Date of Award





Earth and Space Science - Environmental Science Track


Earth & Space Science

First Advisor

George E. Stanton


A descriptive survey of the West Georgia, Chattahoochee River drainage unionid bivalve fauna inhabiting Mountain Oak, Mulberry, Standing Boy, and Upatoi Creeks has been completed. The survey is intended to determine whether Unionidae populations remain extant in this portion of the Chattahoochee River drainage, and to estimate the abundance and distribution of species encountered. Accessibility sampling was employed; sites selected to be surveyed were usually located at a road bridge or some landmark easily identifiable for geographical positioning. Collecting methods included the use of a small rake in sandy or silty substrate, visual detection of siphons or trails in the soft sediment, manual probing in rocky substrates, and collection of shells from dead individuals on sand bars and overwash areas. Results from this survey were 494 specimens collected between August 1995, and the end of October 1996. Twelve Unionidae species and the Asiatic clam, Corbicula fluminea, comprised this collection. Each stream sampled contained Unionidae species, some species clearly inhabited restricted locations (ex. Elliptio arctata) and others (ex. Elliptio complanata) were widely distributed, reflecting eurytopic adaptations. The most common native Unionidae species encountered were Elliptio complanata and Villosa lienosa. Based on the best data available at this time, there is a range extension into the Chattahoochee River System of one species, Anodonta peggyae Johnson, 1965. Factors that appear to limit the distribution and abundance of Unionidae species include heavy siltation caused by anthropogenic stream-side activities, impoundments, and absence of specific habitat types or environmental conditions.