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Dr. Susan Libes
Interim Director

Graduate Student Research


Kyle Curtis‌

Kyle Curtis 2‌I am interested in water quality issues in coastal and estuarine environments.  My research here focuses on bacterial contamination of a local estuary, Withers Swash, as a result of upstream stormwater inputs.  Specifically we are examining the role of drainage basin sediments as a source/sink for the fecal indicator bacteria E. coli.  It has been suggested that bacteria may adsorb to sediment particles, settle out of the water column and persist in alluvial and estuarine sediments for extended periods. To further investigate this theory, field work was conducted in the summer of 2012.  Our results indicate that a substantial population of bacteria are present in stream bed sediments during wet and dry conditions.  These sediment-adosrbed bacteria are likely resuspended during storms due to increased flow velocity and contribute to bacterial concentrations of the overlying water column.  This summer we hope to further investigate E. coli persistence in sediments and potential contributions to water quality impairment using benchtop mesocosm experiments. 


Examining the Role of Land Cover in the Bacterial Contamination of Swashes