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Alabama lampmussels—once thought to be extinct—are the topic of discussion at this week’s Science Forum.

Gerry Dinkins, of the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture, will present “Rediscovery of the Nearly Extinct Alabama Lampmussel in the Emory River” on Friday, November 1.

The Science Forum is a weekly brown-bag lunch series that allows professors and area scientists to discuss their research with the general public. The presentations will begin at noon on Fridays in Room C-D of Thompson-Boling Arena. Attendees can bring lunch or purchase it at the arena. Each presentation is forty minutes long and is followed by a question-and-answer session. Science Forum presentations are free and open to the public.

Dinkins is the curator of malacology, or the study of mollusks, at the museum. The museum’s mollusk collection features 240 species of freshwater mussels.

Alabama lampmussels were considered to be extinct, but Dinkins and two other scientists discovered some in the Emory River in Morgan County, Tennessee.

The lampmussel is “considered to be the rarest mussel in North America,” Dinkins said.

In Alabama, they can be found in one area, and their population is declining. None were known to remain in Tennessee until their discovery in the Emory River over two years ago.

Future Science Forums will feature

  • November 8: Devin White, senior research scientist of geocomputation at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and assistant professor of anthropology, discussing “Archaeological Discoveries from Space”
  • November 15: Phil Colclough, director of animal collections and conservation at Knoxville Zoological Gardens, discussing “Eastern Hellbender Conservation and the New Role of Zoos”
  • November 22: Nathan Schmidt, assistant professor of microbiology, discussing “Infection with the Malaria Parasite: Malaria Is Only Half the Problem”

The Science Forum is sponsored by the UT Office of Research and Quest, an initiative to raise awareness of the research, scholarship, and creative activity happening on campus. For more information, visit the Science Forum website.

C O N T A C T :

Amanda Womac (

Mark Littmann (865-974-8156,

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,