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CONNECTING THE DOTS: A BASIC FOOD WEB OF THE LOWER OGEECHEE RIVER BASIN

The Ogeechee is a 5th order blackwater river that originates in the Piedmont and flows through Georgia’s Southeastern Coastal Plain. Although macroinvertebrate food webs have been extensively studied in the Ogeechee, few of these studies have integrated the role of fish. The goal of this study was to address this knowledge gap by including fish into food web estimates within the Ogeechee. We sampled five common fish species from June-October 2016 and developed a connectance food web to assess the dynamics of major fish feeding guilds in relation to the macroinvertebrate community present in the Ogeechee. In addition, we examined seasonal patterns in the diet of an important sport fish in the region, Redbreast Sunfish. Food web connectance, link density, and number of nodes present were 0.285, 31.87, and 112, respectively. Preliminary analyses of redbreast diets showed that stomach content composition differs significantly by season when prey items were grouped taxonomically, but not when grouped by prey habit. Our study is one of the first to construct a food web including fish in a coastal plain blackwater river.

Allison Lutz (Primary Presenter/Author), Georgia Southern University, al05988@georgiasouthern.edu;


Checo Colon-Gaud ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Georgia Southern University, jccolongaud@georgiasouthern.edu;