GBTA has undertaken numerous ecological surveys of estuarine, intertidal and shallow subtidal habitats from several coastal locations in support of baseline ecological and conservation assessments. Intertidal and shallow subtidal habitats including sand and mudflats can support rich invertebrate communities and are important habitats for feeding birds (wildfowl and waders) and fish. Estuaries along the margins of the Gulf of Mexico serve as an invaluable nursery area for myriad numbers of larger organisms including several commercially important species. The benthos in these areas harbor important organisms that recycle nutrients and provide energy to foraging predators such as crabs and juvenile fish.
These ecologically sensitive areas are occasionally affected by such human activities as crude oil spills, stranded tar balls and the removal and re-deposition of sediment, as in beach renourishment and the dredging of harbors and ship channels. These activities have immediate and often long-term impacts on benthic community structure. GBTA can provide assessment of impacts on the infaunal populations by comparing the affected benthic community structure to a similar non-effected area or to an existing historic database.
Macrobenthic Taxonomy Assessment
GBTA specializes in the extraction of macrofaunal benthic specimens from samples collected from the environment and classifying them to the lowest possible taxonomic level, usually species. Macrofauna, those organisms retained on a 0.5 mm sieve, are typically larger infaunal and epifaunal organisms that serve as prey items for larger animals such as juvenile fish and other bottom-feeding animals. Examples are most polychaete worms, mollusks and several groups of small crustaceans. Material thus obtained is useful in characterizing an environment in terms of its species richness, diversity, density and biomass.
Compiled data is used to provide to the client
- A comprehensive phylogenetic species list
- Indices of community diversity including species diversity (H' Shannon-Wiener index), richness and dominance
- Spatial and temporal comparison of sample areas using standard statistical procedures (depending on initial sample design)
Taxonomic Quality Control
Organizations that perform taxonomic analyses rely on outside confirmation of specimen identification as a standard procedure for quality control. GBTA provides this service based on years of experience with various taxonomic groups.
GBTA operates on an hourly, per job, or per sample basis. Fees are negotiable depending on the size and duration of the project and its location. Contact us for an estimate.