Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title



Biodiversity has a positive correlation with water quality of streams and can be used as a proxy for overall stream health. Benthic algae, as well as their richness in streams, can be important indicators of stream health. Diatoms in particular have little ability to move long distances, and their unique preferences and tolerances to specific environments make them an excellent ecological indicator. With this in mind, the purpose of this investigation was to quantify benthic algae richness in three sites in Raes Creek. This creek was chosen due to its proximity to neighborhoods and golf courses; as a result, the site closest to the neighborhood and golf course was expected to have the lowest abundance and species richness. A standard cinder block was placed in the creek approximately mid-channel in a sunny location and sampled once per month. Sampling included scraping the top portion of the cinderblock and a rock in the same location. Samples were brought back to the lab and placed in culture dishes. Identification, as well as abundance, of each genus were recorded. Data suggest that there is a diverse group of benthic algae and a large presence of Cocconeis at Berkman’s Road. This may indicate better water quality because this area is a conserved green space. East Vineland and Crane Creek have considerably less diversity as well as a larger presence of Ankistrodesmus. This may indicate poor water quality. Location may have played a factor in the differences found. Areas most likely impacted by organic pollution were determined to be Crane Creek and East Vineland Drive. Crane Creek runs through a heavily residential area and has a higher chance of disturbance. East Vineland Drive is downstream from a local golf course. The stream is possibly collecting fertilizer or pesticide runoff from the golf course.

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