Advance ticket sales have ended but plenty of additional tickets remain available at the door.
Profs and Pints DC presents: “A Guide to the Potomac’s Spring Life,” with T. Reid Nelson, assistant professor of fisheries ecology at George Mason University, and R. Christian Jones, professor and director of the university’s Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center.
Spring brings new life to the Potomac River, where conditions become ripe for the birth of many aquatic organisms and the arrival of migratory fish. Yet for many of us who look out over the river every day what happens beneath its surface remains a mystery.
Profs and Pints brings you a chance to become much more aware of the rich life in the Potomac with the help of two researchers devoted to studying its ecology.
The speakers will discuss both the fish species that migrate into the Potomac and how they’re drawn upstream to spawn and rear their young by longer days, warmer temperatures, and associated growth in phytoplankton and zooplankton populations. They’ll talk about why the Potomac and its freshwater, estuarine interface provides ideal springtime conditions for larval hatching and rearing. Partly using case studies from their own work on the tidal freshwater Potomac, they’ll tell you what ecological conditions produce ideal spawning and rearing habitats.
Then they’ll introduce you to the migratory fishes that can be found in the Potomac this time of year, including various types of river herring, shad, and sturgeon as well as striped bass and white perch. They’ll talk about drivers, benefits, and costs of these fishes’ amazing migrations, and they’ll fill you in on the fishes’ life histories and current population trends.
Given this abundance of new life in the spring, non-migratory fishes also spawn in the river this time of year, and the speakers also will highlight some of these species. Finally, they’ll talk about the long-term, current, and future research that they have occurring at the Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center to ensure the persistence of these valuable aquatic resources.
To get to know Potomac River life any better you’d need to get very, very wet. (Advance tickets: $12. Doors: $15, save $2 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself time to place any orders and get seated and settled in. Bring proof of vaccination and a mask as they may be required in response to local infection rates. The Bier Baron will be requiring event attendees to purchase a minimum of two items, which can be food or beverages, including soft drinks.)
Image: An H.L. Todd drawing of a hickory shad collected from the Potomac in 1880. U.S. National Museum / Wikimedia Commons.