Crayfish of the Barrier Islands
Crayfishes are important components of freshwater systems, however little is known regarding the life history, population dynamics and genetic structuring of most crayfish species. Currently, we are attempting to employ molecular genetic techniques to elucidate the population structure and evolutionary history of freshwater crayfish across the barrier islands of Georgia. As crayfishes are increasingly being recognized as a cryptically diverse group, this research has the potential to identify evolutionary significant populations throughout the barrier islands. Such findings would have important implications for conservation planning and management throughout the barrier islands and coastal drainages.
Genetic Diversity of Hawaiian Tilapia
Given their fast growth rate, year round reproduction, ability to adapt to varying environmental conditions and resistance to a number of bacterial, viral and parasitic infections, tilapia are extensively farmed in tropical and subtropical areas around the world. Unfortunately, the same traits that make tilapia one of the most important species in aquaculture globally make them likely to flourish in areas where they have been introduced. Given this, the introduction of tilapia, intentionally and unintentionally, poses a potential risk for native biodiversity. The goal of our work is to conduct baseline assessments of the genetic diversity of cultured and feral populations of tilapia across the Hawaiian Islands.
Prevelance of Francisella noatunensis in Hawaiian Tilapia
Francisella noatunensis (Fno) is an emergent infectious disease that has been reported in both cultured and wild tilapia on the island of Oahu. Currently, Fno is thought to be restricted to the island of Oahu and the exporting of Oahu tilapia to other Hawaiian Islands is prohibited. However, findings of Fno in other fish species and feral populations of tilapia indicate that Fno may be present outside of Oahu. Given this, there is a growing need to assess the incidence of Fno infections in feral tilapia populations across the Hawaiian Islands.
Larval Development in the Hawaiian Shrimp
Anchialine ecosystems are coastal landlocked bodies of brackish waters that fluctuate with the tides due to simultaneous subterranean connections to both the ocean and freshwater aquifers. Unfortunately, little is known regarding the development of organisms that inhabit these unique environments. One organism endemic to these habitats is the Hawaiian shrimp, Halocaridina rubra. We are currently attempting to formally document the larval development of these shrimp utilizing the state-of-the-art Visionary Digital BK Plus imaging system here at Georgia College.