The Tennessee Cooperative Fishery Research Unit (TN CFRU) was established in 1972 as a partnership with Tennessee Tech University, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. The TN CFRU is currently under the purview of the U.S. Geological Survey. It is one of several Cooperative Research Units around the country.
The TN CFRU is currently staffed by an Acting Unit Leader, two full-time research assistants, one full-time technician, and a secretary. Normally, 10-15 graduate students are supported by a variety of funded research projects dealing with the study of fish and mussels. We are housed with the Department of Biology at Tennessee Tech University in Pennebaker Hall.
The TN CFRU has a successful working relationship not only with the Biology Department, but with the Center for the Management, Protection, and Utilization of Water Resources (Water Center) as well. The Water Center has state-of-the-art analytical and computer laboratories, plus support personnel that provide our students, and others, with opportunities to engage in a wide variety of environmental research. The Water Center often supports TN CFRU students with research stipends, travel funds, and equipment.
The TN CFRU resides at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville between the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, each containing its many reservoirs and unique ecology. Tennessee is home to one of the most diverse freshwater fish and mussel communities in the world, including numerous endangered species. The Tennessee and Cumberland river systems have more than 30 impoundments ranging from coldwater, oligotrophic systems to warmwater, eutrophic systems, each with important fisheries. In addition, each dam also supports cool- and coldwater tailwater fisheries. Tennessee also has thousands of miles of free-flowing streams and small rivers. With this overwhelming diversity of aquatic fauna and resources in Tennessee, the Unit does not lack for research topics.