REDUCTION OF PROPORTIONS OF FRESHWATER DIATOMS DURING THE SAVANNAH HARBOR EXPANSION PROJECT IN PORT WENTWORTH, GA
Estuarine systems have naturally diverse niches and high biodiversity due to the constant change in hydrologic conditions. Anthropogenic alterations of the estuarine system are expected to cause changes in tidal height, influx of salt water, and sedimentation, along with the algal community. Baseline data before the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project began was obtained throughout 2011 by collecting mud samples along with physiochemical characteristics. Algal community indices were assessed with live to dead proportions of diatoms. Deposition of marine planktonic species and high amount of dead diatom frustules were documented. This project is evaluating the changes in algal communities as the alterations of the harbor are progressing. Samples were evaluated following standard protocols. In 2016, there was a reduction of live diatoms within the algal community of 59%, where diatoms were replaced with cyanobacteria and green coccid algae. Living algal species were classified as freshwater, marine, or brackish. Species richness in the cleaned (oxygenated and discarded organic matter) diatom community decreased by 15.3%. Due to dredging and sediment deposition, diatoms could be affected from increased turbidity, lower light availability, and higher temperature.
Alyssa Thomson (Primary Presenter/Author), Georgia College & State University , email@example.com;
Kalina Manoylov ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Georgia College and State University, firstname.lastname@example.org;