State Water Resources Research Institute Program


Project ID: 2009GA208B
Title: Assessing the impacts of a major wildfire in the Okefenokee Swamp on mercury levels in resident macroinvertebrates and mosquitofish
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2009
End Date: 2/28/2010
Congressional District: 10
Focus Categories: Wetlands, Drought, Toxic Substances
Keywords: mercury, invertebrates, mosquitofish
Principal Investigators: Batzer, Darold Paul (University of Georgia); Batzer, Darold Paul (University of Georgia)
Federal Funds: $ 18,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 36,001
Abstract: In June 2007, the most expansive wildfires in recorded history occurred in the Okefenokee Swamp of southeast Georgia, and more than 75% of that wetland burned. In terms of water quality, wildfires could have significant consequences because many wetlands, including the Okefenokee, are important sinks for mercury contaminants. My research assesses whether mercury levels in Okefenokee Swamp invertebrates have increased as a result of the 2007 wildfire. That goal can be achieved because I already have an expansive data set on mercury levels in Okefenokee invertebrates gathered from 1998 to 2000, and this data set can be used as a baseline to assess fire induced change. Thus far I have collected post-fire invertebrate samples in December 2007, May 2008, September 2008, and will collect samples in December 2008, as part of a 2008 GIWR grant. For this project, I would like to extend that sampling to include May 2009 and September 2009 to enable me to analyze a full two-year-long data set. A second goal of this new project is to expand sampling in May and September 2009 to include mosquitofish (Gambusia spp.) to begin to assess possible mercury bioaccumulation problems in the fish community of the Okefenokee.

Progress/Completion Report, 2008, PDF
Progress/Completion Report, 2009, PDF

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