Title: Human Health, Ecosystem and Coastal Studies
Healthy coasts are important resources throughout the U.S. and promote tourism,
fisheries and general ecosystem health. Large concentrations of people live along the
coastline. Both point and non-point sources of pollution are associated with these coastal
communities and the anthropogenic stresses on water quality have become evident. The study
of microbial water quality is of great interest with regard to human health. Water and
seafood-borne diseases are associated with coastal water and sediment contamination. In
addition, identifying the sustainability and carrying capacity of coastal waters and
sediments is needed.
Whereas traditional indicators of pollution have been used for over 100 years, it is
now known that these are inadequate to address water and sediment quality and public
health risks associated with microorganisms. Because new molecular and immunological
techniques are now available, direct pathogen monitoring, source tracking and ecosystem
and human health risk assessment can be undertaken.
In the Tampa Bay area, microbial contaminants have recently been identified as a high
priority risk to waters in coastal communities. In particular, public health issues have
been highlighted by the Clean Water Initiative as a result of poor environmental conditions
in coastal waters due to increased population growth and urbanization. Water quality and
sediment studies in the nearby estuary of Charlotte Harbor have demonstrated that microbial
populations associated with pollution and natural systems were 10 to 100 times greater
in the sediments compared to the water column. Whereas a water quality study has been
undertaken in Tampa Bay over the last year, no sediment samples were collected or
analyzed and thus a large scientific gap remains in the assessment of risk.
This interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Fellow will be able to participate in several
ongoing projects in which molecular techniques (PCR, ribotyping, sequencing) and
principles of microbiology/geomicrobiology are used to study coastal water and sediment
characterization and quality. The projects will focus on issues in the Tampa Bay region
and include, but are not limited to, (1) bacterial source tracking associated with storm
waters and sediments and non-point sources, (2) pathogen monitoring of coastal sediments,
including establishment of risk assessment maps associated with nearshore sediments,
beaches and estuarine sediments, and (3) transport and fate of contaminants associated
with subsurface disposal of wastes.
For more information contact: Lisa L. Robbins, USGS, St. Petersburg, FL, (727) 803-8747,
ext. 3002 firstname.lastname@example.org and
Joan Rose, College of Marine Science, University of South
Florida, (727) 553-3928 email@example.com.