• A Baseline Study of Fish Assemblages in a Pristine Georgia Estuary

      Hewett, Melissa; Ong, Claudia; McKittrick, Jacob; Sapp, Mikael; Thiruvaiyaru, Dharma; Sethuraman, Sankara; Moak, Jason; Saul, Bruce; Department of Biological Sciences (2017-03)
      St Catherine’s Island is one of Georgia’s uninhabited barrier islands, and is used strictly for research and conservation purposes. It is approximately seven miles from the mainland, and eighteen miles from the Altamaha River. Due to its location, the surrounding estuary has seen negligible anthropogenic impacts throughout its history. Brunsen Creek, on the southern end of the island, is isolated and considered to be a pristine marine ecosystem. This study is a continuation of an initial 2014 study to collect baseline monthly ichthyofaunal data via trawling. Data presented here contains summary information collected through August 2016. Information collected during this period will provide baseline data for fish assemblage comparisons within the surrounding Georgia estuarine ecosystem. Statistical relationships between Brunsen Creek fish assemblages and environmental factors, such as temperature and salinity, were not established. However, consistent relationships were observed in natural migration and reproduction patterns of key fishes that have also been noted in other studies. Temporal trends among the targeted species in this study reflect a well-established natural pattern along the Georgia coast. Following these trends will provide a baseline of expected life history events, and a reference for further research within southeastern estuaries.
    • Influence of Climate on Mosquito Abundance

      Haibach, Nicole; Department of Biological Sciences (2016-03)
      During this project one of the most common outdoors pest was observed, the mosquito. They are important to pay attention to due to their ability to transmit diseases and the irritation they are for humans. This project studied the effect of climate factors on mosquito abundance, which will help to predict when mosquitoes will be the most prevalent. Mosquitoes were collected using CDC gravid traps and light traps, which focused on different parts of the female mosquito life cycle. Mosquitoes were collected at 20 different locations in Richmond County, GA between February 2014 and December 2015. This study compared the impacts of different climate factors, such as precipitation amount, humidity, wind speed, and average temperature on the abundance and periodicity of two different species of mosquitoes, Culex quinquefasciatas and Culex salinarius. We found that temperature was positively correlated with the abundance of these species. Additionally, abundance of these species decreased significantly both above and below certain high and low temperature thresholds. This data will help to better predict when mosquitoes will be the most prevalent, which could help control the mosquito population better. Funding Source: Phinizy Center for Water Sciences