Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title



Invertebrates reproduce and adapt quickly which contributes to the success of this diverse group of organisms. The incredible diversity of aquatic macroinvertebrates poses a challenge when trying to identify specimens that might be used as environmental indicators. Aquatic invertebrates express different ranges of sensitivity to pollutants in their environment; therefore, the presence of certain invertebrates can be used to determine the health of a water system. The presence of less tolerant species in surface waters indicates good water quality. The state of Georgia has fourteen river basins, many of which provide drinking water and are used to fuel agricultural practices. The reliance on Georgia’s water systems make the health of these aquatic systems paramount for the state. Despite experiencing renowned aquatic biodiversity, many of the invertebrates found in Georgia are only identified to order or family level. With the long-term goal of creating a database of properly identified aquatic macroinvertebrates, a preliminary study was completed. Aquatic invertebrates were sampled from the Ocmulgee River, Lake Oconee, Lake Sinclair, the Oconee River, the Ohoopee River, the Ogeechee River, and Sapelo island using a D-net, yabbi-pump, and plankton net. Thirty-one species were identified using taxonomic keys available in the literature. Whole DNA was extracted from three individuals of each species and two genes were sequenced (18S rDNA and COI mitochondrial DNA) to aid in identification of the organisms. These data form the beginning of a database that can be used to supplement or assist future studies involving aquatic macroinvertebrates.


Georgia College Aquatic Science Center, GCSU Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences

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