From city to sea : participatory science and molecular biology for understanding fecal pollution patterns in urban environmental waters
- Despite the economic and cultural importance of clean environmental waters, human pressures on water quality along the world's coastlines and rivers threaten ecosystem and human health. This thesis investigates anthropogenic impacts on environmental waters through the lens of fecal microbe pollution. Drawing on tools from molecular biology, physical oceanography, and behavioral science, I examine sources, transport, and fate of fecal pollution in fresh and marine urban surface waters. In field studies of fresh and marine waters, I find that human fecal pollution levels, measured by genetic microbial source tracking (MST) markers, vary independently of general fecal pollution levels, measured by culturable fecal indicator bacteria (FIB). I also report the first validation of crAssphage, a novel human viral fecal marker, for MST in South America. Through field and lab work in urban freshwater matrices, I show that genetic markers of human norovirus, an important waterborne pathogen, exhibit sources and fate similar to human MST markers but distinct from culturable FIB. In collaboration with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers, I report the first application of a novel human norovirus culture system to environmental waters, and preliminary estimates indicate that decay of infectious human norovirus in freshwater correlates with genome integrity and may be more rapid than previously thought. Through collaboration with volunteers in a participatory science framework, I find that safe swimming distances from a creek at a popular beach are often longer than reflected in public health guidelines. I also find that, while volunteer participation rates declined over time, there was no evidence that regularly emailing feedback to volunteers in the form of project data reports affected their retention in the study. Overall, this thesis contributes to our understanding of sources and drivers of anthropogenic fecal pollution in urban watersheds, the persistence of an important viral pathogen in environmental water, and strategies for engaging community volunteers in water quality monitoring
|Type of resource
|electronic resource; remote; computer; online resource
|1 online resource
|Jennings, Wiley Charles
|Degree committee member
|Degree committee member
|Stanford University, Civil & Environmental Engineering Department.
|Statement of responsibility
|Wiley Charles Jennings
|Submitted to the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department
|Thesis Ph.D. Stanford University 2020
- © 2020 by Wiley Charles Jennings
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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