Friday, February 13, 2015

Swamped with Science - Wetland Ecology at Andalusia Farm

Wetlands are complex and fragile ecosystems that provide numerous roles in the environment. And Andalusia Farm provides just that with a welcoming and diverse study site available. As a student in wetland ecology at Georgia College, I have the privilege of conducting valuable research at a Milledgeville landmark. However, my focus will be on the hidden beauty behind Andalusia.

Located on the west side of the property is Tobler Creek, which has been historically documented as one of the "rum-running" creeks in the 18th century. However, we seek to document this area by researching the surrounding wetlands caused by the flooding of Tobler Creek. Why is this important? Wetlands contain the highest diversity of plants and animals! (And I was lucky enough to observe a peafowl for the first time at Andalusia, by the way.)

We will be collaborating on a wide variety of topics regarding this wetland area. There will be groups focusing on hydrology and soils, animal and plant diversity, and water chemistry. These topics all require fieldwork, which is very enjoyable at Andalusia. The guided path from the pond to the picturesque bridge makes it easy to explore without getting too lost in the wilderness. By visiting the study site, gathering samples, and conducting fieldwork we will be able to learn in a more than perfect environment. For example, I will be researching the invasive plant species and the potential to decrease biodiversity at Andalusia. By gathering this information over the next few months, we can help protect yet another beautiful aspect of Andalusia Farm.

The wetlands of Andalusia Farm are host to a diverse habitat.
-- Seth Whitehouse is a native Georgian, hailing from Alpharetta. He's a senior at Georgia College and State University, and pursuing a degree in Biology. He plans to use his degree to focus on environmental conservation and research in the future. He visits Andalusia throughout the year for his course with Dr. Christine Mutiti, Lecturer of Biology at GCSU.

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