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Preventing the Introduction and Reducing the Spread of Invasive Aquatic Species in Coastal Georgia Through Research and a Public Awareness and Monitoring Campaign


PIs: Alan Power (Univ of Georgia Marine Extension Service)

Support: Georgia Coastal Management Program (through a Coastal Incentive Grant)

Timeframe: 2006 -

Project Objectives:

  • to conduct a comprehensive search for molluscan, polychaete, and crustacean species in the port of Brunswick to provide baseline information on native biodiversity, and on the presence, distribution and relative abundance of non-indigenous species 
  • to process fish samples collected from a prior port of Savannah survey (2003),
  • to conduct additional targeted sampling of fish species utilizing critical shallow water habitats in both ports, 
  • to develop a public outreach campaign to mobilize community action
    • to prevent new aquatic invasive species introductions (freshwater and marine)
    • to control the spread of and address impacts associated with those already documented in the coastal waterways of Georgia, thereby maintaining and protecting the natural diversity of native species and community functions. 

All data will be integrated with GIS technology, and disseminated to potential users. 

Accomplishments:

Port sampling was conducted in Savannah and Brunswick between May and July 2006.  In Brunswick 15 samples were taken from 'below port' and 'at port' sampling zones using each of the following gear types: sediment corer, crab trap, minnow trap, seine net, otter trawl, and tri-net trawl.  Sixteen Hester-Dendy fouling plates were also suspended off docks owned by the Georgia Port Authority (GPA) and allowed to soak for 6 weeks.  In Savannah 15 seine net and otter trawl samples were taken at each of three zones (below port, at port, and above port). 

Fact sheets illustrating priority invasives (requesting spotters to contact Marine Extension) were prepared for two aquatic invasive species:

  • A nonindigenous mussel Mytella charruana has appeared in Liberty and Camden County, GA and a fact sheet was created and distributed along the coast. 
  • A nonindigenous barnacle, Megabalanus coccopoma has also been discovered both inshore and offshore and again an awareness flyer was developed.  These factsheets are also attached.  Guidelines for the implementation of a volunteer monitoring program will not be developed until all our survey material has been identified and all priority species selected.  A school in Camden County has initiated a pilot volunteer invasive monitoring program using Hester Dendy plates.  They will collect and replace these on a quarterly basis and examine for unusual species. 

Publications:

See related project, Baseline Port Surveys for Introduced Marine Molluscan, Crustacean and Polychaete Species in the South Atlantic Bight


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This page was updated October 13, 2006