of Crop & Soil Sciences, University of Georgia
Issues of Interest:
Bacterial source tracking to identify sources of nonpoint fecal contamination.
I am currently funded by the Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program (through
the Georgia Department of Natural Resources) and, separately, by the Georgia
Environmental Protection Division (EPD) to conduct research on bacterial source
tracking of nonpoint fecal contamination in Georgia, particularly as it relates
to Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Implementation Plans. With regards to the
CZM grant, I have developed a new targeted sampling protocol for bacterial source
tracking and have used this new sampling protocol successfully on the Sapelo
River. With regards to the Georgia EPD grant, I have developed a simple and
inexpensive way to speciate the bacterium Enterococcus faecalis from
the fecal enterococci. This bacterium is of interest because its host range
is restricted to humans and birds. I am currently trying to determine if high
counts of Ent. faecalis under baseflow conditions are almost always indicative
of human fecal contamination . This research looks encouraging. Regardless of
this research, I have combined targeted sampling with automated ribotyping,
a DNA-based method of bacterial source tracking, to identify fecal contamination
at a 100% similarity index, a perfect match. This research was done with Ent.
faecalis. This bacterium is also noteworthy because it is a member of the
fecal enterococci, a group of bacteria being proposed by the EPA as fecal indicator
bacteria of choice for marine waters. My lab is the first to use Ent. faecalis
for bacterial source tracking, and to obtain a 100% similarity index, a legal
standard, for bacterial source tracking.
I work in all Georgia water impaired by fecal contamination. Of particular
interest to me on the Georgia Coast are waters on 303(d) list, like the Little
Ogeechee and South Newport Rivers.