- The University of Southern Mississippi's College of Science and
Technology will hold its fifth Bennett Symposium on the Hattiesburg
campus Sept. 25-26. The theme of the two-day symposium is "Headwaters
to the Sea: Evolution and Conservation of Fish Assemblages in Large
Open to the
public and free, the symposium will explore conservation issues
among fish assemblages mainly in North America.
There are several
objectives of the symposium, said Dr. Stephen Ross, distinguished
professor in the sciences and curator of fishes at the Southern
Miss Museum of Ichthyology.
to increase the understandings of how fish assemblages are formed
and how habitat helps to structure assemblages both through natural
and man-made changes," he said. "Through that we can use
this information to be more effective in conserving native fish
the field will give presentations on a variety of issues, including
topics of interest to local conservationists. Dr. Henry L. Bart,
director and curator of fishes at the Tulane Museum of Natural History,
will present the topic "Heritage Lost: Declining Fish Diversity
in the Pearl River System."
Ross and Dr.
Mark Peterson, professor in the Department of Coastal Sciences at
Southern Miss, will lead a presentation on the dynamic habitat components
of the Pascagoula River estuary. The Pascagoula River Basin is the
largest unimpeded major river system in the lower 48 states.
river systems that researchers will highlight in the symposium,
like the Colorado and the Pearl, the Pascagoula has suffered relatively
few adverse effects from man-made alterations. Rivers and their
fish populations can be negatively affected by dams and other planned
impediments, as well as by run-off from surrounding construction.
water from parking lots mixes with oils from the cars, which runs
off into rivers," Ross said. "Fertilizers from lawns are
another problem. Unfortunately, many of our streams are not in good
shape; their flow characteristics have been altered and many are
still suffering from the lingering effects of pollution."
to the Pascagoula River, which has about 114 different species of
freshwater fish, the Colorado River has been seriously depleted
of its fish populations because of the numerous man-made alterations
like the Hoover Dam. Ross said a "fair amount of time"
will be given to discussion of this phenomenon.
provides power to the Southwest, but it's a river that doesn't even
reach the sea anymore," he said. "Contrasting this highly
altered river is the Pascagoula, which has almost no large dams
in its main channel."
Symposium is made possible by a rotating, endowed professorship
in the College of Science and Technology. The Bennett Distinguished
Professorship in the Sciences, which Ross has held the past two
years, was established through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. T.W.
Bennett and is named after their son, T.W. (Buddy) Bennett Jr.
graduated from Southern Miss in 1967 with an abiding love for the
sciences, particularly biology and chemistry. While serving with
distinction in the Vietnam conflict, Bennett Jr.'s plane crashed
and he's since been listed "missing in action." The endowment
was established in his honor.
begin on Sept. 25 at 8:30 a.m. in the Polymer Science Auditorium.
For more information, contact Dr. Ross by phone at (601) 266-4928
or by e-mail at email@example.com.