Southeast Volusia Audubon Society, P.O. Box 46, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32170;

January 2011 Speaker

Our January 2011 speaker will be Dr. Kirsten Work, Associate Professor at Stetson University.

Dr. Work has been an aquatic biologist at Stetson University for the ten years.  She received her initial aquatic training on Wisconsin and Alaskan zooplankton and fish at the Universities of Wisconsin and Washington.  From there, she traveled south to study an exotic zooplankton species in Oklahoma and finally ended up working on Lake Okeechobee for South Florida Water Management District as a postdoc.  Since her arrival in Central Florida, she has worked on algal, invertebrate and fish ecology in local springs and lakes.  Currently, she is studying an exotic armored catfish in Volusia Blue Spring and zooplankton diets in local lakes.

The number and diversity of aquatic organisms, and a significant proportion of terrestrial organisms, is based on bacterial and algal production.  Bacteria and algae use available nutrients to grow and divide, providing cells on which more complex species can graze.  These bacteria and algae may occur floating in the water as plankton, where they are grazed primarily by zooplankton, or they may occur in rich communities attached to aquatic plants and other structure.  These attached cells may be grazed by a wide variety of invertebrates, such as microscopic crustaceans, microscopic worms, insect larvae, and snails, or by herbivorous fish.  These grazers, in turn, are consumed by larger vertebrates, such as larger fish, turtles, snakes, and birds.  Therefore, even terrestrial birds, such as hawks, that may only feed at wetlands, rivers, lakes opportunistically are supported by the countless tiny bacteria and algae that proliferate in these bodies of water.  

Land use changes can affect the architecture of nesting, roosting, and feeding sites for all birds.  However, land use changes also can affect the nutrient content and, in turn, the bacterial and algal density and diversity, of bodies of water.  Changes in bacterial and algal populations can affect the density and diversity of the fish on which many wading, swimming, and diving birds feed.  

Come and bring a friend.