Ecology and Environmental Sciences

By Stanton, David | Michigan Academician, Winter 2009 | Go to article overview

Ecology and Environmental Sciences


Stanton, David, Michigan Academician


The abstracts were edited by section leader David Stanton.

Genetic Variation in Great Lakes Zebra Mussels (Dreissena polymorpha). Adeline Bauer and David J. Stanton, Saginaw Valley State University, Department of Biology

Zebra mussels are an invasive species introduced into the Great Lakes from Europe in 1986. Since then, they have spread aggressively throughout the eastern United States and have had a significant impact on Great Lakes ecology and biodiversity. Samples have been taken from many sites throughout the Great Lakes in order to assess genetic diversity and population substructure in Michigan. Tissue from over one thousand samples has been frozen over the past five years. DNA was extracted from frozen samples and PGR was used in order to amplify specific portions of the cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) gene in the mitochondrial genome. PCR products were sequenced using a CEQ 8000 automated DNA analysis system from Beckman-Coulter. Sequence comparisons between populations allow for assessment of genetic variation. The data can also be analyzed in order to determine if other 5 species such as the quagga mussel (Dreissena burgenensis) is present at the study sites. We are also currently developing an independent data set using DNA fingerprinting that will allow us to confirm and extend our findings. The preliminary results indicate that these techniques will provide a virtually unlimited source of genetic markers for the study of natural populations of zebra mussels in the Great Lakes. Such data will not only be useful in assessing population substructure, but should also prove to be invaluable in the evaluation of bioremediation efforts.

Genetic Variation in Michigan Migratory Waterfowl- Christi Raines, Gail Kantak and David J. Stanton, Saginaw Valley State University, Department of Biology

Migratory waterfowl are an important component of the ecosystem and an important recreational resource in Michigan. The long-term viability of these populations depends in part on the degree of genetic variation found in the populations. This in turn depends on demographic parameters and details of the breeding structure. In order to assess genetic diversity, DNA fingerprinting was performed. DNA was extracted from feathers using a Qiagen DN easy kit. Templates were amplified by PCR using primers to highly polymorphic loci. Products were checked on agarose gels and sized using the CEQ 8000 form Beckman Coulter in order to determine genotype. The preliminary results indicate that this technique will provide a virtually unlimited number of genetic markers that should allow for the assessment and monitoring of genetic diversity in these populations. In addition, we are developing an independent data set consisting of mitochondrial DNA sequences. This should allow for another assessment of genetic diversity and should also allow for testing of hypotheses concerning maternal lineages and possible hybridization events.

Response of the Macroinvertebrate Community to Channel Reestablishment in the Lower Boardman River, Michigan. Jane E. Louwsma, Calvin College, Biology Department

It is well-documented that the introduction of a dam into a river system has negative impacts on stream ecology, due to sedimentation and other habitat alterations. In the summer of 2007, a dam on the Boardman River, Grand Traverse County, Michigan, was lowered 17 feet, resulting in reestablishment of the river channel immediately upstream of the dam. This study assessed the recovery of the macroinvertebrate community in the reestablished channel in comparison with a natural channel located 5 miles further upstream. Sampling was conducted at the upstream site (Shumsky Road) and the restored downstream site (Lone Pine) on June 12 and 26, 2008. Macroinvertebrate samples were identified to genus level, and all individuals were distinguished as morphospecies for purposes of biodiversity analysis. At the natural upstream site, a more dense and species rich macroinvertebrate community (48 morphospecies) was observed. …

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