings so that they can continue to be enjoyed by all.

Protecting Native Animals

Healthy animal populations and healthy habitats go hand in hand. The Aquarium’s experts are working to find, study and protect Southeastern waters and the life that floats, crawls and darts just below the surface.


See the species we are working to protect

Conservation Planning

TNACI conducts research to identify which southeastern waters have the greatest biodiversity. This knowledge is vital for conservation planning in the Southeast because it can be used to identify hotspots of diversity that need protection.

Education and Outreach

As part of the Tennessee Aquarium, TNACI educates the general public on freshwater issues, helps to train the next generation of freshwater scientists and advocates for freshwater conservation in our community and beyond.

Summer Opportunities for College Students

George Benz Aquatic Research Fellowships
Conduct independent research in southeastern aquatic conservation biology with the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute (TNACI) science staff. Fellows will develop and conduct their own independent research projects for the summer in support of ongoing projects at TNACI including community ecology, ecotoxicology, and conservation status of southeastern fishes. In addition to their own projects, fellows will have the opportunity to assist with fieldwork, lab analyses and the propagation and care of southeastern fishes. Background knowledge in aquatic ecology is preferred. Applicants must have graduated high school and be currently enrolled in an undergraduate program at the time of application or have a graduation date of December 2021. These paid fellowships are for 11 weeks and may require weekend work. Applications are due by March 4th 2022. Apply here.

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