Front Entrance of Ruth Patrick Science and Education Center

RPSEC Environmental Science Award 2022

Ruth Patrick Science Education Center

Congratulations to Judah Breland from Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School, Augusta, GA, recipient of the 2022 Ruth Patrick Science and Education Center Environmental Science Award.

The 2022 CSRA Regional Science and Engineering Fair was held as a virtual science fair from March 9-12. There were nearly 150 projects from CSRA schools in this virtual fair. Each year, the RPSEC presents an environmental science award in honor of Dr. Ruth Patrick. Dr. Patrick pioneered work in the study of fresh water ecosystems and developed methods for measuring the health of these systems.

2022 Breland

Title of Project

"Impact of Trout stocking on macroinvertebrates in the Toccoa River"

Abstract

The purpose of this project was to sample various macroinvertebrates and conduct water chemistry along the Toccoa River and Sandy Bottoms. My mission was to see if the predation of the delayed harvest in Sandy Bottoms affected the macroinvertebrate population. To analyze the sampling information, I utilized the Simpson’s Diversity Index and Pollution Tolerance Index. My hypothesis was that the macroinvertebrate population would be more abundant and diverse in the Toccoa where there wasn’t a delayed harvest, because there was a smaller trout population to put selective pressure on the aquatic bugs. Therefore, more macroinvertebrates will be present. As spring approaches and the air begins to warm, the macroinvertebrate population would become more active and therefore more abundant in our second trip (2/21/22) compared to our first trip (12/12/21). For both sites we utilized the same procedures in chronological order: the recording of water chemistry, utilization of waders, boots, and nets to help with the sampling process, selected a riffle along the stream, sampled macroinvertebrates above and below vegetation sites using the kick-seining method, and analyzed and recorded the various samples caught before safely dumping them back into the water. The data was consistent in presenting an influence of predation on the macroinvertebrates within both streams. Although the first sample was after the release of trout, the data shows that it takes time to display selective pressure on the aquatic bugs. Accompany that with good water conditions and there will be an increase in macroinvertebrates. However, the second date proves my hypothesis correct. Because of the trout population, there is a decrease in diversity within the macroinvertebrates. However, there is an increase in abundance in the second trip, which may relate to the seasonal changes, as winter is coming to an end. Thus, the bugs are more active and are starting to get prepared for summer time.