Atwill Water & Foodborne Zoonotic Disease Laboratory

Melissa L. Partyka

Photo: Partyka

EDUCATION

2005 - MS
University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS
Coastal Sciences, Maj: Fisheries Ecology

Thesis: Salt marsh communities in an anthropogenic landscape: habitat characteristics, distribution, and density of infauna, epifauna and nekton along an estuarine gradient

1999 - BS
Eckerd College St. Petersburg, FL
Marine Biology, Min: Ecology

RESEARCH INTERESTS

I am interested in the impacts of anthropological alteration to natural landscapes- whether through agriculture, urbanization or extraction of natural resources- on wildlife communities (both aquatic and terrestrial). While it may appear odd that a fisheries ecologist should find a home in an epidemiology lab, I’ve found that many issues in the field of epidemiology have ecological implications. For example, runoff from an agricultural landscape is capable of transporting not only pathogens associated with human illness, but sediment and pollutants known to impact the health of local fisheries. An issue of emerging concern is the dichotomous role that some best management practices (BMPs) play as both ecological conservation areas and havens for wildlife capable of spreading pathogens to crops. I enjoy using geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial analyses to explore, explain and predict the outcomes of these impacts.

CURRENT PROJECTS

  • Reducing agricultural pathogens into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta estuary
  • Using scent detection dogs to prioritize samples during produce outbreak traceback investigations
  • Epidemiologic analysis and risk management practices for reducing E. coli in irrigation source water supplies and distribution systems
  • Sampling of wild rodents for foodborne pathogens along produce fields on the California Central coast

PROFESSIONAL PUBLICATIONS

Quattrini, A.M., M.L. Partyka, S.W. Ross. 2009. Aspects of the reproductive biology of the skate Fenestraja plutonia (Garman) off North Carolina, USA. SE Nat. 8(1): 55-70

Partyka, M.L. and M.S. Peterson. 2008. Salt marsh communities in an anthropogenic landscape: characterizing the stationary habitat mosaic along an estuarine gradient. J. Coast. Res. 24(6): 1570-1581

Partyka, M.L., S.W. Ross, A.M. Quattrini, G.R. Sedberry, T.W. Birdsong, J. Potter, S. Gottfried. 2007. Southeastern United States Deep-Sea Corals (SEADESC) Initiative: A collaboration to characterize areas of habitat forming deep-sea corals. NOAA Technical Memorandum OAR OER 1, 176 pp.

Peterson, M.S., M.R. Weber, M.L. Partyka, S.T. Ross. 2007. Integrating in situ quantitative geographic information tools and size-specific, laboratory-based growth zones in a dynamic river-mouth estuary. Aqua. Cons. 17(6): 602-618.

Peterson, M.S. and M.L. Partyka. 2006. Baseline Mapping of Phragmites australis (Common Reed) in Three Coastal Mississippi Estuarine Basins. SE Nat. 5(4): 747-756.

Peterson, M.S., T.W. Slack, G.L. Waggy, C.M. Woodley, M.L. Partyka. 2006. Foraging in non-native environments: comparison of Nile tilapia and three co-occurring native centrarchids in invaded coastal Mississippi watersheds. Env. Bio. Fish. 76(2-4): 283-301.

PAPERS/POSTERS PRESENTED AT PROFESSIONAL MEETINGS

Partyka, M.L. and M.S. Peterson. 2005. Fish habitat in an anthropogenic landscape: characterizing the stationary habitat mosaic along an estuarine gradient. ASIH, 85th annual meeting, 6-11 July, Tampa, FL.

Partyka, M.L. and M.S. Peterson. 2005. Habitat fragmentation and shoreline hardening modify the habitat characteristics, distribution and density of saltmarsh infauna, epifauna and nekton. CREST annual meeting -Progress in Understanding Coastal Land Loss and Restoration in Louisiana: The W. Alton Jones Foundation Report Revisited, 12-14 April, Lafayette, LA. [Poster].

Partyka, M.L., M. Weber, M.S. Peterson and S.T. Ross. 2005. Environment-habitat-production linkages in tidal river estuaries: conceptualization through GIS, remote sensing, and tools of rapid data acquisition: a year in review. Joint GERS/SWS Chapter meetings, 30 March-2 April, Pensacola Beach, FL.

Weber, M.R., M.S. Peterson, M.L. Partyka, and S.T. Ross. 2005. Characterizing habitat suitability for nekton in the Lower Pascagoula River, MS: a modeling approach. Joint GERS/ SWS Chapter meetings, 30 March–2 April, Pensacola Beach, FL.

Partyka, M.L. and M.S. Peterson. 2004. Does habitat fragmentation and shoreline hardening alter density, growth and mortality patterns of fishes in an estuarine landscape? Environmental State of the State (ESOS), 9th annual meeting, 22 October, New Orleans, LA.

Partyka, M.L., M.Weber, M.S. Peterson, and S.T. Ross. 2003. Modeling of static/dynamic habitats in tidal river estuaries: methods and materials for processing rapid data collection using GIS and remote sensing techniques. Annual Gulf Coast Geospatial Conference, 21-24 October, Biloxi, MS. [Poster].

Peterson, M.S. M.L. Partyka, M. Weber, and S.T. Ross. 2003. Environment-habitat-production linkages in tidal river estuaries: conceptualization through GIS, remote sensing, and tools of rapid data acquisition. Annual Gulf Coast Geospatial Conference, 21-24 October, Biloxi, MS. [Poster].

Peterson., M.S., M.R. Weber, M.L. Partyka and S.T. Ross. 2003. Quantifying Static and Dynamic Habitat Components of the Pascagoula River estuary. Fifth T.W. Bennett, Jr Symposium, “Headwaters to the Sea: Evolution and conservation of fish assemblages in large rivers”, 25-26 September 2003, Hattiesburg, MS.

Partyka, M.L., M.R. Weber, M.S. Peterson, S.T. Ross. 2003. Modeling of static/dynamic habitats in tidal river estuaries: tools for rapid acquisition of quantitative data. ERF, 14-18 September, Seattle, WA [Poster].

Weber, M.R. M.L. Partyka, S.T. Ross and M.S. Peterson. 2003. A modeling approach to quantify nursery function for estuarine-dependent nekton in the Pascagoula River Estuary, MS, using Atlantic croaker. ERF, 14-18 September, Seattle, WA [Poster].

Peterson, M.S., S.T. Ross, M.L. Partyka and M.R. Weber. 2003. Conceptualizing environment-habitat-production linkages in tidal river estuaries. GERS, 17-19 April, Pt. Aransas, TX.

Partyka, M.L., M.R. Weber, M.S. Peterson, S.T. Ross. 2003. Tools for rapid acquisition of quantitative data relating to the static/dynamic habitats of tidal river estuaries. GERS, 17-19 April, Pt. Aransas, TX [Runner-up, Best Student Paper Award].

Weber, M.R. M.L. Partyka, S.T. Ross and M.S. Peterson. 2003. Test runs and tribulations: methods for processing rapid data collection using GIS and remote sensing to quantify static/dynamic fish habitats in the Pascagoula River estuary, MS. GERS, 17-19 April, Pt. Aransas, TX.