Name: David Wilkins

Occupation: Curator

With the South Carolina Aquarium since 1999

Hometown:  Hattiesburg, Mississippi

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. I grew up watching people walk on the moon.

I work at the Aquarium because I love freshwater fish.

My day starts with a Diet Coke and NPR.

If I could be any fish in the Aquarium, I would be a Warpaint Shiner, because they live in the whitewater of the Chattooga River.

The coolest gadget I use at work is the siphon vacuum gravel cleaner; it’s satisfying to watch the dirt disappear from the tanks.

A perfect day at work for me would be collecting fish in the mountains of South Carolina.

On the weekend I like to go sailing, backpacking and camping.

My favorite part of my job is collaborating with my team members to build new filtration systems.

If I could share a meal with any fish, it would be sharks, because they eat salmon. Yum!

An animal I am passionate about is the Robust Redhorse. The Aquarium has been working with the Robust Redhorse Conservation Committee for 14 years to increase populations following a drastic decline. As part of a 20 year propagation program, we raise Robust Redhorse fry and release them to continue the breeding cycle.

If I could share one conservation tip with you, it would be: Conserve and protect fresh water. Without fresh water, we would lose the creatures we love.