Challenges to managing microbial fecal pollution in coastal environments: extra-enteric ecology and microbial exchange among water, sediment and air.

O'Mullan, Gregory D.; Dueker, M. Elias; Juhl, Andrew R.

Human population growth, especially in coastal ur- ban cities, increases the potential for fecal pollution of adjacent waterways, requiring continued advances in pollution monitoring and management. Infections remain the largest health risk from contact with fecal- and sewage-polluted wa- ters, and a small number of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) are used as primary pollution assessment tools. While FIB con- tinue to be useful tools, some of the assumptions about the behavior of FIB in the environment, and the associated path- ways for pathogen exposure, have come into question. Research into the extra-enteric ecology of these indicators has identified management-relevant complexities including particle association, prolonged environmental persistence, and multidirectional microbial exchange among water, sedi- ment, and air. These complexities provide opportunities for improving current monitoring and modeling strategies and to better understand exposure pathways for sewage-related infections.


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Current Pollution Reports

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Biology and Paleo Environment
Published Here
November 6, 2023