Ecosystems Investigations Program
Patrick E. O'Neil, PhD.
Pat was employed by the Geological Survey of Alabama in 1979 as a Biologist and has been director of the Water Investigations Program at the Survey since 2003. He has authored or coauthored many reports and a few publications concerning Alabama's water resources and unique aquatic fauna. His current research activities involve applying the principals of aquatic biomonitoring to assess stream water quality and integrating the methods of hydrology, biology, and geology into what is termed interdisciplinary watershed science. In 1996, with colleagues Scott Mettee and Malcolm Pierson, he co-authored a book about Alabama fishes. Pat attended the University of Alabama where he received an M.S. in aquatic biology and ichthyology, an M.S. in environmental engineering, and a Ph.D. in civil engineering emphasizing water quality and wastewater treatment. Selected publications include:
O'Neil, P. E. and Shepard, T. E., 2005, Hatchet Creek regional reference watershed study: Alabama Geological Survey Open-file Report 0509, contract study with Alabama Department of Environmental Management, 48 p.
O'Neil, P. E., and Chandler, R. V., 2005, Water quality and biological monitoring in Choccolocco Creek watershed, Alabama, 1996-2001: Alabama Geological Survey Bulletin 117, 72 p.
O'Neil, P. E., Mettee, M. F., Shepard, T. E., and McGregor, S. W., 2005, An aquatic species survey of streams and rivers draining Forever Wild lands in the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta, 2002-05: Alabama Geological Survey Open-file Report 0521, 19 p. [Download PDF]
O'Neil, P. E., Shepard, T. E., and Cook, M. R., 2006, Habitat and biological assessment of the Terrapin Creek watershed and development of the Index of Biotic Integrity for the Coosa and Tallapoosa River systems: Alabama Geological Survey Open-file Report 0601, 210 p. [Download PDF]
O'Neil, P. E., Cook, M. R., Henderson, W. P., and Moss, N. R., 2006, Distribution and concentration of total coliform and Escherichia coli bacteria in the North River/Lake Tuscaloosa watershed, 2005: Alabama Geological Survey Open-file Report 0604, 25 p. + plates. [Download PDF]
O'Neil, P. E., Shepard, T. E., Mettee, M. F., and McGregor, S. W., 2006, A survey of Alabama's coastal rivers and streams for fishes of conservation concern, 2004-06: Alabama Geological Survey Bulletin 178, 101 p.
O'Neil, P. E., and Shepard, T. E., 2007, Delineation of ichthyoregions in Alabama for use with the index of biotic integrity: Alabama Geological Survey Open-file Report 0711, 34 p. [Download PDF]
O'Neil, P. E., and Mettee, M. F., 2008, A synoptic water-quality survey in the upper Mobile-Tensaw River Delta, 2005-07: Alabama Geological Survey Bulletin 179, 50 p.
O'Neil, P.E., McGregor, S. W., Wynn, E. A., and Powell, J. R., 2008, Critical habitat units for threatened and endangered mussels in the Mobile River basin: Alabama Geological Survey Special Map 247.
Stuart is an Aquatic Biologist employed at the Survey since 1988. He previously was employed by the Louisville District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Ecological Services Office in Cookeville, Tennessee. His primary research interests include the distributions of freshwater mussels, fishes, crayfishes, and cave shrimp in Alabama. He received a B.A. double majoring in History and Environmental Biology from the University of North Alabama, and an M.S. in Biology from Tennessee Technological University. Selected references include:
McGregor, S. W., Rheams, K. F., O'Neil, P. E., Moser, P. H., and Blackwood, Randall, 1997, Biological, geological, and hydrological investigations in Bobcat, Matthews, and Shelta Caves and other selected caves in north Alabama: Geological Survey of Alabama Bulletin 166, 198 p.
McGregor, S.W., Pierson, J.M., 1999, Recent freshwater mussel (Bivalvia: Unionacea) records from the North River system, Fayette and Tuscaloosa Counties, Alabama, Journal of the Alabama Academy of Science, Vol. 70, No. 4, p. 153-162. [Download PDF].
McGregor S. W., O'Neil, P. E., and Pierson, J. M., 2000, Status of the freshwater mussel (Bivalvia: Unionidae) fauna in the Cahaba River system, Alabama: Walkerana, v. 11, no. 26, p. 215-239. [Download PDF]
McGregor, S. W., and Garner, J. T., 2004, Changes in the freshwater mussel (Bivalvia: Unionidae) fauna of the Bear Creek system of northwest Alabama and northeast Mississippi: American Malacological Society Bulletin, vol. 18, nos. 1, 2, p. 61-70.
McGregor, S. W., and Haag, W. R., 2004, Freshwater mussels (Bivalvia: Unionidae) and habitat conditions in the upper Tombigbee River system, Alabama and Mississippi, 1993-2001: Geological Survey of Alabama Bulletin 176, 75 p.
McGregor, S. W., O'Neil, P. E., Burnett, K. F., and Blackwood, Randall, 2003, Water quality and biological monitoring in Bobcat and Matthews caves, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, 1990-2002, in, Beck, B. F., ed., Ninth Multidisciplinary Conference on Sinkholes and the Engineering and Environmental Impacts of Karst: American Society of Civil Engineers Geotechnical Special Publication no. 122, p. 241-249.
Garner, J. T., and McGregor, S. W., 2001, Current status of freshwater mussels (Unionidae, Margaritiferidae) in the Muscle Shoals area of Tennessee River in Alabama (Muscle Shoals revisited again): American Malacological Bulletin, vol. 16, p. 155-170.
McCullagh, W. H., Williams, J. D., McGregor, S. W., Pierson, J. M., and Lydeard, Charles, 2002, An historic and recent examination of the unionid (Bivalvia: Unionidae) fauna of the Sipsey River in northwestern Alabama: an aquatic hotspot: American Malacological Bulletin vol. 17, nos. 1,2, p. 1-15.
Mirarchi, R. E., Garner, J. T., Mettee, M. F., and O'Neil, P. E., eds., 2004, Alabama wildlife, Volume 2, Imperiled aquatic mollusks and fishes: Tuscaloosa, The University of Alabama Press, 255 p. (authored 19 species accounts)
Garner, J. T., McGregor, S. W., Tarpley, T. A, and Buntin, M. L., 2009, Freshwater mussels (Unionidae) in the headwaters of Chipola River, Houston County, Alabama: Southeastern Naturalist, vol. 8, No. 4, p. 687-694. [Download PDF]
McGregor, S. W., and Dumas, A. A., 2010, Mussel remains from prehistoric salt works, Clarke County, Alabama: Southeastern Naturalist, vol. 9, no. 1, p. 105-118. [Download PDF]
Anne Wynn started working for the Ecosystems Investigations Program in 2006, while working on her graduate degree. In 2008 she received a Master of Science in Physical Geography from the University of Alabama. Anne uses GIS to display and model aquatic fauna distributions, and processes remote sensing imagery to derive land cover classifications and landscape metrics for land cover change analysis. Anne can also periodically be found snorkeling for mussels, peering into cave pools looking for cave shrimp, and taking field notes of fish species found in streams throughout Alabama.
Anne is actively engaged in the implementation of the North River Watershed Management Plan, and monitors water quality in Clear Creek. She and other Clean Water Partners are conducting stream habitat assessment and road/stream crossing surveys throughout the North River Watershed to identify areas in need of restorative best management practices.
The North River is also a strategic habitat unit (SHU) for endangered and threatened mussel species. GSA, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, and Alabama Clean Water Partnership have designated 51 SHUs. These SHUs contain the best remaining habitat for threatened and endangered mussel species in Alabama. The SHU designations aid in planning future conservation activities and water resource management projects in Alabama. For a listing of all 51 SHUs, see Special Map 248.
Wynn, E.A., O’Neil, P.E., McGregor, S.W., Powell, J.R., Pritchett, J.M., Ford, A.D., & Johnson, P.D., 2012, Strategic habitat and river reach units for aquatic species of conservation concern in Alabama, Geological Survey of Alabama Special Map 248.
Wynn, E.A., O’Neil, P.E., and McGregor, S.W., 2011, Clear Creek Pre-BMP Water Quality Study, Geological Survey of Alabama Open File Report 1107.
O’Neil, P.E., McGregor, S.W., Wynn, E.A., 2010, Watershed assessment of the North River system for the recovery and restoration of rare mussel species, Geological Survey of Alabama Open File Report 0918.
McGregor, S.W., Wynn, E.A., and Garner, J.T., 2009, Results of a survey of the mussel fauna at selected stations in the Black Warrior River system, Alabama, 2009, Geological Survey of Alabama Open File Report 0917.
McGregor, S.W., Wynn, E.A., 2008, An evaluation of the mussel fauna in the North River system, 2008, Geological Survey of Alabama Open File Report 0814.
Cal Johnson has worked with the Survey since he was a student aid in 2006. He now works as an aquatic biologist for EIP, and conducts faunal surveys and research for nongame fish species and crayfish. He received a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Alabama in 2008.
J. Brett Smith is a graduate of the University of Alabama, where he earned a B.S. in Biology (astronomy minor), B.A. in Philosophy, and M.S. in Biology under Dr. Richard L. Mayden. After college he worked for two years with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management's Aquatic Assessment Unit before joining the GSA Biological Resources Section in November 2006. His primary professional interests involve conducting biodiversity field surveys and the evolutionary mechanisms responsible for the species-rich and largely unexplored crayfish fauna in Alabama.
F. (Scott) Mettee
Scott received his Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Alabama and joined the staff of the GSA in 1975, where he served as Director of the Environmental Geology Division and, more recently, Chief of the Biological Resources Section. Scott retired on June 1, 2009, but retains his office at the GSA and continues working on several technical and non-technical papers and in the field as a volunteer. Most of his research studies over the past 15 years have documented the long range spawning movements of several of Alabama's riverine fish species using ultrasonic telemetry. He also completed fish passage studies to develop procedures for moving riverine fish species past locks and dams on the Alabama River. Scott, along with Patrick E. O'Neil and J. Malcolm Pierson (deceased) were the authors of a recent coffee table science book entitled Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin. The following list includes several of his recent publications.
Mettee, M. F., O'Neil, P. E., and Pierson, J. M., 1996, Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin, Geological Survey of Alabama Monograph 15, 820 p. (reprinted in 2001)
Suttkus, R. D. and Mettee, M. F., 2001, Analysis of four species of Notropis included in the genus Pteronotropis Fowler, with comments on relationships, origin, and dispersion: Geological Survey of Alabama Bulletin 170, 50 p.
Mettee, M. F., O'Neil, P. E., Shepard, T. E., McGregor, S. W., and Henderson W. P., Jr., 2002, A survey of protected fish species and species of uncommon occurrence in the Tennessee River drainage of north Alabama and northeast Mississippi: Geological Survey of Alabama Bulletin 171, 173 p.
Mettee, M. F., Shepard, T. E., O'Neil, P. E., McGregor, S. W., and Henderson, W. P., Jr., 2003, Biology of a spawning population of Cycleptus meridionalis in the Alabama River: 2003 Proceedings of the Annual Conference of Southeastern Fish and Wildlife Agencies, p. 59-67.
Mettee, M. F., and O'Neil, P. E., 2003, Status of the Alabama shad and skipjack herring in Gulf of Mexico drainages, p. 157-170 in K. E. Limburg and J. R. Waldman, eds., Biodiversity, status, and conservation of the world's shads: American Fisheries Society Symposium 35, Bethesda, Maryland.
Mirarchi, R. E., Garner, J. T., Mettee, M. F., and O'Neil, P. E., eds., 2004, Alabama wildlife. Volume 2. Imperiled aquatic mollusks and fishes: The University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 255 p.
Mettee, M. F., O'Neil, P. E., Shepard, T. E., and McGregor, S. W., 2006, Fish movements and fish passage at Claiborne and Millers Ferry Locks and Dams on the Alabama River, Alabama: Geological Survey of Alabama Circular 202, 22 p.
O'Neil, P. E., and Mettee, M. F., 2008, A synoptic water-quality survey in the upper Mobile-Tensaw River Delta, 2005-07: Geological Survey of Alabama Bulletin 179, 50 p.
Mettee, M. F., 2008, Family Elassomatidae, pygmy sunfishes, p. 31-58 in Wallus, R., and Simon, T. P., Reproductive biology and early life history of fishes in the Ohio River drainage: CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida.
Mettee, M. F., O'Neil, P. E., and Rider, S. J., 2009, Paddlefish movements in the lower Mobile River Basin, p. 63-81 in Paukert, C. and Scholten, G., eds., Paddlefish Management, Propagation, and Conservation: American Fisheries Society Symposium 66.