Using Human Specific Molecular Markers to Monitor Water Quality Along the Mississippi Gulf Coast

Author(s): Flood, C. ;  Carr, M.;  Ellender, R.

Our research examines the efficacy of using library independent methods and human specific marker to monitor the water quality of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The two markers currently employed are Methanobrevibacter smithii and Bacteroides sp. M. smithii represents a methanogen that is commonly found in human feces and sewage. Bacteroides sp. are a major component of the intestinal flora in humans. Our goal is to examine the dynamic relationship of the physical and climatological variables that may influence the presence or absence of these markers in the natural environment. In the future, the inherent survivability of these markers will also be examined with relationship to water temperature, salinity, and turbidity. Temporal spatial relationships of the two markers are considered with respect to the presence or absence at certain collection sites. The collection sites mirror the sites monitored by MDEQ and represent an area of the coast that is commonly used for recreational purposes, but is also frequently closed due to high indicator counts.

An analysis of 12 months of coastal sampling contrasting the average enteroccoccal count at each sampling site, the percentage of times that the M. smithii marker appeared in each coastal sample, and the percentage of times that the Bacteroides marker appeared indicated that there was no statistical difference between the EN count and the percentages of either marker. In addition, there was a significant correlation between the percentage of Bacteroides and the percentage of M. smithii when all samples were grouped (0.9503). An analysis of the enteroccocal counts in creeks which drain into the beech environment revealed a significant difference between those coastal sites influenced by creek water versus those not influenced by creek water (P=0.0531). However, both the M.smithii and Bacteroides markers showed a positive correlation (0.7923) between creek versus non creek sites, demonstrating an apparent influence of the creek water on the presence or absence of the markers in coastal waters.


Technical Presentations

  • Delta Water Quality
  • Delta Water and Agriculture
  • Wetlands
  • Water Quality
  • Sediments
  • Non-Point
  • Management and Sustainability
  • Wood Treatment
  • Modeling
  • Soil and Water Treatment


Responsible Site Design: Implementing Innovative Stormwater Management Strategies

The primary goal of the workshop is to create a dynamic learning experience that examines the role of stormwater management in the built environment. The workshop will focus on integrating ecologically sound water management approaches into site design. After the workshop, attendees will be familiar with the following concepts and technical issues:

  • Knowledge of the stormwater treatment chain
  • Knowledge of the impact of land use codes on stormwater management
  • Application of a design process that mitigates the effects of stormwater on-site
  • Knowledge of the relationship between land use codes and design for innovative stormwater management


For information contact:
Jessie Schmidt
Box 9680
Mississippi State, MS 39762