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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

AN ASSESSMENT OF ALGAL COMMUNITES IN WETLANDS LOCATED ABOVE AND BELOW THE GEORGIA FALL LINE

Abstract

Wetlands are important aquatic habitats that provide a variety of ecosystem services beneficial to all organisms. These services include improving water quality, storing excess water during floods, and maintaining global climate conditions through several nutrient cycles. Algae are an integral part of aquatic habitats as essential primary producers and important bioindicators of water quality alterations. This study was conducted as an assessment of water quality based on algal biomass in wetlands north (the Piedmont Plateau) and south (Coastal Plain) of the Fall Line. One wetland from each region was selected and compared based on mineral contents, nutrient availability, organic material, primary production, and hydrologic properties based on its soils physical and chemical makeup. YSI and BenthoTorch measurements were taken in the field, and algal samples were collected and analyzed in the lab for Chlorophyll α concentrations using bbe AlgaeGuard. Comparisons between wetlands and between measurements of primary production in the field and in the lab were evaluated with two-sample Hotelling’s T-square tests. Based on the physical parameters tested, the wetlands were significantly different only in dissolved oxygen (p<0.001, but were not different in pH (p=0.297), conductivity (p=0.097) and temperature (p=0.882). Total chlorophyll a measured in the lab was not significantly different (p=0.171), but due to significant difference in Si (p=0.027), K (p=0.004) and hardness (p=0.008) there were different algal compositions in each wetland. Green algae dominated algal community in the Babe and Sage farm wetland (south of the Fall line), due to higher nutrient content exposure. The Bartram forest wetland, north of the Fall line had lower sunlight exposure, was further from human activities, and primary production was dominated by diatoms.

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