Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2017DC193B

Examining genetic microbial diversity to monitor pathogens and toxins and in the Anacostia River, DC

Institute: District of Columbia
Year Established: 2017 Start Date: 2017-03-01 End Date: 2018-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $10,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $20,001

Principal Investigators: Caroline Solomon, Derek Braun, Gaurav Arora

Abstract: The Anacostia River in Washington, D.C. is classified as an impaired river due to many anthropogenic influences based on several indicators. In this study, we offer to look at three main indicators (fecal bacteria, chlorophyll a, and toxics) used in the Anacostia River report card using genetic tools to provide a closer resolution about the exposure and health risks associated with full- and limited-contact recreational activities. We propose to monitor genetic diversity of phytoplankton, bacteria and viruses, especially those that would be considered “contaminants of concern” either because they are pathogenic or produce toxins that could cause health risks over a nutrient gradient in the Anacostia River. Samples will be collected at three sites during spring,summer, and fall (two times each season) to assess relationships between genetic diversity and environmental conditions (temperature, dissolved oxygen, nutrients (N and P) to better understand the persistence and growth conditions of microbes in the Anacostia River to prevent potential hazardous conditions. This project will directly contribute to monitoring the influence of the pre- and post-construction of green and gray infrastructure to the changing nutrient dynamics for local phytoplankton, bacterial and viral communities and how it impacts local residents who use the Anacostia River for recreation.