Affiliate Lab: Mussel Conservation

Steve Golladay – Team Lead

Affiliate Lab: Mussel Conservation

Steve Golladay – Team Lead


Stephen W. Golladay

Affiliate Biologist

Steve is contributing to the development of a Habitat Conservation Plan for freshwater mussels (see through an appointment with the Georgia Water Planning and Policy Center at Albany State University. He applied for and was granted affiliate status at the Jones Center at Ichauway. Steve has 30+ years of experience in the lower Flint River basin with published research on a variety of topics relevant to GA-FIT including hydrologic change, water quality changes associated with human land use, invasive species, and biological responses to increasing intermittency. He leads a research team documenting declines in freshwater mussels in response to water scarcity and has collected extensive data on mussel populations in the lower Flint River basin. He annually hosts the Apalachicola Chattahoochee Flint (ACF) Mussel Workshop at the Jones Center along with collaborators from Georgia DNR Non-game Wildlife Program and USFWS – Panama City. Steve holds the required State and Federal Permits to work with listed mussel species in designated critical habitat within the lower Flint River basin. 

He aspires to take every resident of the ACF on a snorkeling adventure to observe freshwater mussels in the wild.

Caitlin Sweeney

Affiliate Assistant Biologist

Caitlin received her BS in Environmental Science from Auburn University. She continued at Auburn to earn her master’s degree under Dr. Eve Brantley in the Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences. Her research focused on soil amendments for bioretention cells, a form of green infrastructure for stormwater management. After graduating, Caitlin worked as a Watershed Program Assistant with Alabama Extension where she contributed to presentations and publications for the Alabama Private Well Program and Alabama Watershed Stewards Program. She joined the Jones Center Aquatic Biology Lab as a Research Associate in 2021 and quickly developed a passion for freshwater mussels. She is excited to contribute to freshwater mussel conservation in the lower Flint River basin. Her favorite mussel is the Sculptured Pigtoe (Cyclonaias infucata).

Christine Bahlinger

Affiliate Seasonal Technician

Christine attended the University of Vermont where she received her BS in Environmental Science with a Concentration in Conservation Biology and Biodiversity. Her previous experience includes working as a Farm Crew Leader in Americorps and as a Wildlife Biology Intern at Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge. Christine’s work helped discover the presence of the endangered New Mexico meadow jumping mouse on the refuge.

Chelsea Smith

Graduate Student

Chelsea Smith completed her BS in Biology at the University of Alabama in 2011 where she had the opportunity to take many outdoor ecology classes and begin working with stream macroinvertebrates in the lab of Dr. Alex Huryn. The summer following her graduation, she traveled to the Arctic LTER to aid in collecting and tracking arctic grayling and sampling macroinvertebrates as part of a large-scale nutrient addition with Dr. Huryn’s lab. In the fall of 2012, Chelsea began her masters work in conjunction with the University of Georgia under Dr. Alan Covich and The Jones Center at Ichuaway with Dr. Paul McCormick. Her research focused on macroinvertebrate community composition across a gradient of stream permanence. Following the completion of her masters, she worked with both Dr. McCormick and Dr. Golladay and then became the research associate for the Aquatic Biology lab. Chelsea is currently working on a PhD at the University of Alabama under Dr. Carla Atkinson and Dr. Golladay.

Jamie Rogers

Graduate Student

Jamie attended the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she obtained a BS in Biology. After graduating, she worked in the Jones Center Aquatic Biology Lab as a technician. She is currently a master’s student at Auburn University being co-advised by Dr. Shannon Brewer and Dr. Steve Golladay. Her research aims to provide insight on the habitat needs for spawning and survival of juvenile Shoal Bass (Micropterus cataractae).

Benjamin Webster

Graduate Student

Benjamin attended Valdosta State University. After graduating, he worked with AmeriCorps at Lake Mead in Nevada. Benjamin then went to Auburn University where he obtained a master’s degree under Dr. Matt Waters. Ben’s research focused on nutrient dynamics along sequences of reservoirs in the Chattahoochee River. His passion for studying reservoirs has continued, and he’s now working on his PhD at Auburn University under Dr. Waters and Dr. Golladay.

Mussel Conservation Alumni

Natalie Horn

Technician, Mussel Hugger

Natalie received her BS in Marine Science from Coastal Carolina University. During her time at the Jones Center, Natalie summarized ~30 years of data for a research poster looking at long term trends in the nitrate concentration of springs entering the Flint River, gave a research presentation on our use of the Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler to assess in stream habitat, contributed to our publication Mussels of the Flint River Basin, and performed many hours of mussel surveying in 2023. Natalie is now a Research Technician at the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory.

Emma Greenberg

Technician, Mussel Hugger

Emma received their BS in Wildlife Science from SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry. They have a passion for all things nature. During their time at the Jones Center, Emma summarized ~25 years of mussel surveys for a research poster assessing the change in distribution of endangered mussel species over time. They also performed many hours of mussel surveying in 2023. Emma now works with the Institute for Bird Populations on the California Spotted Owl and Great Gray Owl in the Sierra Nevadas.

Stephen W. Golladay, Ph.D.


Dr. Golladay’s interests include the ecology of streams and wetlands, the impact of human land use on water quality and aquatic invertebrates, and the impact of variation in hydrology on ecological processes and aquatic communities Recently, he has developed an interest in the ecology and conservation of rare and endangered freshwater mussel species.

Dr. Golladay has served as a technical advisor to the Sand County Foundation, Georgia EPD, DNR and Water Management districts in Florida. He has developed training activities for resource professionals in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Dr. Golladay also has assisted in the development of programs to enhance the
natural resource awareness of regional educators in cooperation with regional Georgia Youth Science and Technology.