Liz Butler Draws The ROM: Fish!
While I love to visit the Schad Gallery of Biodiversity just to look at all the beautiful forms that animals and plants can take, the thing that makes this part of the museum of extra special importance is the context that those beautiful forms are in. This week that context was very clear to me!
I went to the gallery this week with a specific interest in drawing fish, but I came away with a new perspective on conservation. This week I drew a porbeagle shark, a blue pike, and an Atlantic salmon.
The porbeagle is an endangered species in Canadian waters, and threatened worldwide. Like many shark species, the greatest threat to the porbeagle is overfishing. For this reason, the porbeagle is a great example of the direct negative effect that humans can have on another species. But, this effect also means that all is not lost for the porbeagle; if we humans decide to change the way we manage the porbeagle fisheries, there is a chance that porbeagle populations could recover.
The blue pike is an example of what can happen if we don’t interact responsibly with a species or ecosystem. This subspecies of walleye was once found in large numbers in the Great Lakes, but is now extinct. Although overfishing was the primary cause of the blue pike’s decline, this species also had to contend with other major changes to its habitat, including invasive species.
The Atlantic salmon is an example of humans acting to reverse damage done to a species in the past. For generations, the Atlantic salmon was an important food source for people living on either side of the North Atlantic Ocean, and in Canada the fish was found from the Great Lakes to the Maritime Provinces. In Canada, populations of fish began to suffer with the increased demands of the European settlers; by the end of the 1800’s the species was completely gone from Lake Ontario. However, it is hoped that through habitat management and restocking of salmon streams, these fish will again thrive!
Have you learned any important lessons about conservation at the Museum? Be sure to check out the interactive displays in the Schad Gallery to learn more about conservation efforts in Canada and around the world!
- Liz Butler is an artist and teacher who loves natural history and museums. She loves drawing, painting, and making crafts of all kinds. She is happiest when she can find ways to combine art projects with science content.
- Liz’s Website – Liz Butler Draws
- Liz’s Blog – Saw Whet Studio
- More guest posts from Liz HERE!
- Do you like to sketch? Love museums? Are you a full time student in Canada? The ROM is yours to explore, FREE, every Tuesday! MORE!
Guest Post By Liz Butler. Last Updated: July 27th, 2014.