Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2019NJ177B

Potential impact of aeromicrobes on surface water

Institute: New Jersey
Year Established: 2019 Start Date: 2019-06-01 End Date: 2020-05-31
Total Federal Funds: $5,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $10,201

Principal Investigators: Kevin P. Dillon

Abstract: A prominent impact of climate change in New Jersey is the increase in the intensity of rainfall. Rain contains abundant microorganisms that may not be native to the local environment. With increased rainfall intensity, more exogenous microorganisms will be introduced to surface water over short periods of time. These microbes (“aeromicrobesâ€) contained in precipitation may include pathogens that could endanger human health or phototrophs that may affect the ecology, and thus water quality, of surface water. Amongst this phototrophic population would be algae. Algal blooms in surface water present challenges for drinking water quality in New Jersey. It is not known how these aeromicrobes introduced by rain could affect local ecology and water quality. The goals of my project are to characterize the prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbial assemblages in New Jersey rain and assess the ability of those microorganisms to colonize Manasquan Reservoir water, with a focus on phototrophs. DNA sequencing will be employed to identify rainborne microbes introduced to surface water, with an emphasis on pathogens and phototrophs. The competitive growth between aeroalgae and aero-cyanobacteria will be monitored in Manasquan Reservoir water. Proteomic analysis will be used to assess if the prominent aeroalgal genus Chloroidium can successfully colonize Manasquan Reservoir water. Furthermore, I will investigate the competition of Chloroidium with a known player in surface water algal blooms, Microcystis aeruginosa, in Manasquan Reservoir water incubations. This work will detail the ability of aeromicrobes to affect surface water in New Jersey, which has implications for water quality and aquatic ecology.