This website, summarizing our continuing surveys for aquatic Oligochaeta (and other Annelida) known or thought likely to occur in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GRSM, "the Park", is but one of numerous ongoing studies -- all part of a new research initiative to inventory all life forms (flora, fauna, bacteria) in the Park -- the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory program (ATBI). The ATBI is being underwritten by Discover Life in America, Inc. (DLIA), a not-for-profit organization, in cooperation with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GRSM). Two other not-for-profit organizations, the Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the Great Smoky Mountains Natural History Association, also are working in cooperation with DLIA and GRSM to support a variety of research programs in and adjacent to the Park.

Numerous taxonomists and systematists with expertise in one or more groups of plants, animals, and bacteria are participating in this project, and are being assisted by ecologists, data specialists, aquatic and terrestrial biologists, teachers, students, and a national pool of volunteers with diverse cultural, educational, and avocational interests and expertise. An excellent paper by Michael J. Sharkey, recently published in the Florida Entomologist, summarizes the history, organizational structure, purpose, and benefits of the ATBI; a full citation for this article is provided in the "Literature Cited" section of this website and linked from the navigation bar at the bottom of this page, and also is available as a pdf document via the DLIA / ATBI website HERE.

The ATBI Quarterly provides summaries of current research projects, opportunities for public involvement in research, information regarding educational and public outreach events, and updates on issues important to DLIA, ATBI, and the Park.

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As a not-for-profit organization, Discover Life in America, Inc., is dependent soley upon the donations, gifts, and In-Kind contributions from individuals, civic groups, businesses, professional organizations, and corporations. Most of the ATBI scientists working in the Park also contribute personal funds and countless hours of non-compensated time to research, education, and public outreach. Funds received by DLIA from contributors and designated for support of research projects and educational opportunities in the Park has been limited to less than $100,000 per year. Unfortunately, the current state of the economy has also affected the level of donations to DLIA; $40,000 was available in 2003, and $60,000 was available in 2004 to fund research, continuing education, and public outreach programs. The ATBI researchers and staff of DLIA extend our continuing apprication to donors for their support of this project!

If you are interested in contributing to DLIA to support ATBI research and education, please contact Jeanie Hilten, DLIA Administrative Officer [ E-Mail: jeanie{AT}dlia.org ] [note that the '@' symbol has been replaced with '{AT}' to deter the 'sweeping' of active webpages by tractor programs initiated by spammers; you must switch these again in order for your email message to be sent and received].

A significant level of research support provided to the scientists participating in this project has been in the form of direct and indirect support from their employers - e.g., state and federal agencies, secondary, undergraduate, and graduate educational institutions, local and regional businesses, and corporations. The reality is - the objectives and goals of DLIA, the ATBI, and those set by the individual researchers actively contributing to this project cannot possibly be realized without the extensive support we receive from a broad diversity of agencies, institutions, and corporations, and numerous individual supporters.

The continuing broad support for our surveys for aquatic oligochaetes in the Park beyond that received from DLIA is no exception. At recent annual meetings of DLIA (December 2002 and 2003), I summarized funds I have received directly from DLIA, and also a conservative estimate of direct, indirect, volunteer, and In-Kind contributions that have been provided on behalf of our research. For the years 1999-2003, funds received from DLIA totaled >$15,387; a conservative estimate of direct, indirect, volunteer, and In-Kind contributions for these five years total $77,770. Of particular note are the numerous field days volunteered by my co-investigator, Peggy Morgan; over the five-year period we have been surveying aquatic habitats in the Park to delineate the distribution and diversity of aquatic oligochaetes, Peggy has unselfishly donated over 45 weekend and vacation days to this project.

All of the people included on the "Acknowledgments" page of this website have contributed to the progress, discoveries, and acomplishments during the course of our research; their assistance, enthusiasm for, and support of our research -- and the ATBI -- is greatly appreciated.

I encourage you to use the site navigation bar, below; from there you can access additional information on this long-term project, including links to scientists associated with the various taxonomic working groups (TWIGS), to volunteers already contributing to this project, to the administrative staff of and general information about Discover LIfe in America, the All Taxa Biodiversity program, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and direction to opportunities for your own involvement in research and education in the Park.
Your suggestions for / comments on this research and on the content of this website are encouraged. Please forward them to me via E-Mail: mjwetzel{AT}uiuc.edu [note that the '@' symbol has been replaced with '{AT}' to deter the 'sweeping' of active webpages by tractor programs initiated by spammers; you must switch these again in order for your email message to be sent and received].
page update: 2 September 2006
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Homepage - Project Introduction | Site Map, Locality Information
Project Highlights: --> | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 |
Field Methodology | General Introduction to the Oligochaeta
Checklist of Aquatic Oligochaeta in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Classification and Checklist of the Freshwater Oligochaeta occurring in North America North of Mexico
Goals | Research Sponsors, Funding | Acknowledgments | Literature Cited
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