Art in the spirit of spring…

Tomato Head Knoxville features art this month from the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory, presented by Discover Life In America (DLIA) and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP).

The exhibit, on display from April 3rd through May 1st, presents high resolution photographs featuring species from the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory. All are invited to visit Tomato Head and view these captivating illustrations of the beauty and diversity that make our region so unique.

Somewhat ironically, Tomato Head’s Maryville location features the work of Julie Armbruster, an exhibit titled, “Doomed Mammals.” A closing reception will be held at the Maryville location on May 1.

What is Discover Life in America (DLIA)?

DLIA is involved in a quest to identify and understand all the species of life within an 800-square-mile ecosystem in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. DLIA researchers seek knowledge about the components, abundance, and diversity of life, from spiders in the soil to slime molds in the forest canopy. The primary tool of DLIA is the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI) which brings scientists from around the world to inventory the estimated 100,000 species of living organisms in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The project develops checklists, reports, maps, databases, and natural history profiles that describe the biology of this rich landscape to a wide audience. DLIA’s mission is to help the ATBI identify and develop resources and partnerships to conduct the inventory and related educational activities.

What is the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI)?
The All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory is one of the world’s biggest and most ambitious science projects, aiming to decipher the mysteries of the Smokies’ intricate ecosystem by finding and cataloging every species of plant, animal and microorganism in the park. Since species collecting began in 1998, the ATBI has uncovered over 900 species new to science, as well as over 6,500 species that are newly documented to exist in the Smokies. The ATBI project involves hundreds of “citizen scientists”, or volunteers, to collect specimens for the scientists to analyze, keeping the project cost-effective.

By completing this comprehensive inventory of species, The National Park Service managers are able to use this basic knowledge in their critical decision-making. The data resulting from this project allows for park management attention to be focused on organisms and habitats with special needs as well as more efficient maintenance of healthy populations of species and their ecological surroundings. It also provides a baseline record for the examination of global factors such as acid rain, climate change, and pollution-knowledge that is essential for this national park’s biodiversity to be preserved for future generations to enjoy.

The ATBI is supported, in part, by funding from The National Park Service through Friends of the Smokies and the Great Smoky Mountains Association.