Mallin, M. A.. University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Center for Marine Science Research, mallinm@uncwil.edu
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INFLUENCE OF LAND USE PATTERNS ON ENTERIC BACTERIAL POLLUTION IN ESTUARINE WATERS
 
Human development along the land-seawater interface is considered to have significant environmental consequences, including increased human health risks. In a rapidly-developing coastal region we investigated this phenomenon throughout five estuarine watersheds, each of which differed in both the amount and type of anthropogenic development. Over a four-year period we analyzed the abundance and distribution of fecal coliform bacteria and Escherichia coli, and how these indicator microbes were related to water quality, demographic, and land-use factors. Within all creeks there was a spatial pattern of decreasing enteric bacteria away from upstream areas, and both fecal coliform and E. coli abundance was inversely correlated with salinity. Enteric bacterial abundance was positively correlated with nitrate, orthophosphate and turbidity. Regardless of salinity, average estuarine fecal coliform abundance differed greatly among the five systems. Statistical analysis demonstrated that fecal coliform abundance was significantly correlated with watershed population and the percent of developed land within the watershed. However, the most important anthropogenic factor associated with fecal coliform abundance was percent watershed impervious surface coverage, which alone could explain 95% of the variability in average estuarine fecal coliform abundance. Thus, in urbanizing coastal areas waterborne health risks can be minimized by environmentally sound land use planning and development.
 
Day: Thursday, Feb. 4
Time: 11:45 - 12:00pm
Location: Sweeney Center
 
Code: SS10TH1145S