The Science Seminar Series: March 14, 2013
FISH ASSEMBLAGE STRUCTURE IN LENTIC VEGETATED MICROHABITATS IN SOUTH GEORGIA
J. S. Salter Jr.
Department of Biology
Valdosta State University
Time: 4:00 -5:00pm
Aquatic vegetation provides multiple resources such as shelter, food, and breeding habitats for many fish species. Fishes that occupy habitats with similar ecological characteristics are described as fish assemblages. However, not all vegetation offers the same set of resources, and therefore, we hypothesized that not all fish assemblages that occupy aquatic vegetation are identical. Based on vegetated structure complexity occupying the water column, we predicted that submergent vegetation would contain the most diversity. This study involved an analysis of fish assemblages at 18 vegetated lentic sites in South Georgia. Total area, percent vegetated surface area coverage, water volume, and major plant species as well as other physicochemical data were recorded for each locality. Comparative analysis of each location was conducted using, Freidman test, Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and multiple linear regression analyses. Thirty-two fish species were collected across all sites, and significant differences in fish assemblages existed between sites. Defining factors related to assemblage structure was conductively and slope of the study site, but not surface area covered by vegetation as hypothesized. PCA identified Gambusia holbrooki, Leptolucania ommata, Elassoma zonatum, and Aphrododerus sayanus as principal species defining fish assemblage structure.