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Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Chair: Clifford Ochs, University of Mississippi

Vice-chair: David Beckett, University of Southern Mississippi

FRIDAY MORNING

Atlantic

8:50 Introduction Clifford Ochs, University of Mississippi

9:00 DETERMINING ORIGINS OF THE DISJUNCT POPULATIONS OF SOUTHERN REDBELLY DACE IN WESTERN MISSISSIPPI USING MOLECULAR DATA

Brian R. Kreiser* and William T. Slack, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39406, and Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, Jackson, MS 39202

Southern redbelly dace (Phoxinus erythrogaster), despite their name, are most abundant from Minnesota to New York and southwards to the Central Highlands. Disjunct populations are found to the west in Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas and to the south in Mississippi. In Mississippi, disjunct populations are located in the western portion of the state in the Yazoo River drainage as well as in the southwest part of the state (Clark Creek). The goal of this project was to characterize the population genetic structure of P. erythrogaster in western Mississippi in order to test biogeographic hypotheses and to assess the extent of genetic differentiation among populations. We sequenced a portion of the mitochondrial ND5 gene for representatives from Mississippi as well as for individuals from populations across the range. The western Mississippi populations were found to represent two distinct clades with populations from the Yazoo drainage in one clade and the population from Clark Creek in the other. The close relationship between the Ozarks and western Mississippi populations suggests an origin by movement down the Mississippi River rather than dispersal through a historic connection with the Tennessee River.

9:15 COMPLETE MITOCHONDRIAL DNA SEQUENCE OF THE CYTOCHROME C OXIDASE SUBUNIT I (COI) FROM THE BLUE CRAB (CALLINECTES SAPIDUS)

Richard Darden* and Brian R. Kreiser, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39406

The complete sequence of the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI) gene has been identified. The 1,533 nucleotide sequence codes for a 511 amino acid peptide. The CsapCOI is A + T rich (61.99%) and the codon usage is highly biased toward a preference for A- or T-ending triplets. The C. sapidus COI amino acid sequence shows high homology with several other crustacean sequences and phylogenetic analysis indicates that the C. sapidus sequence is closely related to C. similis and C. exasperatus. Comparisons of the nucleotide sequence for C. sapidus individuals from the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of North America revealed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), with 33 nucleotide sites showing SNPs between individuals. Most variation, 21 nucleotide sites, occurred within a 700 bp portion at the 5' end of the sequence. With only two exceptions, all SNPs occurred as synonymous transitions such that the peptide sequence is conserved among C. sapidus individuals.

9:30 AN INVESTIGATION OF NUTRIENT LOADING ON ALGAL GROWTH IN A MISSISSIPPI FARM POND

Kevin H. Wyatt* and George F. Pessoney, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39406

Twelve clear-plastic boxes were suspended in a farm pond to determine the effects of nutrient loading on algal growth. Each box was filled with 12 l of water and 1 in (5 lb) of sediment from the pond. The boxes were attached to a Styrofoam flotation device and suspended inside a floating chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) frame. The frame was anchored in 4 ft of water and allowed to move 360 degrees within the pond. Phosphorus ([K.sub.2]HP[O.sub.4]), Lime (CaC[O.sub.3]) and a suspension of Lemna were then added in various concentrations to each experimental box. Two boxes served as a control and contained only pond water and sediment. After a ten-week period, samples were collected from each container to determine treatment effects. Biomass was quantified as dry weight (DW) and algae were identified to genera. The data revealed that lime substantially increased biomass, whereas phosphate did not. Lemna did not have an apparent allelopathic effect on algal growth. Algal genera Spirogyra and Oedogonium dominated all containers. An additional ten-week experiment is in progress and additional results will be discussed.

9:45 COMPARATIVE POPULATION DYNAMICS OF PERIDINIUM (DINOPHYCEAE) SPECIES IN A NORTHERN MISSISSIPPI LAKE

Andy Canion* and Clifford Ochs, University of Mississippi, University, MS 38677

The temporal and spatial variations of four species of the freshwater dinoflagellate genus Peridinium were measured in a small lake in northern Mississippi (Boondoggle Lake) over a period of 16 months. Water samples were taken from depths of 0.25 m, 1 m, and 2 m (anoxic during summer) on each sampling date. Environmental factors measured included pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, nutrient concentrations and turbidity. Dinoflagellates were enumerated using light microscopy and species confirmed by SEM, according to the conventional taxonomic method of thecal plate pattern comparison. There were varied temporal patterns of maximum population density for each species. Population data were also examined with respect to the measured environmental factors to determine correlative relationships between the abiotic environment and population density. The results obtained suggest a seasonal succession of the different Peridinium species due to seasonal environmental change, competition, or a combination of these variables.

10:00 Divisional Poster Session

TREE-ROOSTS OF CORYNORHINUS RAFINESQUII, RAFINESQUE'S BIG-EARED BAT, IN SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI

Austin W. Trousdale* and David C. Beckett, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39406

Most ecological studies of Corynorhinus rafinesquii have been based on populations that primarily used caves or manmade structures (e.g., abandoned buildings) as roosts. However, this species also utilizes cavities of trees, which are thought to be the historical day-roosts of C. rafinesquii in the Gulf Coastal Plain. Previous studies suggest that tree cavities have a finite "lifespan" as suitable roosts for bats and are generally restricted in distribution. Because knowledge of tree use by C. rafinesquii, a species of concern throughout its range, was scanty, the goals of this study were to identify and describe treeroosts of C. rafinesquii in DeSoto National Forest, Mississippi. Using radiotelemetry to locate trees used by bats that we captured, we characterized roosts using both qualitative and quantitative variables specific to the individual tree and to its surrounding habitat. Of twelve tree-roosts that we located, eight were Nyssa sp. and four were Magnolia grandiflora. Roost trees were relatively large (mean DBH = 78 cm), nine were alive, and most possessed "trunk hollows" rather than basal openings. Most trees were located < 20 m from a stream; five trees were located directly beside the main channel. Five trees were used by multiple radiotagged individuals. Short-term roost fidelity (measured in days) was generally low, but several bats returned to the same tree multiple times during the session that they were monitored. Some trees were also re-used by C. rafinesquii over a number of years.

Divisional Talks

10:15 MULTIPLE INTERACTION EFFECTS OF PHYSICAL, CHEMICAL, AND BIOLOGICAL FACTORS ON PHYTOPLANKTON PRODUCTIVITY IN MODEL WETLANDS

F.E. Ogbebo, Clifford Ochs*, C.A. Britson, and S.T. Threlkeld, University of Mississippi, University, MS 38677

The effects of solar UV, agrichemicals, nutrient loading, turbidity, and fish on algal primary productivity were examined in a seven-week experiment of factorial design in 500-L outdoor mesocosms during summer, 2000. There was a main UV effect on primary productivity on three of the four days of sampling. We found several UV-related two-way interaction effects. We assessed UV exposure in the mesocosms using a DNA repair-deficient strain of Escherichia coli. This biological dosimeter is designed for use in aquatic environments to evaluate UV penetration in water. We found a strong correlation between UV levels and percent survival of dosimeter cells from the two different water depths. With possible continued increases of UV radiation in temperate regions due to ozone depletion, an increased understanding of the interaction of UV and multiple stressors in freshwater ecosystems constitutes a timely and important problem.

10:30 RECRUITMENT OF THE PUBLIC FOR A SURVEY OF THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE GREEN CUBAN BANANA ROACH (PANCHLORA NIVEA) IN MISSISSIPPI

John D. Davis* and Scott Peyton, Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, Jackson MS 39202

The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science has recruited the public in studying the distribution of Panchlora nivea in this state. This tropical roach became established in Florida in the 1970s and has colonies in Texas. Seven Mississippi records for P. nivea have been published, mostly from coastal areas. On July 28 a gravid female was brought to the MMNS from Pearl Mississippi, Rankin County, first recorded from the Jackson area. This offered an opportunity to determine how effective the public might be in surveying the distribution of an easily recognized insect. On September 2 a description and the MMNS address were placed in the statewide Clarion Ledger. A Jackson television newscast, a college and alternative newspaper and an internet "blog" also gave this information. Citizens brought specimens from rural Walthal County (Sept. 5), Laurel in Jones County (Sept. 6), and South Jackson in Hinds County (Sept. 12). There are no published records from these locations. A total of seven contacts was made, of which three were katydids and stinkbugs. Four were from women and three from men. None of the respondents was under 25. At a meeting of primary and secondary teachers at MMNS, 27 of 56 (48%) stated that they had been made aware of the roach hunt by the media.

10:45 ANALYSIS OF FRESHWATER SAND-DWELLING CHIRONOMID LARVAE IN DISTURBED AND RELATIVELY UNDISTURBED BLACKWATER STREAMS

Robert C. Fitch* and David C. Beckett, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39406

Freshwater sand-dwelling chironomid larvae were studied in the summer of 2002 in six blackwater streams in Southern Mississippi. Three of the streams were in relatively undisturbed habitats and the other three streams were in disturbed habitats affected by either non-point source pollution, point source pollution, or both. Sand core samples were taken randomly within three sites per stream (five samples per site; fifteen samples total per stream), and chironomid larvae were identified to the lowest possible taxon. Rheosmitia sp. composed 20-80% of the larval chironomid population in the undisturbed streams, whereas the three disturbed streams had three different dominant taxa (i.e., Polypedilum scalaenum group, Tanytarsus sp. P, and Dicrotendipes sp.) and low percentages of Rheosmittia sp. Taxon richness, total number of organisms, and species diversities were variable among the streams. However, polar ordination based on percentage similarity showed that the three disturbed streams clustered together. The three relatively undisturbed streams also formed a cluster distant from that of the disturbed streams. This study may indicate that Rheosmittia dominates sandy substrates in blackwater streams that are relatively unpolluted. Furthermore, freshwater sand-dwelling chironomids may serve as indicators of ecological disturbance.

11:00 THE HISTORY OF ALABAMA SHAD ITS LIFE STAGES WITHIN THE PASCAGOULA BASIN

Paul Mickle* and Brian R. Kreiser, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39406

Information about the history of the Alabama Shad, Alosa alabamae, and its presence along the Gulf coast is limited. Although the species is not listed as threatened or endangered, declines in populations have raised concerns and projects are currently underway to conduct stock assessments within the rivers that they reproduce in. The Pascagoula drainage is unique in that it is the only undamed major waterway in the lower forty eight states. Within my beginning field season, the first year Alabama Shad have been caught in summer holding areas. The type of habitat that the fish appear to be using is a combination of heavy current and a clear current break that has a defined edge. The spawning grounds have not yet been documented but several sites are labeled as candidates. Adults are caught entering the river January through March on their way to the spawning grounds. Understanding the life stages of the Alabama Shad and its habitat in the river will provide crucial information toward conservation.

11:15 Break

11:30 PRELIMINARY REPORT ON DETERMINING RANGE WIDE STOCK STRUCTURE IN THE ALABAMA SHAD, ALOSA ALABAMAE, (JORDAN & EVERMANN 1896): CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT IMPLICATIONS FOR AN ANADROMOUS SPECIES

Bryant R. Bowen*, Brian R. Kreiser, and Stephen T. Ross, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39406

Anthropogenic affects on the environment have caused population declines for many species and here in Mississippi we have anadromous fish populations that are suffering from these effects. Some of these impacts include, but are not limited to, eutrophication, nonnutrient loading, overfishing, exotic species invasions, loss of essential habitat, and the degradation of the watershed. The goal of my research is to use mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and microsatellite markers to determine the phylogeographic relationships among Alabama shad populations, thus determining if drainage specific stocks exist. Genetic techniques have proven to be a useful tool in conservation biology by delimiting stock structure in other anadromous species such as salmon and sturgeon, as well as the closely related American shad (A. sapidissima). One aspect of my project is to assess stock structure through sequencing and restriction fragment length polymorphisms of mtDNA. The second part of my project is to employ microsatellite markers. Based on the literature, five regions of the mitochondrial genome have been targeted: the cytochrome b gene, control region (D-Loop), NADH dehydrogenase 5 and cytochrome oxidase I (COI). Of these we have successfully amplified and sequenced portions of the cytochrome b gene and the D-Loop region. For the microsatellite analyses we have established that published primers for A. sapidissima work well for A. alabamae. Understanding the structure of populations of A. alabamae will help identify unique diverse populations for management concerns and help estimate the health of populations and ecosystems that this species inhabits.

11:45 SIZE-CLASS DISTRIBUTION OF NORTHERN DIAMONDBACK TERRAPINS (MALACLEMYS TERRAPIN TERRAPIN) WITHIN A NORTH EAST ATLANTIC SALT MARSH ESTUARY

Thomas Mohrman* and Roger C. Wood, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39406, and Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

The diamondback terrapin, Malaclemys terrapin, has a geographic range confined to salt marshes extending along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. Unfortunately, little is known about the distribution or other aspects of the biology of juvenile terrapins in any portion of their range. In August and September, 2002, field work on a population of northern diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin terrapin) from the Cape May Peninsula of southernmost New Jersey resulted in the discovery of a small creek heavily used by juvenile terrapins. Sampling in this creek resulted in the capture of 64 individuals, all juveniles with the exception of one adult female. Similar sampling efforts in an adjacent creek resulted in a population representing all growth stages (juveniles, subadults, and adults). Reasons for the differing population characteristics in these superficially similar, adjacent creeks are unclear. Further fieldwork is required to determine whether creeks inhabited only by juveniles are a typical characteristic of diamondback terrapin populations.

FRIDAY AFTERNOON

Atlantic

1:15 GOPHER TORTOISE HATCHING SUCCESS IN SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI

Krista Noel*, and Carl Qualls, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39406

This study focuses on hatching success in DeSoto National Forest, one of the gopher tortoises' last strongholds in the western portion of its range. Previous studies have found low recruitment here, largely due to low hatching success of tortoise eggs. This ongoing study seeks to determine the causes of this low hatching success. In 2002 and 2003, hatching success was compared between eggs that were artificially incubated and incubated under natural conditions. Hatching success for eggs incubated under favorable conditions in the laboratory was ~60% in 2002 and 2003, compared to hatching success of 6% (2002) and 16.5% (2003) for eggs that remained in natural nests. This suggests that, as many as 40% of the eggs had intrinsic problems, while 60% were capable of successful development. However, hatching success was much lower in nests, suggesting that something about the nest environments was unsuitable for successful hatching. In addition to monitoring hatching success in natural nests, several aspects of the nest environment were quantified (including nest location and orientation, tree canopy cover, depth of eggs, soil type, ground cover vegetation, nest temperature, and rainfall), to search for environmental factors that are correlated with hatching success. No single factor appears to be responsible for the failure of eggs to hatch in nests, but nest temperature multivariate analysis suggests that nest temperature, egg depth, soil composition, and vegetation cover may all play a role.

1:30 DIFFERENCES IN TEMPORAL PATTERNING OF MALE COURTSHIP FIND ACTION BEHAVIORS BED AND WITHIN SYMPATRIC POPULATIONS OF THE SALTICID JUMPING SPIDERS ZYGOBALLUS RUFIPES AND ZYGOBALLUS NERVOSUS

John D. Davis, 1718 Hillview Drive, Jackson MS 39211

Zygoballus rufipes and Z. nervosus are closely related spiders with complex visual courtship displays typical of salticids. Such displays presumably act as isolating mechanisms as well as sexual signals. Four male Z. rufipes and four male Z. nervosus were taken from sympatric populations at the same time. Courtship responses to females were recorded on 16 mm film at 48 frames per second. Analysis was made with a frame counting projector. A "unit" of the display was defined as the interval from legs 1 being raised fully to return to this raised position. Such units are repeated after courtship begins until the male reaches the female. In Z. rufipes first legs are raised 90 degrees; in Z. nervosus 60 degrees. Zygoballus rufipes brings tips of the legs together in the next movement while Z. nervosus moves them apart. Zygoballus rufipes makes a direct approach; Z. nervosus "sidles" 10 units from the same distance from the female were timed for both species. Zygoballus rufipes averaged 0.60 seconds/unit with individuals averaging from 0.33 to 1.14 seconds. Zygoballus nervosus averaged 0.93 seconds with individuals averaging from 0.72 to 1.18 seconds. Courtship displays therefore varied between species in posture, approach, and timing. Within species, there was little variation in posture and approach, but considerable variation in timing. Possible significance of these displays as isolating mechanisms will be discussed.

1:45 ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT OF JACKSON STATE UNIVERSITY

Cristina C. Nica*, Elgenaid Hamadain, and Pao-Chiang Yuan, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS 39217

There is little doubt regarding the importance of understanding the effect of human influence on ecosystems. According to the scientific literature, we consume over 40 percent of the net primary productivity on Earth each year. Despite the fact that human influence is arguably the most important factor affecting life of all kinds in today's world, the environmental problems are, in most cases, difficult to be assess. The Ecological Footprint (EF), a notion first introduced in 1996 by Martens, is a tool that helps people assess more clearly the effect of human activity on the planet and what can be done about it. Communities, nongovernmental organizations, business and governments can use Ecological Footprint assessments to create strategies for a sustainable development. The purpose of this paper is twofold: First, to assess the Ecological Footprint for Jackson State University, the urban university of Mississippi; and secondly, to predict the impact of a new administrative policy at a medium sized university; i.e., denying freshmen and sophomores the privilege of bringing cars to campus. Using the EF of the University, it was demonstrated that there is a significant difference in the environmental impact due to reducing car traffic on campus. The data were collected based on surveys and university statistics and processed using "Redefining Progress Organization" and CampCalc software for calculating the EF. The paper also makes use of GIS techniques for mapping and SAS software for statistical calculation. The paper will demonstrate the importance of using EF to plan for future campus development and create an urban campus that is aesthetically and ecologically balanced.

2:00 AN UPDATE OF THE CHECKLIST OF MYXOMYCETES IN MISSISSIPPI

Katie Winsett* and Lucile McCook, University of Mississippi, University, MS 38677

Myxomyetes, or slime molds, are small, eukaryotic organisms that are now classified in the Kingdom Protista. The Pullen Herbarium (MISS) at the University of Mississippi has a collection of approximately 2000 specimens from every region of the state that were collected by Dr. Donald Russell. This collection was previously used to prepare the Checklist of Myxomycetes from Mississippi in 1968. The specimens were databased and the checklist was updated using the literature, other collections, and the collection at the Pullen Herbarium. County level distribution maps for myxomycete species were produced and GIS technology was used to investigate spatial patterns of distribution for these organisms. This information was compared to ecological data for the areas to determine if the known distributions are due to collection bias or differences in the habitats sampled.

2:15 Divisional Business Meeting
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Publication:Journal of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences
Date:Jan 1, 2004
Words:3384
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