Jeff Pollock photo  


Research Interests: Aquatic Biodiversity and Land Use

Entry into IGERT Program: Fall 2000
Graduation Date:  December 2008 (Ph.D.)
Professional Address:



B.S. Ecology, 2000
University of Georgia

Graduate Committee:

Dr. Art Benke (UA), Major Advisor
Dr. Keller Suberkropp (UA)
Dr. Amy Ward (UA)
Dr. Milton Ward (UA)
Dr. Manuel Molles (UNM)


I formed a collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) regional office in Atlanta, GA. I lived in the Atlanta area during summer, 2003, and investigated biodiversity of aquatic insects in urban streams in Atlanta. During my externship, I also accessed large data sets from the USGS, including GIS information, that provided additional insights for my investigations. This study provided complementary data for my dissertation project that includes streams and rivers in Alabama and is addressing aquatic insect biodiversity and function in these mostly pristine lotic habitats. This project also complemented on-going urban stream studies by the USGS in the Atlanta area.


My research interests generally lie within the scope of stream ecology. Currently, my research is focused on discerning a relationship between stream macroinvertebrate secondary production and biodiversity. To this end, 15 streams ranging from second to third order have been chosen in national forests in Alabama. Eight of these sights are located in the piedmont region of the state, and seven are located on the coastal plain. Artificial substrate samplers are used to collect invertebrates in each of these streams. These samplers are allowed to colonize for 5 weeks, before the invertebrates are collected, identified, and measured. Primary production is also being measured in all of the sites to see the relationship between primary production and macroinvertebrate biodiversity. Additional parameters that are being measured because of their potential influence on macroinvertebrate production and diversity include stream discharge, nutrient levels, stream temperature, dissolved oxygen, total suspended solids, ash-free dry mass, pH, seston chlorophyll a, and alkalinity. Ideally, these parameters will vary minimally between national forest sites.

Beginning in summer 2003, I will begin research in urban Atlanta, Georgia streams. The research methods will be identical to the current study, but the goals will be slightly different. The first goal will be to show how human land use impacts the natural relationship between macroinvertebrate biodiversity and secondary production. This study will also take place in streams that had been previously studied in the mid 1970's using similar methods. Because of this, a second goal will be to demonstrate the impact of 25 years of human impact on stream biodiversity. Because of the variability of land use in these systems, the additional parameters that are measured (pH, nutrients, etc.) will hopefully help explain some of the variability in macroinvertebrate diversity and production.

The final component of my research will take place in New Mexico streams. This portion is still subject to reconsideration, but current plans are to carry out the same type of study in an arid environment. This different climate could greatly impact the levels of production and diversity in stream invertebrates, and could lead to a different type of production-diversity relationship than is seen in Alabama.