The Relationship Between Changing Land Cover and Macroinvertebrate Diversity over Twenty Years in Choccolocco Creek, Northeast Alabama
Lori Tolley-Jordan, Biology
9:45-9:55am | Houston Cole Library, 11th Floor
Alabama rivers, creeks, and springs are considered a global hotspot of biodiversity. In this region, one stream that is an important diversity hotspot is Choccolocco Creek, one of the largest tributaries in the Coosa River drainage system. The headwaters of the creek begin in the Talladega National Forest in Cleburne County, and flows through Calhoun, Clay, and Talladega counties to the confluence with the Coosa River. One way that diversity can be measured is through identifying Aquatic macroinvertebrates (aquatic insects, mollusks, worms, and crustaceans) as these species are considered ‘canaries in the coal mine’ for detection of pollution and habitat degradation in freshwaters and are used as tools to determine stream health by the US EPA and state monitoring agencies. Choccolocco Creek is surrounded by a variety of land use that affects water quality and habitat. These include agriculture, urban, and industrial uses. Based on comparisons 2000 and 2011 survey of the creek, declines in macroinvertebrate diversity were detected and an ongoing survey (summer 2022 to spring 2023) as part of my master’s thesis will determine if declines are ongoing. In addition, changes in invertebrate diversity will be correlated to changing land use over the 23-year period using data made available by the National Land Use Land Cover land sat imagery. These long-term assessments of watersheds are critical for determining biodiversity changes due to stream degradation and results from this study will hopefully promote more interest in biodiversity in Alabama streams.
student research, biology
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Brown, Kindall, "The Relationship Between Changing Land Cover and Macroinvertebrate Diversity over Twenty Years in Choccolocco Creek, Northeast Alabama" (2023). JSU Student Symposium 2023. 27.