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Black Gold - Great Lakes Conservation Network Exhibit, Publication and Panel Discussion

April 7, 2017
Prove Gallery
21 N Lake Ave
Duluth, MN 55802

Reception and kickoff party:
Friday April 7, 2017
Doors open at 6 p.m.,
Panel begins at 7 p.m.
Exhibit runs March 24 - April 8

Organized by Ryuta Nakajima and Darren Houser from the University of Minnesota Duluth Department of Art and Design, the exhibition and panel will be at Prove Gallery in downtown Duluth. This event is free and open to the public. This event is supported by Prove Gallery, Minnesota Sea Grant, UMD Vis Lab and the Great Lakes Aquarium. UMD Large Lakes Observatory limnologist Tedy Ozersky, who has done research on Lake Baikal, will be a panelist.

A fish of legends, caviar and intensive management, Lake Sturgeon, Acipenser fulvescens, have been on Earth for over 100 million years. Lake sturgeon are also one of the longest living fish; a female tagged in Wisconsin was likely 125 years old. They have a harmless disposition and a toothless grin. Belying their size, they suck their diet of relatively small organisms — mayfly nymphs, other aquatic insects, crayfish, and the like — from the bottom of lakes and rivers. On this diet, lake sturgeon, which are found in the Midwest of North America, can grow to 8 feet long and weigh more than 300 pounds. You could say that sturgeon are the Leviathans and Methuselahs of freshwater fish. Henry W. Longfellow wrote about them — the sturgeon Nahma — in "The Song of Hiawatha," published in 1855. Unfortunately, by the early 1900s they were becoming scarce. People dined on sturgeon meat, used their skin for leather, and made their swim bladders into isinglass (an aspic for pottery cement, waterproofing and clarifying wine and beer). Additionally, people, cities and industries altered water with pollution, dams and activities that further diminished lake sturgeon populations. In the wake of these multiple stressors, lake sturgeon all but vanished. Today, thanks to the Clean Water Act, and rigorous reintroduction projects involving habitat restoration and stocking, lake sturgeon are faring better.

Panel Discussion Facilitators:

  • Ryuta Nakajima
  • Darren Houser


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