Who are the Fishheads?
The Fishheads, who began their collective existence during the fall of 2005, are a group of research students who are responsible for the design, construction, and maintenance of live animal exhibits in Hunt Haught Hall. Several upper level students are also developing independent research projects examining the effects of acid mine drainage on local river biota.
What sort of live animal exhibits do we have on display?
Not just fish! Exhibits that have been recently completed or are currently under construction include two Indo-Pacific coral reef tanks (one for fish, one for invertebrates), two Lake Malawi cichlid tanks, a corn snake genetics exhibit, a mud turtle tank, and an albino gecko tank. Exhibits in the design stage include a Chesapeake Bay salt marsh exhibit, a WV freshwater stream exhibit, a mudskipper tank, a tree frog tank, and a seahorse exhibit.
Do the Fishheads do anything else besides build exhibits and do research?
We engage in a number of activities in the course of creating exhibits and developing research projects. In January 2006 we visited the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland for a special behind-the-scenes tour, and this spring and summer we plan to travel to both local streams and the Delaware shore to collect organisms for our WV and Chesapeake tanks.
We are also currently establishing contacts with several local environmental groups as well as Wesleyan College and other universities in the Potomac watershed. We hope to eventually incorporate Fairmont State into a consortium of WV schools responsible for monitoring local watersheds.
How can I join the Fishheads? Are there any requirements?
The only official requirement is that you are enrolled as a full time student in the Biology program at Fairmont State. Prospective Fishheads are individually reviewed for academic performance, sense of responsibility, and ability to work independently. Prior experience with tank maintenance is NOT necessary…only enthusiasm!