Grant: $149,696 - National Science Foundation - Jun. 21, 2009
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Award Description: Current assessment of microbial pollution in recreational waters involves measurement of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) as proxies for human pathogens. FIB concentrations display diurnal variability such that the time the sample is collected dramatically impacts the measured concentration, which could make the difference between compliance and noncompliance with water quality standards. Also, it is not known whether the concentrations of actual pathogens, and thus associated health risk, also experience such fluctuations. Thus, it is critical to obtain information on the processes that control these diurnal fluctuations for FIB and human pathogens. Sunlight is believed to be the major cause of the diurnal fluctuation in FIB. The goal of this project is to develop predictive tools for assessing the sunlight-mediated inactivation of fecal indicator organisms and human viruses under a range of environmental conditions prevalent in natural waters. The specific research objectives involve a coordinated effort by a multidisciplinary team to study sunlight-mediated inactivation in the field, the laboratory, and via modeling. Field work will be conducted at ocean beaches in California. Field experiments will be used to develop empirical relationships between environmental conditions and inactivation rates of FIB and human viruses. Laboratory experiments will be used to develop a mechanistic understanding of the processes that control inactivation, and to understand the nature of observed differences between organisms and field sites. Field and laboratory data will be combined to develop a model that predicts inactivation rates for any water given easily obtainable environmental. Broad dissemination of the results of this study will be accomplished through publication of peer-reviewed research papers, participation in a conference focused on beach water quality, and direct interaction with policy makers and beach managers. Information gleaned from this study on natural waters will also be expendable to understanding sunlight-mediated inactivation of organisms in other engineered and natural systems, such as solar disinfection of drinking water and waste stabilization ponds. This work will promote teaching, training and learning, as the PIs will involve students in all aspects of the research and will integrate the results obtained into their classroom instruction.
Project Description: The goal of this project is to develop predictive tools for assessing the sunlight-mediated inactivation of fecal indicator organisms and human viruses under a range of environmental conditions prevalent in natural waters. This was the first quarter of the grant. Our main activity was to prepare for and complete field work in coastal bathing areas near San Diego, CA. Our team (seven researchers from UC Berkeley, Stanford, and University of Minnesota) spent one week collecting and processing samples in southern California. Since our return, we have been processing the samples we collected in the laboratory.
Infrastructure Description: N/A
Jobs Summary: One Postdoctoral Researcher is responsible for microbiological assays (including maintaining cell cultures for human viruses), analysis of reactive oxygen species, and participating in field campaigns and a Graduate Student Researcher were responsible conducting both field and laboratory experiments to identify factors that affect the inactivation rate of different bacteriophage and coliphage. (Total jobs reported: 1)
Project Status: Less Than 50% Completed
This award's data was last updated on Jun. 21, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.