Water Quality Monitoring in Coastal Swashes
(PIs Michael Trapp and Susan Libes, Marine Science/Environmental Quality Lab, enrollment cap 10, Fall and Spring semester)
The goal of the swash swampling project is to obtain a synoptic picture of water quality and physical conditions in the fourteen tidal creeks of South Carolina's Grand Strand. Students will use standard water sampling techniques and laboratory analyses. Sampling will be conducted once a semester.
The data from the 14 creeks will be collated to explore time trends to evaluate whether water quality is improving or degrading over time at some or all of the sites. This is important to understanding threats to the receiving waters, i.e. the nearshore ocean. This project has been running for about a year. Data will be displayed online as the unified geospatial database becomes deployable.
Coastal Groundwater Monitoring
(PI Susan Libes, Marine Science/Environmental Quality Lab, enrollment cap 2, Fall and Spring semester)
This ongoing project examines how water levels impact septic tanks on the beach front and irrigation withdrawals. The major water resource of concern is a series of networked lakes that are used for storm water retention and as a source of irrigation water. Groundwater is also being used as a source of irrigation water. Extended drought conditions have led to lowered lake levels. To learn how to better maintain suitable lake levels, a monitoring program was instituted to document the relationship between groundwater and lake water levels. This includes investigating the response of water levels to rainfall, periods of drought, tidal influences, and irrigation withdrawal. The project is supported by Horry County and Briarcliffe Acres, so all costs are covered.
You can find the data from this project here.
You can learn more about the project in this student poster by Ben Thepaut from the 2013 South Carolina Environmental Conference titled Community-based groundwater and lake level management in Briarcliffe Acres, SC.
Determination of the relationship between fecal indicator bacteria and a canine-specific qPCR assay
CCU junior Aleksander Dimkovikj is conducting experiments to determine the relationship between fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) and a canine-specific qPCR assay. He is collecting dog fecal samples and diluting a predetermined weight of feces (1 g currently) according to a specified protocol. He then cultures and quantifies the bacterial concentration in the feces. Next, using the same feces samples, he conducts a canine-specific qPCR assay to determine the concentration of a canine-specific genetic marker for canine-associated Bacteriodes.
The results of these two separate analyses will be used to determine the relationship between the two analytes - FIB and canine-associated Bacteriodes. This relationship, along with data collected in microbial source tracking projects in Withers Swash, SC and Murrells Inlet, SC, will be used to calculate the relative contribution of dog waste to the overall FIB load in Withers Swash and Murrells Inlet.