Date

2019

Major

Biology (B.S.B.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Asli Aslan

Abstract

Fecal indicator bacteria (FIB), such as Enterococci, are commonly used to monitor the microbial contamination of recreational beach waters based on standards set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Sediment and sand may also harbor FIB and reintroduce these bacteria to the water column. Enterococci may be originated from various non-point sources such as humans and wildlife. Recent literature has shown that avian feces also harbor high concentrations of Enterococci. The purpose of this study is identify the relationship between Enterococci and avian-associated markers in sediments. Sediment samples were collected monthly from four sites at Kings Ferry Beach in Savannah, Georgia from October 2014 to September 2015. DNA was extracted from the sediment and the avian-associated marker, GFD, was quantified using quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The results indicate that there is a statistically significant correlation between the avian-associated marker and Enterococci. Higher concentration of Enterococci and GFD marker were detected in warmer temperatures (p<0.001, p=0.009 respectively). Currently, there are no established guidelines for monitoring microbiological contamination of the sediment. Our results suggest that Enterococci have the potential to be considered as an indicator for non-point source pollution in sediments.

Available for download on Saturday, March 30, 2024

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