Dr. Victoria Frost
Dr. Matthew Heard
Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a bacteria species that thrives in a variety of environments. Due to its widespread prevalence, it is commonly used as an indicator for pollution and other pathogens. One place where it is not often looked for is oceanic beaches because E. coli is inhibited by salt. However, recent research has shown that E. coli often thrives in sand at beaches. To determine how it persists in sand, we created a microcosm simulating the intertidal zone of a beach. Using this microcosm, we are testing how varying salinity levels affect persistence of E. coli in sand. Collectively, our findings suggest that E. coli may be able to persist on sandy beaches despite the stress of salinity and may be a useful tool in the future for assessing these ecosystems for fecal contamination levels.
Stahl, Leigha, "Creating a microcosm to examine salinity tolerance of Escherichia coli in beach sand" (2015). Summer Research Experience Poster Presentations. 5.