Home > Explore Data & Reports > Using wildlife activity and antibiotic resistance analysis to model bacterial water quality in coastal ponds


Pullaro, T.C., W. Pan, E.D. Chiovarou, J.W. Daugomah, N.R. Shea, and T.C. Siewicki. 2009. Using wildlife activity and antibiotic resistance analysis to model bacterial water quality in coastal ponds. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 102. Charleston, SC. 32 pp.

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NOAA Technical Memorandum

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Models that help predict fecal coliform bacteria (FCB) levels in environmental waters can be important tools for resource managers. In this study, we used animal activity along with antibiotic resistance analysis (ARA), land cover, and other variables to build models that predict bacteria levels in coastal ponds that discharge into an estuary. Photographic wildlife monitoring was used to estimate terrestrial and aquatic wildlife activity prior to sampling. Increased duck activity was an important predictor of increased FCB in coastal ponds. Terrestrial animals like deer and raccoon, although abundant, were not significant in our model. Various land cover types, rainfall, tide, solar irradiation, air temperature, and season parameters, in combination with duck activity, were significant predictors of increased FCB. It appears that tidal ponds allow for settling of bacteria under most conditions. We propose that these models can be used to test different development styles and wildlife management techniques to reduce bacterial loading into downstream shellfish harvesting and contact recreation areas.

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