Robert S Prezant
Recent graduate student theses and undergraduate research projects have included:
1. A comparative GIS survey of the distribution and environmental correlates of the Asian clam Corbicula flumina.
2. Diphenhydramine Influences on the Development and Hatching of Freshwater Pulmonate Snails
3. Diversity of near shore benthic invertebrates from Long Island Sound (NY) with comparisons to historical surveys
4. The influence of hard clam "grow out" aquaculture on associated biodiversity.
BENTHIC BIODIVERSITY IN LAKE WAPALANNE, NJ SCHOOL OF CONSERVATION, STOKES STATE PARK, NEW JERSEY.
The hydro-raking of Lake Wapalane in 2009 to control invasive Eurasian milfoil, represented a unique opportunity to examine successional re-development of benthic communities in a contained, man-made lentic system. With similar efforts to control nonindigenous flora in northern New Jersey ponds and lakes, it become imperative for us to better understand the established communities that are extant and then the successional post-impact communities. We are currently determining the baseline macrobenthic fauna of Lake Wapalane while monitoring restructuring of the community post various natural and human induced lake events. Cluster analyses will help determine populations and re-establishment of populations within the benthic communities through time.
BRONX RIVER EPIFOULING.
As part of a larger study supported by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and aimed at mitigating the long neglected and deeply polluted Bronx River, an effort is being made to successfully use filter feeding organisms to help cleanse the river water. As part of this research, Dr. Carter Newell, aquaculturist from Maine, has submerged various arrays with hopes that these serve as new homes for filter-feeding mussels and tunicates. Our laboratory has been contracted to do the epibiotic biodiversity survey. Organisms that range from clams to worms, beach fleas to pillbugs, and sea spiders to barnacles have been identified and quantified. This work will continue through the coming year.
THE SHELL MICROSTRUCTURE OF LANTERN SHELLS FROM THAILAND.
Lantern shells are poorly known thin shelled clams found in shallow to deep ocean muds and sands and ranging from the tropics of Thailand to Antarctica. The shell valves have the classic biphasic microstructure composed of an outer prismatic layer (vertical prisms) and inner nacre (mother-of-pearl). Two species, Laternula truncata and L. corrugata are found just adjacent to each other within mangroves of Thailand. The shell microstructures hold important differences that might reflect subtle environmental differences or more conservative genetic differences. We are examining these differences in an effort to determine what is ultimately controlling the biomineralization beyond the usually biphasic shell.
EFFECT OF HARD CLAM GROW-OUT OPERATIONS ON BENTHIC INFAUNAL COMMUNITIES IN BARNEGAT BAY.
As part of her PhD dissertation, Ms. Rebecca Shell is investigating possible changes in infaunal biodiversity and community structure along Sedge Island caused by small-scale hard clam grow-out operations. She aims to learn how infaunal benthic invertebrate communities beneath netting enclosures change over the course of the grow-out cycle and how do they compare to communities in associated non-grow-out areas? This work, in cooperation with the Barnegat Bay Shellfish Restoration Program, also seeks to collect information on short term recovery.