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Population growth and development of residential properties in the north Georgia area have negatively affected the quality of local surface water sources, directly impacting environmental and human health. Run-off from development can cause the spread of the fecal bacteria in local water sources, which lower water quality and pose a health risk to humans and native animals. Specifically, amphibians are semi-aquatic and highly susceptible to pollutants due to cutaneous respiration. The American toad is abundant throughout northern Georgia and is an ideal candidate to examine the effects of water quality on amphibian health. In this study, we analyze water quality from two sources in Lumpkin County, Georgia (a rapidly developing clear-cut neighborhood vs. an older established forested neighborhood) to determine the effects of development on levels of fecal bacteria in the water. Secondly, we compare the results from the established neighborhood to health data gathered from captured toads at the same site to illustrate the impact of water quality on the health of native amphibians. We expect to observe lower water quality in the developing neighborhood compared to the established neighborhood. Additionally, we expect to find that toad health is affected by water quality. Water samples from both sites were collected and analyzed for standard water quality parameters including pH, temperature, and E. coli, and fecal coliform counts from March-September 2021. Toad blood smears were collected from the established neighborhood and analyzed for neutrophil:lymphocyte ratios. T-tests were used to compare the water quality of the two different neighborhood sites.


This is a metadata-only record.



  • Subject
    • Biology

  • Institution
    • Dahlonega

  • Event location
    • Nesbitt 3110

  • Event date
    • 25 March 2022

  • Date submitted

    20 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Lauren Oliver, Abby Neyer